Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tunnel Trail Winter Preparation, Saturday 10/17/09

The nearly 20 people who volunteered for the winter preparation of Tunnel Trail Saturday were all guaranteed two things, soreness throughout their bodies the next day and a feeling of accomplishment. That is what I took away from it as I helped prepare the trails for winter rains with USFS engineer Garrett Villanueva. Garrett has been hired by local agencies with emergency funding to come and help prevent erosion on trails affected by the Jesusita Fire. Our main objective Saturday was improving the trails outdated water drainage features. The WDF's that currently exist on the trails cannot hold up to the amount of water and sediment that will run down the trails when the rains come. New and improved WDF's will last for a long long time giving our trails protection years after the hillsides have grown back.

We started of right at the base of Tunnel Trail where Garrett had marked the deeply rutted trail for improvement. Garrett then explained and demonstrated all the steps in building a WDF- excavating, rock locating, excavating, rock placement, more excavating, then covering it all up. A typical old fashioned "water bar" we are used to seeing on our trails is about a foot or two in width. These new WDF's are about 25 feet in width but when built correctly they are hardly noticeable by trail users. The key to WDF's also known as "rolling grade dips" or "knicks" is the wide catch area to pull water and sediment from the trail thus preventing erosion damage further down the trail.

What goes into building these WDF's is a ton of work and engineering. No machine or device can help either, this is work that needs to be done by hand and a rough guess of the amount of dirt and rock we moved Saturday had to be several tons of each. The 5 WDF's we completed in about the same number of hours only covered 1/4 mile of trail, there are miles and miles left that need to be done. For the next several weeks Garrett will train and lead the California Conservation Corps out on the trails affected by the Jesusita Fire to try and finish where we left off. Big thanks to to everyone who helped out including: Joani, Sonia, Liz, Deanna, Kristi, Chris, Paul, Rick, Richard, Ken, Greg, James, Jim, Ranger Kerry Kellogg, and of course Garrett Villanueva. Dave

Tunnel Trail and the hydromulched hillsides
Garrett gives a pep talk
Measuring the distance of the WDF
Step two, excavating
Step three, placement of large rock
Finished product

Another WDF-before

A small WDF before

The women of the trail- Liz, Sonia, and Deanna building the WDF


The WDF of the day was this monster
Same "monster" back in April of 09

Excavating the monster

A well placed layer of huge rocks is key to WDF success

How to we found some of the huge rocks
Garrett taming the monster
The "steps" are starting to take shape
The crew removing the large burm on the side of the trail
Proud volunteers on the tamed monster

The monster from above

From below, quite a difference

Trail scorpion

It's a dirty job!

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