Caples Creek Trail; via Silver Fork Rd.
July 19, 2010 – July, 27, 2010
Total Trail Maintained (ft): 1100
Trail rehabilitation/reconstruction (ft): 20
Sites rehabilitated: 3
Stone retention (ft^2): 20
Rock steps constructed: 15
Drainage Structures: 2
Hitch Chiefs: Molly Krumholz, Winslow Dresser
Over the course of our 9-day “hitch,” the six of us covered 1100ft of the Caples Creek Trail, maintaining and rebuilding sections of existing trail. The section we worked on has a varied user group, consisting of hikers, mountain bikers, horses and even cattle. This variety of users (especially the cattle), has contributed to serious damage along the steeper sections of the trail. This was compounded by the difficulty of placing solid rock structures in the rocky soil along this section of the Caples Creek Trail.
When we arrived at the beginning of our hitch this section of trail was showing clear signs of cattle damage multiplied by erosion. We approached the bulk of the trail work in several different ways, focusing on improving drainage, widening the corridor and installing solid, sustainable structures. To enhance drainage, we worked to lower the extensive berm, installed two reverse drainage dips and set multiple check steps through the most affected areas. In order to ensure the longevity of our structures we constructed check steps with large, single rocks, and focused traffic onto the most durable surfaces possible. The trail corridor was thin and confining when we arrived, and so we also lopped and brushed along the entire length of our work area. To this end, we also removed several boulders from both sides of the trail with the use of rigging, widening both the visual and physical surfaces available for travel.
This hitch involved both new structures and the rehabilitation of sections of trail that have undergone maintenance one or more times. We replaced multiple check steps and other structures that had been damaged with the heavy use. When possible, we reused structural materials, but it was often necessary to bring in fill, crush and larger rocks from nearby. We brought in most of these materials for the largest single section of rebuilt trail, a set of check steps and a rock staircase through one of the most water-damaged areas.
We left this section of trail in much better shape than it was when we began, but the potential for more work along other sections of the trail certainly exists. Our hope is that the majority of our rock structures are solid enough to withstand heavy use for many years, but this will largely depend on the amount and type of use in the future. Before we left, we rehabbed the areas that we affected in the course of our work, leaving the area as minimally impacted as possible.