What a great success! We are floored with how the Trail Academy turned out!
We had 34 students, 4 returning crew leaders and 30 brand new!
Trail Academy was instructed by professional trail builder, Drew Perkins, and assisted by professional trail builder, Chris Orr.
The weekend began with a 2.5 hour classroom session presented by Drew. This part of the academy was open to everyone so we had over 40 people learning some things like this:
The trail needs to capture all users Equestrians, Hikers, Runners, Bikers, be in harmony with the environment, help show users the easiest way down and much more. (The presentation slides are available here! with a lot more information)
We learned a lot about different soil types, how they react to water in different ways, and where these different soils are found in Santa Barbara.
And we focused on water drainage techniques during the second half of the presentation. We learned to think about the four main forces that act on the trail: compaction, displacement, erosion and gravity. We learned a lot about how fall line trails are unsustainable and break the ½ rule. How to pick the best spots for drainage features. How to build Knick features and Rolling Grade dips.
The list goes on and on, so much great material was passed to us! You can get into more detail when you check out the presentation slides.
After the presentation we moved up the the top of Cold Spring West Fork and enjoyed an amazing picnic lunch spread of goodies and mingling.
Next, Drew taught us a bit more about the tools used to work on the trail–this time with the assistance of the physical thing in hand and a megaphone 🙂
After that we broke into two groups of ~17 one led by Drew and one by Chris. We walked down the trail stopping many times and discussed things like, watershed, drainage features used, features that could be added, methods to determine if slope of feature is ample for grade of trail, and much more.
Day one wrapped up with an optional BBQ at SBMTV’s past presidents house, Jack Greenbaum.
For day two we met at Skofield park. Today our plan was to do some more educational walking and discussing but to also have everyone dig into the dirt and really build a lot of these features we had learned about.
And that is just what we did. We worked on Rattlesnake trail with city permission, the government shutdown prevented us from working on Forest Service land trails. Rattlesnake was a great option for us, yes it’s not open for biking, but is a trail that needed drainage features built and improved. We also saw a very good example of what happens to a trail when it is built on a fall line–It turns into ‘a brand new stream’.
At the end of the day we regrouped at Skofield Park and handed out golden crew leader SBMTV shirts to the grads. See the group photo of them below!
Thank you so much to all the students who participated! Everyone did amazingly well! We are soo excited to have you all come to events and lead crews!
Also, sending a huge thank you to REI for their support, SBBike for the presentation space, Drew Perkins for coming down from Santa Cruz to instruct, Chris Orr for assisting in instruction, the City of SB for opening Rattlesnake trail for us to work on, and all the SBMTV volunteers that helped put the event together!!