Dec 28

Lots of earth moving in Stevens Canyon December 21, 2003

Today we had another 12 volunteers assemble on the top of Charcoal Road in Stevens Canyon County Park to continue trail maintenance on the Table Mountain Trail that had been started three weeks ago. This time we evaluated our work from the last work day, spent a little time improving one of the drains, then got to work installing more drainage features as we hiked our way down the hill.
Heavy rains in the last couple of weeks helped demonstrate how effective our efforts have been so far. Most of the rolling grade dips we have installed are working to get water off the trail before its gets a chance to soften the trail bed. One of the drains was dug too shallow to do its job all year, so deepening and widening it was our first project for the day. We also moved some dirt from where we were digging and tamped it onto the trail to build up the facing side of the ramp that rolls out of the dip. Fred Stanke worked off trail moving material out of the way while Janet Wagner packed down dirt to keep the trail surface durable.

Further down trail, Bob Waites from Stevens Creek County Park, Loren Thomas from Team Wrongway, Brent Forsythe of F.O.R.E.S.T, Adrienne Harber, Jack Leckrone and John Leckrone dug a huge nick into the right side of the trail just before a steep section that had been roding into a cupped shape. Once a trail develops this cupping, it retains water and sends it down trail with increasing velocity. Water softens the trail, user wear and water further the erosion process, and soon you end up with a trench instead of a trail. This drainage feature is large enough to move a lot of water, even after silting up during periods of light rain, but is also subtle enough to not trip up any hikers.

Patty Ciesla of F.O.R.E.S.T led the realignment of one of the switchbacks we worked on today. Trail users had been shortcutting it, and it was becoming deeply troughed because of that. A mound of dirt was put back into the apex of the turn and tamped down solid. Wendy Ballreich harvested ferns from the hillside above and they were planted in the mound, as well as a chunk of Madrone tree that had fallen nearby. Jack’s dump truck had to be brought in to move excess material that had been cut off the uphill bank.

Trails consultant Frank Deto, also from Santa Clara County Parks, was on hand to provide his expert digging skills. The work we did today should hold up for a couple of years, but we left some for you to do next month. We made almost to the halfway point down Table Mountain toward Stevens Creek and will be out there again on Sunday, January 18. Send me an email letting me know you will be coming and I will bring a couple extra tools for you. ROMP and the
Stewards of Soquel Forest loaned tools for this project, and F.O.R.E.S.T provided coffee, hot cider and tea. Their efforts will improve everyones’ experience in our parks.

There are more Trail Days on the calendar for trails in other Santa Clara County Parks, and two more to finish what we started in Stevens Canyon. Find out more at http://www.parkhere.org

We work from 8:00 until about 12:00, and the rewards last all season.

Charles Jalgunas
County Parks Volunteer Crew Leader
Friends Of Rugged Environmentally Sound Trails