Last Saturday we had a great turn out for the first trail maintenance session out in Mugdock Park. In total we had about 25 folks out comprised of GMBC, Meet Up, Rockhard and a few locals (inc Dave-who-used-to-work-at-Alpine).
Our target for the day was to work our way along the Riverside trail which we’d surveyed a few weeks before putting in the improvements we’d discussed with Maggie the park ranger. After a tool talk form Maggie, we got small groups of the volunteers set up to work on specific sections. Despite having surveyed the trail there was often debate about what to do on a section and Maggie’s view is definitely one of “well, something’s better than nothing”. It’s worth a go to try things and if they don’t work, we try something else.
The worst of the trail is definitely at the Craigallian end. There are a couple of very boggy sections which took a couple of teams quite a few hours to put in drainage and re-route sections to (slightly) drier ground. Some of the deep muddy bogs were also blocked off using felled timber to make the new/dry-ish line seem more enticing.
I spent the morning leading folks further and further up the trail to work on sections. When one group finished they walked up the trail to find me and I’d show them to the next section. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I got a chance to walk back down the trail to see what had been done. Blimey! The volunteers had been busy. Ditches dug, invasive trees felled (by Maggie) and moved, muddy sections re-routed, branches pruned and perhaps most professionally executed, 3 sections of trail rebuilt with drainage pipe installed underneath. All credit to John, Ryszard, Mark and Sandy for the hard graft put in to those sections.
A few things to consider if you happen to be riding Riverside (assuming it’s dry!); watch out for a few changes and blocked sections, mainly closer to the Craigallian end. Please don’t move any of the obstacles, they’re there for a reason. Keep to the path, don’t widen it or take alternate lines. Also, the large fallen tree at the start has been cleared and the roots are back (and are quite tricky to ride according to Marky Mark).
It was a great day of effort with a good dose of humour from everyone which drew praise from several folks out using the trail and from Maggie herself. Thanks to all those who came along to wallow about in the mud digging ditches, humf wheel barrows about and get stuck in with a mattock. The next sessions are planned for 10th and 24th March but we’ll need to do some surveying work before then as we’ve done everything we set out to on the Riverside!