Call of Duty: Trail OPS

Caring for well-loved trails.

Modern trails systems are designed to shed water to help manage use. When you find puddles, or water running down the tread, take the time to investigate. Our trails only remain as good as the maintenance they receive. Most often the water-mitigation feature is filled with sediment from spring runoff and is diverting the flow. Use the heel of your shoe, a nearby stick, or a mini-rake to fix it.

Everyone knows the intricacies of their favorite trail and is well aware of how summer rain events can gully-wash a section of trail in a matter of hours. Take the time to care for the trails you ride the most. Depending on the soils and trail design, local trails may require water features to be cleared several times a summer. Pine needles are slippery and can block proper drainage—remove as inspired. 

Ride with a small handsaw. Use it to remove small-diameter downfall (up to 8”) or eye-pokers above the trail. Be aware that the lower pine branches may be clear in June but in September they will have dried and curled downward. For giant-tree removal, call the appropriate land-management agency to report location and condition. 

Reporting is not enough—volunteer. Don’t take our trails and their maintenance for granted. Practice trail stewardship everywhere, and every time you ride. 

Be patient with conditions and use good judgment. Resist the urge to recreate on muddy trails no matter how far you drove to get there.