Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coming to a trailhead near you

Just in time for the arrival of real winter, new posters prepared and provided by Singletrack Advocates will soon be showing up at trailhead kiosks and bike-shop counters all over Anchorage.

With design work donated by local cyclist Rob German, these posters will provide all cyclists some useful tips on how to have more fun and play nicely with other user groups. Keep an eye out for them, and please be sure to mention them to new winter riders.

And if you know Rob, thank him for donating his time and talent to design a very cool—and useful—poster,

All we need now is a little more snow!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Winter riding tips

The snow is coming and the trails will soon be ready to ride, winter style! At special trails events over the past couple of years, we've shared some tips that can make winter riding more fun while building better relations with other user groups.

If you're new to winter riding, or if you just want a refresher course before hitting the trails again, our tips are below. Get out there and have a good time.

1. Be Prepared
Dress for the conditions and carry an extra layer.
Carry an extra tube, a pump and tools.

2. Ride Multi-Use Trails
Winter biking is prohibited
on ski-only and dog mushing trails.

3. Be Courteous
Yield the trail to other users and signal to pass.

4. Fuel Up
Carry high-energy food and water.

5. If In Doubt, Let Air Out
If your tires dig into the snow,
the trail is too soft to ride on,
or you have too much pressure in your tires.

6. Avoid Freshly Groomed Trails
Freshly groomed snow takes several hours to set-up.
Refrain from riding until the trail surface is firm.

7. Stud Your Shoes
Insert sheet-metal screws into the sole
of each shoe for more secure footing.

8. Wider Wheels = Easier Riding
Fat tires improve flotation.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another step forward

The National Park Service—Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program has announced that it will be providing technical assistance to Singletrack Advocates for the 2008 Fiscal Year (October 1, 2007, through September 30, 2008).

RTCA will assist with navigating the planning, permitting and public process; converting ideas into action; providing sustainable trail design and construction options and alternatives; producing GPS and GIS trail and resource maps; locating additional funding sources and opportunities.

This will go a long way toward making the Hillside Singletrack Trail System a reality!

Monday, September 17, 2007

More on National Public Lands Day

HELP WANTED!
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

Far North Bicentennial Park/Hillside Trail Signage and Kiosk Project
Saturday, September 29th
Meet at 8:30 a.m.
North end of Hilltop Ski Area Parking Lot
Please sign in and identify yourself as a Singletrack Advocate

Bring brushing tools, shovels or battery operated drills.
Leaders: Gordon Wetzel and Brian Looney
Help install kiosk materials, cut and set posts and mount trail signs that inform users of the name of trail, winter use, a locator map, and the distances to nearest trail heads. This project effort is Phase 2 of improving trail & park safety through better trail signage and improved trailhead kiosks that the trail user coalition was successful in getting support from Alaska State Parks, the Anchorage Park Foundation and user groups.

FREE LUNCH PARTY IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING AT 12:30
BLM Campbell Creek Science Center

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

National Public Lands Day

Note: We have two new posts today. Please continue scrolling down for information on changes to the Coyote Trail.

Saturday, September 29th is National Public Lands Day.
Parks and Recreation, BLM, Trail Watch and Far North Trails Advisory Committee will be conducting trail improvement projects in Far North Bicentennial Park, BLM Campbell Tract and on the Northern Lights Trail.

Northern Lights Trail will undergo a safety makeover effort between Goose Lake Park and East High School led by Trail Watch focusing on finishing 2 segments along the trail opening up the visibility into the park similar to early projects on Chester Creek, Russian Jack Springs and Abbott Road Multi Use trails. Volunteers will thin and brush back alders and trees 30-40 ft along the trail corridor at two work segments primarily on the south side of the trail and remove deadfall found immediately adjacent to the trail in this crime and fire prevention effort. This important East Anchorage trail link is used by all including skiers, bikers, skijors, walkers, runners, ASD / UAA students and commuters.

If you can help with the Northern Lights Trail Watch Safety Makeover project, please assemble at the Goose Lake Park parking lot between 8:15am – 8:30am. Tools will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to bring loppers and brushing tools if they have them. Some chainsaw work may also be needed on this project.

The Far North / Hillside Trail System Safety Sign Project will complete the installation of “You are Here” trail posts and signage at critical intersections and junctions led by members of the Far North Trails Advisory Committee. Volunteers will help install kiosk materials, cut and set posts and mount trail signs that inform users of the name of trail, winter use, a locator map, and the distances to nearest trail heads. This project effort is Phase 2 of improving trail & park safety through better trail signage and improved trailhead kiosks that the trail user coalition was successful in getting support from Alaska State Parks, the Anchorage Park Foundation and user groups.

If you can help with the Far North / Hillside Trail System Safety Sign post project, please assemble at the north end of the Hilltop / Far North Trailhead parking lot between 8:30am – 9am. Volunteers are encouraged to bring brushing tools, shovels or rakes, and battery operated drills if they have them to help in setting the “You are Here” posts and creating a good line of sight around the posts.

BLM will be organizing a series of work projects on Campbell Tract, including hardening Lore Road Trail, re-vegetating the west airstrip wing, planting trees and thinning the island at Campbell Airstrip Trailhead, landscaping at the science center and brushing and signing work on portions of the new Campbell Airstrip National Recreation Trail.

If you can help with the Campbell Tract projects, please assemble at the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center (6881 Abbott Loop Road) between 8:30am – 9am. All tools will be provided.

All projects will begin to wrap-up around 12:15 – 12:30pm and ALL volunteers are invited to a thank you pizza lunch and Science Center’s Annual Open House at the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center beginning at 12:45 pm. Attendees will be able to learn about the Center’s upcoming programs, enjoy interactive energy-related games, and see a bald eagle release and more.

Hope you can join other trail enthusiasts Saturday, September 29 and be part of these efforts and this Take Pride in America event. For further information you can call the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center at 267-1247 or John McCleary of Park & Recreation at 343-4296.

Changes on Coyote Trail

The BLM is replacing the bridge over Little Campbell Creek on Coyote
Trail (Tour of Anchorage). The work started in early September and is
being staged at the Abbott Loop Community Park Trailhead. To help
haul materials to the worksite, the contractor widened and smoothed
the hill below the trailhead. With the heavy rains that followed,
that section of trail is very muddy.

Trail users should avoid this trailhead as an access point until the
ground dries or freezes. An alternative would be to enter the trails
at the Lore Road Trailhead, just north of the Abbott Loop trailhead.
There's no parking right now, but one could park at the Abbott Loop
parking lot and ride north on the road until just past Lore.
Smokejumper Trailhead is another option.

A temporary bridge is being used while the new bridge is installed,
but trail users should try to avoid that stretch of trail if possible.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Unauthorized trail modifications

Word is spreading that someone has been removing roots from Upper and Lower Llama trails. This is not the first time such activity has occurred, and it is always a source of concern and frustration for responsible mountain bikers.

STA does not know who is taking it upon themselves to remove challenges from Llama, but we encourage anyone who knows who might be doing this to inform the people involved that making a trail easier to ride does not necessarily make it better. There are many easy trails to ride on the lower Hillside. If you know who is involved in this unauthorized trail work, please ask them to stop.

Let's keep technical trails technical.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Show support for singletrack

STA will present the Hillside Singletrack Project as an information item at this Thursday's Parks & Recreation Commission meeting at the Spenard Recreation Center. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and it would be helpful to have a lot of mountain bikers in the audience. Please come out and show support for new singletrack.

We are item VI (a) on the agenda*, after 3 action items (see attached). Please plan accordingly.

*Please click on the "July 12" agenda link

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hillside Singletrack Trail Proposal

(Click for larger map)

Since August of 2004, Singletrack Advocates has worked with other user groups of Far North Bicentennial Park to solve user conflicts spurred by a growing demand for park resources. Singletrack Advocates has partnered with Alaska Trails, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. The mission of Alaska Trails is to support sustainable, world-renowned trails through funding, facilitation and education.

With technical assistance from the National Park Service-Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, Alaska Trails and Singletrack Advocates propose to plan, design and construct Anchorage's first system of soft-surface, narrow trails sustainably-built for mountain bikes and foot traffic to meet the needs of users who enjoy the recreation opportunities provided by trails that retain more of the natural characteristics of the landscape. The areas under consideration are in the northeastern and southeastern areas of Far North Bicentennial Park (FNBP). The secondary goal of this project is to improve local and statewide singletrack trail building capacity by training in-state, mini-mechanized equipment operators and volunteers skilled in finish work. By increasing the number of local trail experts, Alaskans will enjoy the long-term benefits of trails designed for sustainability: lasting for decades, minimizing ongoing maintenance, enhancing the user experience.

Project Location: Far North Bicentennial Park is Anchorage’s largest park, providing year-round outdoor recreation opportunities for the entire community. The park has over 1 million visitors each year, contributing to the social, economic and ecological well being of Anchorage. As funds become available, the project will focus on the following areas in sequence:

• Southern Block (shaded in blue, approximately 206 acres) bordered by Lodge Pole Court to the south, the Gasline to the west, Hilltop Ski Area and the Spencer Loop Ski Trail to the north and northwest.
• Southern Strip (shaded in yellow, approximately 133 acres) bordered by Campbell Airstrip Road and Campbell Creek.
• Northeastern Triangle (pink area, approximately 165 acres) bordered by the Gas Line to the northwest, the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood to the east, and Campbell Airstrip Road to the south.
• The green area lies within Chugach State Park. No trail proposals have been developed for this area at this time.

Project Description: The trails will be built to meet sustainability standards such as those described by the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). Initially, the trail corridor would be approximately 4 ft wide (the width of the equipment) but would be expected to have a tread width of 18 - 24 inches wide when completed. The trails would be loops wherever possible and take advantage of natural landscape features to provide variation to the trail users. Hardening of the trail using off-site material would only occur when necessary to protect sensitive site characteristics or to make the trail sustainable. Effort will be made to reduce visibility between loops, but also to use terrain features to slow the speed of mountain bikers on limited visibility corners to accommodate both hikers and bikers. The trails would support 2-way traffic though users encountering those from the opposite direction will require someone yielding the trail.

The proposed areas are appropriate for singletrack because:
1. there are many terrain features suitable to mountain biking;
2. the project area is on a hillside which would allow for proper drainage and
3. the area is not heavily utilized by the other user groups. The exception is the western portion of the pink triangle—the Arctic Orienteering Club occasionally uses this area for competition; they would prefer that no new trails be constructed in this area and that existing trails remain in their current state. Effort will be made to accommodate the orienteerers’ concerns.

Singletrack Advocates and Alaska Trails are the lead organizations of Hillside Singletrack Trails Project. Concept approval has been given by the Municipality of Anchorage, Parks & Recreation Division. Singletrack Advocates and Alaska Trails will secure all funding for the project, manage all phases, administer the grant, provide grant reporting, secure professional contractors, and supervise planning, design and construction. The project administrator is Jack Mosby of Alaska Trails. The project manager is Janice Tower of Singletrack Advocates. A trail builder with equipment will be hired. Troy Duffin of Alpine Trails, LLC will consult and train equipment operators.

Currently the project is undergoing extensive review by multiple public agencies to identify environmental impacts, if any, on wetlands, cultural and historical sites, fish and wildlife, natural resources, etc. An information session will be held at the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on Thursday, July 12th at 6:00 p.m. at the Spenard Recreation Center.

For more information please contact info@singletrackadvocates.org.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

National Trails Day Details

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY PROJECTS FOR SINGLETRACK ADVOCATES Saturday, June 2, 2007 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Pizza Party at BLM Campbell Creek Science Center immediately following

Meet at Hilltop Parking Lot Trailhead

Project A: Install signs on sign posts in the park--good for people with bad backs
Items to Bring: Gloves, water, snacks, shovels, battery operated screwdrivers, mt. bike, and Bob Trailer if available

Project B: Brown Bear Maintenance--good for people with good backs!
Items to Bring: Gloves, buckets, shovels, water, snacks

Please RSVP to Janice: jtower@alaska.com
The work day begins at 8:30 a.m. at respective trailheads and end with a Pizza Party / Thank You at the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center starting at 12:30 - 1 p.m.-ish. We hope you will plan to carve out and share your Saturday morning with the trail community.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hit the trails! (gently)

Today's e-mail from John McCleary at Anchorage Parks & Rec:

The trails are dry – almost!

The trails in Far North Bicentennial Park are drying faster than in past years which have resulted in the early opening trails in Far North Bicentennial Park and BLM Campbell Tract for this weekend. We caution riders that there are some isolated wet spots in low / shaded sections that we ask equestrians and mountain bike users to use care. There are two really bad spots on the east end of Mellen’s Way before the gas line and near S. Campbell Creek and on Black Bear just east of Moose Meadows Trail. Users should also use caution on Black Bear Trail between the junctions of Brown Bear and Moose Meadow where a large spruce tree has fallen across the trail approximately 2-3 ft above the trail. It is anticipated that the Kincaid Park trails will open early next week.

Have a safe trail day,

John

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Russian Lakes Trail Work

Join members of the Arctic Bicycle Club & Singletrack Advocates on Saturday, June 9 for a fun early season Mountain Bike Ride down Russian Lakes trail.

We will be riding approximately 30 miles, most of which will be down Russian Lakes trail.

This year we will again be performing trail clearing of the trail to make this trail clear for a great straight-through riding adventure.

Participation in the trail maintenance is not required; but you are encouraged to bring a small collapsible hand saw, hatchet, or tool you can 'safely' ride with and that you can use. We hope to have at least one chain saw in a B.O.B. trailer as well for the really large trees that are sure to be present.

Plans are to meet at Carrs Huffman at 8 a.m. for the carpool or at 10 a.m. at the Post Office intersection of Snug Harbor Road and Mile 48 of th Sterling Highway. We will then shuttle the bikes and riders to the trail head and begin from there.

Helmets are required, and this is considered an Advanced Mountain Bike ride. The trail maintenance occurring will add several additional hours over the standard traverse time for this trail, and this area also has very heavy bear activity. Riders should plan for these conditions accordingly.

Please check the ABC Touring Division's Hot Line the week of the ride 566-0177 Option 3, or e-mail Christopher Souser for any updates.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SAVE THE DATE!
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
SATURDAY, JUNE 2


Far North Bicentennial Park
(time and meeting location to be announced shortly)
Teams are needed to install signs onto all those sign posts you've been seeing in the park!
Cordless drills (and extra batteries) needed; we supply bits and hardware.

Maintenance work on Brown Bear,
a work in progress! We supply Pulaskis and McLeods.

Please RSVP to me—I need to know how many workers we have and how much pizza to order!
Janice Tower
346-1374
jtower@alaska.com

Monday, May 7, 2007

National Trails Day Coming Up

Welcome to the new Singletrack Advocates site. Please bookmark it and check back regularly this summer for updates on activities and trail-maintenance days.

National Trails Day is coming up June 2, and this is a great opportunity for all mountain bikers to pitch in and donate a few hours of time to improve the trails for everyone. This year, we'll be needing all the help we can get as we make improvements and put the finishing touches on Brown Bear trail.

And if you've noticed those big sign posts that started springing up on Hillside trails last fall, there are plenty more to put in the ground, and that'll be another major effort on National Trails Day. Once the posts are up, trail labels and directional signs will be on the way.

If you're willing to put a little sweat into the trails we enjoy all summer, please plan to come out on June 2.

Check back here for upcoming details on what to bring, where to show up, etc.