What to do with sand?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What to do with sand?

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    • #110622

      I was inspired by the solo maintenance post, and went out and bought a small pair of pruners, a folding saw, and something like an e-tool/pick combo. One thing that I haven’t been able to fix up is deep sand. There are areas of deep sand all over where I ride, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice for something out some of the insane areas?

    • #110623

      You may not be able to do anything. First, try and figure out where it’s coming from. Is it washing down the trail and settling in a low spot? If so, fix the trail uphill so that water flows across and off the trail, and instead following the trail and eroding it and pulling sand down to the low spot. If it’s not washing down the hill, and is just sand that is there in the low spot, I don’t think there’s too much you can do there.

    • #110624
      "dgaddis" wrote

      You may not be able to do anything. First, try and figure out where it’s coming from. Is it washing down the trail and settling in a low spot? If so, fix the trail uphill so that water flows across and off the trail, and instead following the trail and eroding it and pulling sand down to the low spot. If it’s not washing down the hill, and is just sand that is there in the low spot, I don’t think there’s too much you can do there.

      Yeah it looks like it is all from uphill erosion. I am going to have to see about setting up some water bars. If that doesn’t work, I will have to look at sand bridges, because re-routing the trail probably wouldn’t go over well. If anyone in the area wants to give me a hand, I’d be much obliged. Anyways thanks for setting me in the right direction for find a solution.

    • #110625

      Water bars are only going to make it worse. I’ll post some links tomorrow with some info you should find helpful.

    • #110626

      toss some pavers into it …it will give you a stable surface for a while and they can be reused and repositioned if needed..

      or if you cant get the pavers into the bush try something lighter like chicken wire or netting. just make sure you trench and toenail it into the ground.. This may help produce a kind of "snowshoe" effect so you don’t get bogged down as much into the sand.. Maybe plastic snow fencing instead of chix wire.. the wire may pop some tires if it wears out ….But you get my drift.. The best thing is "geogrid" if you feel like looking it up online or "cellular containment"…

    • #110627

      The key to stopping erosion to get the water off the trail ASAP. You want it flow across the trail, not follow the trail. Water bars are a bad idea, they small drop off the waterbar will cause holes to form on the low side of each bar. In other words, you’ll just end up with stairs.

      The trail nees to be outsloped, in other words, one edge of the trail (on the low side of the hill) needs to be lower than the other. The trail should not form a trench, water will stay in the trench and follow the trail. As it does, more water joins it, and it picks up speed, and erodes more and more. Digging a deeper trench, which will allow more water and more speed, and, well, you see where this is going. The worse it gets, the faster it gets worse.

      Armoring ("paving" with stone, brick, etc) is an option too.

      Here’s some reading:

      IMBA’s Main Trailbuilding page

      How to Toughen Trails – grade reversals and rolling dips are a good way to divert water off the trail before it can flow too far down building mass and speed and taking soil with it

      Building Sustainable Trails

      Building All Weather Trails

    • #110628

      Thanks dgaddis, I appreciate all the help. I took a look at the links and it looks like I have some planning to do.

    • #110629

      My first thought,by the title of the post,was "add rocks".Another alternative would be to remove some sand and replace it with dirt/leaf matter.Depending on what you have to work with nearby is usually what guides my decisions.I had planned to tackle a loose sand corner this weekend by adding small rocks in with the sand and shaping it a bit,but priorities have changed since…

      Our local trail was just pounded for several days by Tropical Storm Debbie and there is some real bad erosion from the water running down the trail as you mentioned,it’s usually so dry I never noticed the problem but I can sure tell now what needs to be done for drainage in the future.There are large and small trees down,my landing for my drop is under water,and the general condition of the trail is just horrible right now.

    • #110630
      "GALAXY" wrote

      My first thought,by the title of the post,was "add rocks".

      Here I was thinking "Make some castles!" 😄


      @OP

      How long/wide are the sections of sand?
      Which organization is in charge of the trails?

      I’m working my way through the DVD series from here and they talk about puncheon construction for wetlands. If the organization has the funds and the section is fairly short, the puncheon might be a good option. Another option is the turnpike. It’s also for wetlands, but I think it might work well for building up a trail section through a section of sand. I would think it would all depend on what is underneath the sand, how far down it goes, and how quickly new sand is deposited.

    • #110631
      "dgaddis" wrote

      The key to stopping erosion to get the water off the trail ASAP. You want it flow across the trail, not follow the trail. Water bars are a bad idea, they small drop off the waterbar will cause holes to form on the low side of each bar. In other words, you’ll just end up with stairs.

      The trail nees to be outsloped, in other words, one edge of the trail (on the low side of the hill) needs to be lower than the other. The trail should not form a trench, water will stay in the trench and follow the trail. As it does, more water joins it, and it picks up speed, and erodes more and more. Digging a deeper trench, which will allow more water and more speed, and, well, you see where this is going. The worse it gets, the faster it gets worse.

      Armoring ("paving" with stone, brick, etc) is an option too.

      Here’s some reading:

      IMBA’s Main Trailbuilding page

      How to Toughen Trails – grade reversals and rolling dips are a good way to divert water off the trail before it can flow too far down building mass and speed and taking soil with it

      Building Sustainable Trails

      Building All Weather Trails

      /\ ^^^ this +1!

    • #110632

      Our local land managers provided our club with land in the Minnesota river bottoms, which periodically flood; bringing lots of sand into our lowlands.

      We’ve addressed all the worst areas with armoring projects using paver blocks the city provided from old torn out cobblestone streets, hardwood pallets, large river rocks and log pole sections cut and buried into the sand like paver stones.

      We’ve got more areas to address yet and we’ve considered hauling in limestone or bags of powdered clay to add to the sand in hopes it will help bind it together. One of our other trail systems in another river bottom area has a higher clay content mixed with the sand and it packs in beautifully, sets up hard and drains/dries much quicker than typical clay soil mixtures.

      Has anyone heard of someone trying these methods before?…or can you comment on the projected feasability of this method?

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