Trail population and more foul weather leaves existing trails under strain

Photo Credit: Mike Barrow

It's a Coffee Talk Tuesday with no question, just a picture and a situation area Mountain Bikers are in

The Dirty Bismark, one of the few large trails currently opened near Boulder, is seeing most of the area's dirt lovers coming out in numbers that seem far greater than usual. Add on top of that the ground is already pretty saturated with water and recent rains and snows have turned some areas, that under our normal desert like conditions, into sections like shown above, and now may need some type of trail structures to fix the problem. Everyone knows to ride through it, it's been a mainstream plea for over 20 years but many don't. Not in any pictures shown but up on the top side of the Dirty Bismark where it connects with the Koopenberg single track has become double track. It's subjective but I would guess it was not mud related but the single track became too bumpy for trail users so a smoother line was created, and given the softness of the ground and shear numbers of riders on the trail made the creation quick and simple. Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance have been working with the community on Trail Etiquette but what can be done with usage rises and Mother Nature screws with you on unseasonable weather.

BMA Trail Etiquette from Joey Schusler on Vimeo.

This Thursday at Rocky Mounts is Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance's Membership Party at 6pm

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I live near that loop and it

I live near that loop and it definitely sees a lot of traffic under normal conditions, and much more so now given all the closures. Mountain bikers are better than the photo above, there is no reason to ride around that small mud hole. If you absolutely can't bear the thought of getting your bike muddy (oh the humanity!), then at least get off and carry it don't just ride around it.

As someone who has donated a lot of time to help rebuild trails, stuff like this makes my head hurt. These are easily preventable damages.

Agreed, Joel - I live in

Agreed, Joel - I live in South Boulder and ride High Plains fairly frequently - I'm pretty certain I know the exact spot on HP this was taken, and if so, it's an area where there is a persistent spring and I've seen this exact same mess anytime the weather is wet enough to get it flowing, regardless of the open/closed status of other system trails. One of the main issues behind this kind of damage is that the people who do this are not the sorts of riders who are typically engaged in the MTB community (yes there are jerks in any population but they're generally the exception); this is often something you'll see from more casual riders (think college students, folks with the department store type bikes, teenagers, etc...) who don't subscribe to IMBA or BMA and don't understand the impact they cause. I've done enough trail days myself for this to really irritate me, but I guess honestly, what's the best way to combat ignorance? I've tried to be an ambassador in these situations (stopped, tried to explain the "keep the singletrack skinny" philosophy without chiding people or being confrontational) and my overall perception is that in about half these cases they straight out don't get it and don't want to hear it.

and don't get me started about the hikers and equestrians... based on just my experience alone they're far, far worse.

bad manners overall

I was out this weekend on this very loop and was just stunned by the lack of overall trail etiquette. I saw people go completely off trail to avoid the mud, riders who had no regard for yielding right of way for anyone climbing, or even hiking for that matter. It's like a bunch of hicks on bikes out there, with no regard for any rules.

All the crap I saw would never fly somewhere where the cycling community is small. We call people on their stupid S*it back home. People who are from here need to start doing what other places do; police ourselves. Make an effort to talk to your riding friends about trail rules. Help a noob get up to speed on the rules also. Its a community effort.

Is the trail design working for conditions and traffic

Imagine if everyone did ride through, we can only guess but I would guess there would be a large/deep water hole there which isn't great either even after the water is gone. Maybe this section needs a drainage pipe and and dirt build up. Right?

Until that happens we can ask that everyone rides though it but reality is not everyone will. So what do you do? Accept reality, close the trail or modify to prevent this in the future

In all the years that I've

In all the years that I've ridden this trail, I've never seen a mud hole in this location. I agree that we can look at trying to rebuild this section with some water mitigation features, but you also have to remember that it took a group of 30 people and well over 200 hours just to get this trail back open after the flood. If people could ride through instead of creating 30 different routes around it until we can get back to address this issue, then it will take less work to fix when the trail crews get caught up enough to address it.

I rode it last night and went straight through it. Sure I got some mud on my bike and on me, but it was that bad. I will say though that the hole is deeper than you would expect as you ride up to it.

If you aren't going to ride through the middle of it, just pick your bike up and carry it. No reason to ride through a little less mud and create a much wider trail.