SHARE MTB Club / Trail Angels MTB Club / ASG MTB Club
Whiting Ranch Trail Maintenance – Assistance to OC Parks
November 20th and December 11th, 2015
The SHARE Mountain Bike Club, along with volunteers from the Trail Angels MTB Club and the ASG MTB Club, assisted the OC Parks with trail maintenance in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Two trail work days were scheduled – November 20th and December 11th, 2015 – to work on trails in the Park that needed to be repaired and prepped for the anticipated rains this winter. The trails that were addressed were the Sleepy Hollow Trail and Sage Scrub Trail.
The upper portions of the Sleepy Hollow Trail and Sage Scrub Trail were repaired by filling in the ruts and channels to create a smooth surface, building water bars, creating alternating high and low point berms that help with the flow of the trial, and by creating runoff channels to direct the water flow from rains off the trail. For the first trail day on the Sleepy Hollow Trail, the conditions were extremely dry so it was necessary for the park rangers to haul in water which was used along with the extra new dirt brought in to fill in the ruts and channels on the trail. Special tools were used to break up the existing dry dirt in order to smooth out the trail. For the second trail day on the Sage Scrub Trail, the conditions were better initially because it had just rained the previous day. However, midway through the morning the rains came again and the work needed to stop – all of the volunteers made their way back through the rain and mud to the park ranger trucks or adventurously hiked out back to their cars.
The Whiting Ranch Park Rangers have been busy developing a plan to determine the necessary actions to be taken in the Park in order to make sure that the trails continue to be maintained such that they are safe and enjoyable to use by hikers, bikers, and equestrian users. Most of the trails in Whiting Ranch are used on a daily basis, which results in impacts to the quality of the trail over time. The trails get worn away and many times rocks become exposed and ruts and channels form – these changes can make it more difficult for hikers, bikers and equestrian users to safely navigate the trail. Because of this, the trail users will sometimes start to go around the obstacles by going off the main trail, causing widening of the original trail and even the formation of an entirely new trail. These changes can impact the fragile wilderness environment and lead to the creation of trails that are not sustainable for high use and for the impacts from weather such as rain and wind.
The OC Park Rangers are pushing to get as much trail work in before the expected rains come in the next few months. The trail maintenance is crucial to reworking the trail in order to make sure that preventative measures are installed on the trails that will minimize the impact of the rain – the goal is to prevent soil erosion and the creation of ruts and channels on the trails.
We appreciate all of the work that the OC Parks and the volunteers from various clubs are doing to maintain the trails in Whiting Ranch to keep them safe and beautiful for everyone to enjoy!