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April 26, 2008: Lambert Park (sponsor Alpine City)
This trail project was coordinated by local resident Alex as part of his Eagle Scout project, in collaboration with Alpine City's trails committee. Work consisted of three separate tasks: (1) smoothing the lower Spring Trail with spot rock removal from upper Lambert Luge, (2) clearing, smoothing, and improving the turns on the new White Dog trail, and (3) installing a bench on the highest spot on the Corkscrew Trail on Lambert's southern end, where benches and rest stops are in short supply.

A few of the 20 workers show their shovel-leaning
skills. Starting 3rd from left are Danny, John, and Kendra.

Here's the UMB race team "equipment transport vehicle."
Bike racks have so many uses, don't they?.

The new White Dog trail was smoothed, turns bermed,
and brush trimmed back.

Derek, Danny, and John excavate giant rocks to
prepare for installation of a resting bench.

We installed a sitting area at the top of Corkscrew.
Bruce did most of the bench assembly at home.

After the big climb, enjoy a view of mountains and valley.
We think this is one of the nicest spots in the park.

The rock gardens on the lower Spring Trail weren't fun.
They were annoying. About 1/3 mile of trail needed rock-
removal work.

To fill rock-holes, we hauled dirt from a pile near the road
with wheelbarrows. In these before-and-after pictures, the
effect of the trailwork is obvious.

American Fork Canyon, Signage and trail clearing
February, April, June 2008

Getting an early start. Jay Griffin and Mike Engberson
snowshoe to the intersection of Pine Hollow and the Great
Western and plant a trail sign.

Steve Winters and Jay sit a few feet above the new Salamander Flat
trail sign. Now that's a dedication to the trail -- mountain bikers
installing signs in time for the XC ski and snowshoe crowd.

In April, Steve Winters shows off the new trail
sign at the Great Western/Ridge 157 junction.

Removing deadfall from the trails is an ongoing project. This tree at
the Ridge 157-South Fork-Tibble Fork junction is a bit too big to lift.

It's June, and the crew is again digging holes and planting signs. Left to right, that's Kerry Smith (of URMB), Steve Winters, Jay Griffin, and Justin Griffin.
June 14, 2008:  Draper DH Trail
A rad new DH-only trail is being constructed on the Draper side of South Mountain. The trail extends from the ridgetop in Suncrest down to the road near Oak Hollow. (A climbing trail is under construction also. So there will be a nice loop.) The trail will feature jumps, bermed turns, and other fun stuff.

Our work crew hiked down to the trail's end. With Draper providing a big pile of excavating tools, we made a bench cut across a steep mountainside. A hairpin turn routed the trail back across the over-45-degree slope. It was hard digging in a mass of oak and snowberry. Plenty of roots to excavate or chop off.

Jolene struggles to keep her footing on
the steep mountainside as she begins
to bite into the rooty soil.

With workers about an axe-swing apart,
the hillside begins to give way to dirt
along the marked trail course.

Mike MacDonald swings the Polaski
(an axe-hoe combination) into a root
ball. Flat surface starts to appear.

Many big and determined roots and stumps
had to be cut out. It was brutal work.

Brayden (left) and a friend (with the McLeod
tool), share a moment of trail-planning.

As the trail shapes up, it looks like a great
place to ride -- after a few more months' work.

Lambert Park Thistle Removal - June 2008 - multiple days
Last year, we intensively cleared the northern end and southern end of the park of thistles. In those areas, only a few thistles dared to show themselves this year. But in the middle section where we cleared only the thistle that were growing right along the trail, the wet cool spring has resulted in unbelievably healthy thistle. Seeds are germinating en mass into vigorous young thistle, which will go to seed next year. And every baby thistle from last year is growing tall and preparing to blossom. So it's a thistle emergency.

A patch where young thistle germinated
last year, now a mass of big thistle with buds
ready to sprout new seeds. Attack!

With thick gloves, thistle are pulled up.
We pull or chop off the baby thistles to
reduce next year's crop.

Same spot after the attack of the thistle-killers.
The battleground is littered with the bodies
of thistle that will never again scratch a biker!

What we've learned:
Timing is critical. Attack too early, and the thistle will produce multiple new shoots from the root. Each of these shoots will form blossoms and seeds. And in this early stage, the seeding thistle can be very hard to spot when hidden in the sage. So you'll miss quite a few. Attack too late, and the seeds are fertile -- so you have to bag every seed-head. This is 10 times as much work. June 15-30th seems to be the window of opportunity. The thistle are easy to spot, because they're forming blossoms. And you can simply chop them down, because the seeds haven't formed yet.

Thistle is a biennial plant. This year's seeds germinate next year. Two years from now, those little thistles blossom and produce seeds. Since it's impossible to find and kill all the baby thistle, it takes two consecutive years of intensive thistle-attack to clear an infestation. And an extra year to get the stragglers. For an area as large as Lambert Park, it's a lot of work.

Contrary to opinion, it's not a waste of time to chop off baby thistles at the root. Some many survive, but in dry areas, the thistle is barely clinging to life during the hot month of July. Chop away its energy source and its shade (the leaves), and the root will usually dry and die. In spots where rocks couldn't protect the baby thistle, last year's efforts resulted in dramatically fewer blooming thistle.

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