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Closing Roads for Fun and No Profit

posted Jun 23, 2016, 8:37 PM by Tony Burgess
On an overcast Saturday morning we joined up with the Sierra Responsible Riders (SRR) to lend a quick hand with some trail work, and eat a couple donuts.

The SRR arrived on time and were not hung-over, drunk, or high -- which was a refreshing change of pace. 

We were on a limited time frame, it was graduation weekend and at noon a large party in Crowley needed to be prepped.  Grabbing a green-sticker shovel and mcleod, we skipped the small talk and headed off to repair some single track.

Due to Route Designation, the Inyo was signed pretty quickly and to some it seemed overnight. The first trail we went down was old single track that was blown out to quad-trail.  It was signed for jeeps.  The jeeps could get pretty far but then would get turned around by narrowing trees.  Some innovative drivers would find other routes through the forest to keep following the now blown-out single track so that was our first repair.

No good before photo, here's one after.

Pretty easy stuff really, most of the forest slash was already down so we rearranged a few things and kept it natural looking.  There's no longer any proliferation around the trail, and jeeps and other large OHV's won't even get that far anymore due to "restrictions" placed in key locations.  

The whole idea of trail maintenance is "does it look better than before?"  With the Friends of the Inyo they'd come in and lay perpendicular sticks along benign roads -- which does not look better. See below.


Above is the portrait of closing roads for fun and profit.  How much profit?  Well that depends on who you ask.  We'll keep it between Friends...

Making the forest worse off visually is an expensive disservice.

Anyhow, on to the next project, a wide blown-out single track that you could drive an ESTA bus through.


AFTER!!  A sweet bermed single track.  Anyone coming through would never know that this trail began it's life as a MC route, then got widened by quads and Jeep signage to only revert back to single track.  And no, this isn't the Mammoth to June trail, just a souvenir left after someone ran it over and snapped the sign.

We split after 1.75 hours, more work was waiting in Crowley.  The official SRR report is below.

A special thanks to everyone who showed up last week-end to make our first trail work day in the Inyo a success.  We were able to narrow one of the trails and one of the roads back down to reasonable widths and then had the luck of a good amount of rain that night and the next day to settle down the dirt work we did.  And it was a huge first step to building relations with USFS to show we can do our part for OHV trails.  

Trail work day awards to:

Precision award:  Jeff and the 4x4 post setting crew for resorting to iphone levels and setting the posts within < 0.1 degs of plumb and within 1/8" of the required width.  

One with nature award:  Frankie for the artful use of a 5 gallon bucket filled with pinecones, twigs, and duff to make off-route excursions magically disappear.

Hard charger award:  Matt who, on foot, singlehandedly packed around a Stihl chainsaw, fuel, bar oil, wedges, extra chains, and carried a shovel to make quick dispatch of several downed trees and snags to provide plenty of material to narrow the trail down to a proper width.  

In a single work day, we have almost met our full match obligation for our grant and those who showed up got to play with our new set of tools for trail maintenance.  Tentative plan is to do another small work day to fulfill our obligation and then, pending approval for the latest proposal on modifications to the trails late this year, we might get a chance to open back up the geothermal single track and some other closed single tracks and restrict them to truly single track going forward.  We're expecting to have plenty of folks willing to show up to help on that day!

Fred is also extending an invitation for the 'industry night' at the bowling alley this Thursday.  Several of the motocross race teams/sponsors have put together bowling teams to compete and anyone who wants to stop by and hang out is welcome.  And bonus points to anybody who talks up the club and wrangles a little bit of support or swag to give away at a future trail work day...

Thanks again for doing your part to start turning around USFS and supporting OHV recreation in the Inyo NF. 

-Mike, Darren, and Fred