SMT Seeks Input from Singletrack Minds

Are you an advanced mountain biker who wants to see challenging trails maintained? Then read on, this article’s for you!

Salida Mountain Trails was formed to build and maintain sustainable non-motorized, multi-user trails on the public lands adjoining the city of Salida. The group came into being when the Bureau of Land Management reviewed its Travel Management Plan for the Salida area.

The BLM is charged with the dual responsibilities of allowing economic activity, including recreation, and preserving the lands under its control. In terms of trails, this means building sustainable routes not prone to erosion or other resource damage. SMT tries to build trails that honor that goal. Therefore, SMT builds to the standards promoted by the International Mountain Biking Association. These trails can be fun for beginners as well as challenging for more advanced riders, yet still avoid erosion damage to public resources. As riders, runners, hikers, dog walkers, or horseback riders, we are still stewards of the land. If we don’t respect our public lands, we will lose access.

In building new trails, it is relatively easy to make trails sustainable either by staying to the contours or hardening surfaces i.e. armouring with rocks in erosion prone areas. However, the local system still has a few legacy trails that were built before folks were aware of the damage that fall line (i.e. straight down the hill )trails can cause. SMT has been able to re-route some of these trails very successfully; think Paulies, Unkle Nazty, and Upper Sand Dunes. These trails remain challenging yet meet sustainablility standards.

Re-routing the remaining unsustainable areas is a commitment that SMT made to BLM. In return, BLM has been extremely supportive of local efforts to add new trails in our area. Currently, SMT is looking at re-routes on Lost Trail and the short section that connects Unkle Nazty/Prospector with Cottonwood. There are opportunities to meet both IMBA standards and maintain highly challenging trails (again think about upper Sand Dunes), However, we need input from riders who want to save the character of those trails. It is possible that if enough people are committed to this idea, we can bring in rocks to armour the trail, create drops and jumps and make the trail better in all ways.

SMT needs advanced riders and downhillers to step up and get involved in planning and construction of these re-routes. Please leave a comment or contact salidamountaintrails@gmail.com

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