ATV Trail Maintenance
August 1, 2017
ATV maintenance is crucial to the ATV riding community. Without it, trails would fall by the wayside, and riding could become treacherous. Here are some of the things your local trail maintenance crew takes care of. If you're interested in getting involved, they're always looking for volunteers.
Crossing streams requires trail planners to ask, "Should we go over or through?" While splashing through water is fun, it isn't always environmentally friendly. Trail planners consider erosion, habitat damage, water quality, and the depth and width of the stream. ATV riders should be respectful of nature; work with it, not against it.
When the area has been assessed, the appropriate solution is constructed, whether that's creating a path down and through, or constructing a bridge up and over.
Small Is Important
Quality bridges are critical to trail maintenance. A good bridge won't alert riders to the difference in terrain. It should ride smooth without bumps and jolts. Bridges are built to withstand the elements; poorly constructed bridges are a safety hazard. These prevent unnecessary damage to the environment while allowing ATV riders to continue exploring.
ATV bridges are generally constructed using ATVs. The vehicles haul the tools and supplies out, which mean trucks aren't damaging the earth on the way to the construction site and materials are of limited size. Typically, bridges consiste of heavy beams topped by a sturdy deck. Crews prepare the ground by leveling and packing the dirt to establish solid footholds. Beams are placed across the stream and secured with rebar. Stabilizers are put in place, and the deck is placed over the beams and fastened securely in place. Crews will test the bridge to make sure it's sturdy before backfilling the area with rock to prevent ground settling and rain pooling. The rocks are covered with top soil, and the bridge is open for business.
Don't forget to thank your local or state grounds crew the next time you see them. And if you're looking for a way to give back, consider joining a volunteer maintenance group. Caring for the trails will keep them around for years to come.