Mitigation efforts help reopen trails after heavy rain

Frequent trail closures this mountain biking season

COGGS has had to close trails more often than usual due to frequent heavy rain.

This spring has put a damper on the mountain biking season with trails closing frequently.

“The last two years, we kinda didn’t have any moisture in the ground, and we were going through a lot of drought, and so there’s just a lot of drainage issues that we didn’t see for the last couple years, and now they’re all kinda coming out at once,” said COGGS Executive Director Ansel Schimpff. “But we’ve got these crews out there working on the trails every week, hitting the worst spots, and we can do a lot to harden the trail surface and improve drainage, so that’s what they’ve been focusing on.” 

There are a couple of different methods used by COGGS to mitigate the mud on the trails. 

“One of them is just to bring in a hardening surface. There’s a Class 5 gravel, which is used on pack gravel trails as well. So we carry that into the spots and put it in the mud holes, and that hardens them up and keeps them from filling with water and getting muddy again,” Schimpff explained. “We can also go through and just improve the drainage.So as we design these trails, they’re all built with drainage built into the trail. So we just go back through and bring that drainage back up to how it was when it was new.” 

Even with the mitigation efforts, it has been taking longer for trails to reopen because of the soil being so saturated from all the rain.

“It usually takes a day and now it’s taken a day or two. But yeah, once it gets back into a normal cycle, we usually can open things up the day after it rains,” said Schimpff. 

COGGS trail stewards monitor trails regularly and let the public know when to stay off the trails. 

“Anytime the tread of the trail starts to get soft enough that you’re leaving ruts or leaving footprints, that’s when you’re starting to do real damage to the trail.  If there’s little puddles on it, we don’t worry about that too much, but yeah, kind of that more saturated trail tread that is starting to soften up is when we have to close them down,” elaborated Schimpff.