Submitted by Joanne Rodgers
Building a sustainable trail is a combination of art and science with a good understanding of terrain, soil and associated features of the area. Do not encourage Troads and Flails!
Zane Davies of TREADscape, a local guide and nationally accredited trail development professional, shared his experiences with trail development as well as some do’s and don’ts at the BPEG May meeting.
Developing a trail is not about cutting down some trees. It is understanding the terrain and soil, using the existing landscape to determine where the trail goes and blending the trail in with the natural environment. It is about keeping users reasonably safe and understanding their needs.
When designing a sustainable trail, consider the natural flow of water, avoid low-lying areas, “roll a ball” – avoid that area. Use a clinometer to measure angle of slope elevation.
Zane lists 5 Golden Nuggets of sustainable trail building:
RULE #1- The Half Rule: Trail grade must never exceed half the full grade of the slope.
RULE #2- 10% Average Grade: The overall average grade of the trail should be 10% or less.
RULE #3- Maximum Sustainable Grade: Maximum grade allowable by looking at your surroundings.
RULE #4- Use Grade Reversals: Ups and downs built into the trail to prevent water from flowing down hill too far. Placement is heavily dependent on terrain.
RULE #5- Outslope: 5% downhill grade on tread to shed water.
Zane describes 2 don’ts: Troads, created when a road standard is applied to a trail, usually visually unpleasant, more expensive to maintain and do not meet the needs or wants of the user. Flails, use of mulch on a public trail, you are creating conditions for a flowerbed with moisture retention and need for more maintenance.
Zane recognizes that the Peninsula is a difficult area to build on, especially with little or no insitu material to use on the trail. Zane uses boardwalks as a last resort, prefers to use Stone pitching or armouring, raised tread and rock ridges in his trail designs.
If you do things right in the Design and Building phase, maintenance will be easy.
Risk management is an important consideration. As a professional Trail designer, 10% of Zane’s earnings go towards paying for Risk Insurance. Try to avoid dangerous structures e.g. use of handrails; move the trail if need be. Identify an acceptable Duty of Care and Maintenance Schedule to check for things that can cause injury. If the trail is wet, be prepared to close it.
To listen to Zane’s presentation, check out BPEG Channel on Youtube.
The next BPEG meeting is on June 5, 7:30pm, Anglican Church Hall, Lion’s Head. Speaker Tim Casson, Canadian Chestnut Council.