I was struck by a recent posting on the Trail Conditions section on the GROC home page "so sad how torn up is “, referring to the trail conditions at Dryer Road Park. First, we all appreciate that folks take the time to post trail conditions that help us decide where and when to ride. That said, only a small percentage of all riders actually do check this page before they do go riding. Also, there are many riders who really don't care what the conditions are or whether it is appropriate to ride when they want to go. This is unfortunate not only for the rest of us, but directly affects the integrity of the trails. We all know that riding in wet conditions is especially injurious to all trails (see below).
Why are the trails so “torn up?”
- Dryer Road Park is heavily used by bikers, hikers and trail runners.
- The composition of the trail tread is sand and pebbles, making it very vulnerable to erosion.
- This has been an unusually rainy summer.
- Much of the damage has come from rain water washing away the surface and creating ruts. This has been worsened greatly by any hiking or riding when the trails are wet. Multiply this times over by folks who skid their turns and brake suddenly and improperly
We have reached a crisis. Why? What will happen?
- All single track trails in our local parks were designed, built and are maintained by volunteers. Although this should be common knowledge to at least all mtn bikers, it amazes me how so many folks I talk to on the trails have no clue of this simple fact. Many of them claim they never even heard of GROC (Genesee Regional Off Road Cyclists).!
- In spite of our efforts, the trails are rapidly eroding and many may get to the point of being too dangerous for riding. Some may get to the point that they cannot be repaired and must be permanently closed.
- We do not have enough volunteers to keep up with the demand for the work needed. Of the thousands of all folks who use the trails it basically comes down to the mtn biking community to be the trail stewards at Dryer and the other local mtn biking venues. And of the mtn biking community only a small number come to the work parties at Dryer. My wife, Mary Lee, and I are the project managers, in charge of the trails at Dryer. We, and the small pool of volunteers who attend all the work parties will soon reach burnout, unless we start seeing this pool of volunteers grow.
What must you do?
- Obviously, we must avoid riding single track trails when they are wet. It should go without saying, but isn't understood by some that the more it rains, the longer it takes to dry out. On those days, consider riding the rails to trails like the Auburn or Lehigh systems!
- Don’t skid your turns. Adjust speed well before the turn and use the proper mix of front and rear braking
- Volunteer for work parties
- Get your friends to volunteer
- Sign up for Trail Crew Meetup to be informed of all upcoming work parties
Project Manager for GROC at Dryer Road Park