Education post time! 🤘
We heard out on the trails today and have been asked why we removed the features on Lower Buckle that were made out of wood. So here is the answer so everyone in the community can hear and view it:
Wood used in mountain bike trail features is great for the short term, but not in the long term. Wood breaks down and begins to rot and overtime makes the features either unstable or begin to collapse. It might not look like it from the surface you ride on, but underneath is where it shows. Moisture in the dirt significantly helps with making wood rot. This leads to more regular maintenance on these features compared to if they were built with rocks/stone and dirt. Less time maintaining every feature in the park means more time for higher priority tasks... like working on new trails.
Lysty has/had a lot of these features before it became common to use rocks/stone to build trail. It was common for riders to come across a fallen tree and place smaller logs up against it to create a ramp or jump as it was simple, quick and the easy way to make a feature rather than wait for a chainsaw or approval by the land manager. If you take a look at world class mountain bike parks, they all either never or very rarely use wood (e.g. - Derby, Maydena for starters).
In 2015 Parks Victoria had an audit of all the mountain bike trails in the park by a professional mountain bike trail building company and listed everything unsustainable, hazardous or not to standard of things that needed to be fixed up. This included wooden features, drainage, signage, alignments, feature additions etc. It's a 130 page document that we've been working towards completing. So far, the only remaining tasks for the club to complete remains on Lower Buckle and Lower Blair Witch.
We've "targeted" the features on Lower Buckle as they're one of those few remaining points which is highlighted on this audit. To put it simply, by the club completing all the tasks on this audit, it shows that we as volunteers are capable of maintaining the trails in our park. If we say "we can't do that or not sure how to tick off that reference point", it pretty much shows that we're not at a maintenance standard for the park and can't look after any more trails that could be built. By showing that we are capable it proves to the land manager that we would be able to look after more kilometres of trail and further puts forward our case of obtaining more mountain bike trails in the park.
We're working on Lower Buckle and Lower Blair Witch this weekend and next weekend as we are restricted with time. In late 2017 we received funding towards materials and machinery for works relating to the audit. In February 2018 we were approved to starting works using this funding. This came from a regional and minor works allocation. Unfortunately, from the money we received through Parks Victoria, we have to use it before mid June in preparation for the financial year as it expires then. So the next couple of weeks is the deadline and the only oppourtunity we have to make the most out of the remaining funds to put towards hiring machinery. This is why we've had to delay works to maintaining the trails used in the VES race (although they're holding up extremely well considering the weather and riders).
Hopefully (depending on time/man power/materials) everything from the trail audit will be completed by the 3rd of June 2018 and our document proposing new trails that we've been working on for many many months will have more merit to it with our actions backing up the words written in it.
Hope this clarifies our situation. Were looking at the big picture and the future of the park.
Keep in mind that the trails are free and we're all volunteers who give up our physical time, but also time to write up 30 page documents on how we'll use funding/tackle maintenance around the park.