26 August 2013

More trail building schools scheduled for 2013

Building new or improving existing trails and teach sustainable trail technology. Training volunteers, stimulate trail stewardship, promote mountain bike destinations. That’s all part of IMBA’s mission. After a series of successful trail building schools in the Alps and the UK, the IMBA Trail Solutions program will continue their work this fall while visiting Norway, the Czech Republic the UK, Greece and the Netherlands. 

Never heard of trail building schools and want to learn more about it? Then just read two inspiring stories from our trail specialists Shane Wilson and Mark McClure.

TBS Farmer Johns Mountain Bike Bark (UK)

Trail Specialist Mark McClure joined 15 members of the Saddleworth Trails Group, Mandale Park BMX track and FJMTB to deliver the two day school. The groups had sourced funding from MOBISEC, a European funding pot which encourages bicycle use. The money was pledged to assist in training volunteers to manage and maintain trails in the town of Oldham, a partner in the project alongside Murcia, Spain and Varna, Bulgaria.

MOBISEC is a cycling project funded by the European Commission which aims to promote cycling as the usual mode of transport, increase the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, promote intermodality and increase citizen participation in cycling. 

Oldham is using a proportion of the budget to fund community engagement projects aimed at increasing existing cycling levels in the borough and encouraging new cyclists. There is also funding for new and upgraded cycle paths as well as cycle counters. 

The trail building school focused on building sustainable singletrack and the volunteers created an exciting new stretch of flow trail within the park. Work was also carried out to maintain other existing trail sections, getting them ready for the annual FJMTB race event on 5th and 6th October.  A new jump line was also constructed allowing the race route to traverse the hillside linking two existing tracks. Two further training sessions are planned for the volunteers with a focus on trail inspection and maintenance. 

Trail conflict? Do what Davos does, design a new trail.

The grassy meadows that line the Choerbschhorn Trail near Davos, Switzerland are important grazing areas for the cows that make wonderful cheeses for us all to enjoy. The current trail bisects this land and is causing considerable damage because it violates the fundamental rules of sustainable trail design. The current route follows the “fall line”, this allows water to accelerate and create significant erosion. This erosion creates conditions that prevent trail users from enjoying the trail. This has lead to conflict among trail users and farmers. 

These chronic problems lead the Davos Trail Crew to look for a solution. The Crew’s leader, Clemens Bolli enlisted Shane Wilson from IMBA’s Trail Solutions program to design a new route that will be more fun, sustainable and reduces conflict.  Shane spent three days with Clemens, assessing and designing a new route. Shane was also able to provide instruction on the trail design process. This new knowledge will allow the Davos Trail Crew to execute design projects with minimal assistance in the future. This kind of investment in the local trail community is vital to the future of trail development in Switzerland.