VIC Yarra Trails - Candlebark Park (Hans)

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Hi Guys,

A few here will already be aware of recent initiatives by Parks Vic to embrace community involvement in managing and maintain Parks assets. Over the years a good deal of unauthorised and illegal trail had been created along the yarra corridor with MTB being the primary activity. Historically, depending upon the rangers of the day, riders were either tolerated or chased off illegal trail - but never embraced.

In recent times, through the actions of good MTB enthusiasts and organisations, the profile of MTB is now seen as a valid activity on Parks land. Once valid, it opened the door for guerrilla trail to become authorised and for trail classification to go from illegal trail to authorised trail and to then be classed as an asset.

For a bunch of crusty trail fairies along this corridor, an opportunity to come out (so to speak) presented itself early in the year with the P4P 6 Hour Enduro at Candlebark Park (includes Hans Loop). Whilst there was a good deal of resistance from some in the MTB community, others welcomed the event. Parks who were caught in the middle with pressure from both opposing MTB camps went looking for expert advice in order to make informed decisions. When we cast our mind back to early in the year, the trails at Candlebark were markedly tired and with so much ad-hoc maintenance over the years and in particular the past year or two, the trails were reduced to a hotchpotch of drainage trenches, tree trunks and rocks.

To cut a long story short, a small group of individuals worked with Parks in order to investigate and assess the trails, to then take responsibility for the trail after the event and into the future. Moreover, to seize the opportunity of favourable Parks focus on the use and enjoyment of the parks and to work with Parks Vic to manage these exciting and challenging trails for a productive, sustainable and trusting relationship with the relevant land owners.



Since then, through the work of some fantastic volunteers and Parks staff and work sessions every three weeks or so, the trails are MTB worthy, honour and respect the character of the trail and natural features for a compelling and rewarding riding experience on trail that looks like it belongs and comfortable in its surroundings.


Parks management and staff have also been pitching in regularly. Who would have thought that we'd ever see the day when Parks rangers join in with enthusiast volunteers to dig trail that had been kicking around illegal for years and years.

Regular reports on volunteer activity as well so we're all on the same page with copies of recent sessions here:

http://www.yarratrails.com.au/trailwork/2015-09-12/work-day.html
http://www.yarratrails.com.au/trailwork/2015-10-03/work-day.html


And every now and then ride to inspect and analyse trail. http://www.yarratrails.com.au/trailwork/2015-10-25/work-day.html

Whilst reporting of trail management activity has been going on for a several months on other cycling forums and groups, the purpose of this thread is to bring reporting to the RB forum and to provide opportunity for members here to participate in authorised trail maintenance and management.
 

yuley95

Likes Bikes and Dirt
That's a fantastic result. Great work.

I live not too far away but have never made it out there. Will have to join in the fun.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
That's a fantastic result. Great work.

I live not too far away but have never made it out there. Will have to join in the fun.
Yes, it has been a pleasing result - A fantastic group of volunteers. From a selfish position though, it's just fantastic to be able to get out so close to the factory to ride terrific trail and also have the opportunity to give a little love back to the trail - all with the blessing of the relevant land owners.

Yuley, if you have this Saturday morning free, then come along and join in. It's all fairly laid back and fun - when we don't have mountains of soil to move....



Here's a copy of the email sent to the volunteer list:

Hi Guys,

We’re on for this Saturday 9:30am at the usual place.

Fitzsimons Lane bridge car park – Eastern side (upstream) of the road opposite Westerfolds Park. We’ll gather there, sign in, a short safety briefing as we hand out Parks high visibility vests and then off we go. You’ll see me in the little white company sports car.

Duration is several hours but come and go as you please.

Bring your favourite trail tool, drinking water, sturdy shoes, sun protection and a dirty big grin. The previous few trail work days had been high on the sweat stakes with tough digging but this time we’re planning on easier physical work and an opportunity to have a few laughs.

The proposed scope of works are to finish some rock armouring and some touch up work as needed in the areas highlighted here:
www.yarratrails.com.au/trailwork/2015-10-03/scope.jpg

Whilst the proposed works will aid with the sustainability of the trail, it is still our responsibility to be true to MTB activities and add interest to the trail. We will hopefully have several of the management team on hand to guide us in achieving that elusive quality that differentiates good trail from boring trail.

Finally, if you have a desire to be more involved in the management of trail then please make yourself known to Bruce or me. We prefer a policy of keeping trail management activities fresh, vibrant and enthusiastic.

Hope to see you there and help put a bit of love back into our trails – and have a bit of fun as well.

Cheers
George

 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
One of the chief rangers forwarded us a link to an article that was published recently that had a few kind words about the efforts over the past months in bridging the gap between MTBers and land managers along the Yarra corridor.

https://rideonmagazine.com.au/trails-to-wellbeing/

If we keep in mind that many Parks rangers and staff at the highest levels are also mountain biking enthusiasts, they understand better than most of the rest of us here the importance high quality MTB trail. Not only in terms of sustainability, but more so what differentiates good trail from bad - or worse, boring trail. We are lucky that because they are riders, Parks staff understand the importance of maintaining the character of illegal trail in going forward to convert trail to legal status. We were discussing today another post on this forum which was interesting and certainly in this area, that's exactly the opposite of what anyone wants. In other words, if trail isn't compelling, fun and challenging, then what use is it? If all it does is frustrate the rider then it's not worthy.

So, that's the way of the future. Not a bad thing at all.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Well done all! I rode out there for first time in ages. I'm very grateful
Good on you Daniel, there's a lot of good MTB trail up there! You should join in on the trail work side of things as well and see the trail from a whole new perspective - and have a few laughs as well.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
After each trail work session we have a report written that is emailed to the volunteer email list to keep everyone informed and also submitted to Parks for their records.

Over the past months, we've seen that these regular reports end up being circulated to other interest groups and government departments so it's as much a team building and informative tool as it is about documenting works carried out. I'm mindful of posting long winded reports here on this thread but since this is a new thread let's get one down and continue with links into the future.




Yarra Tracks and Trails

Candlebark Adventure Tracks
[SIZE=+1]Candlebark Trail Work - 21st November 2015[/SIZE]


What a terrific morning's work! The scope of the works today was to complete some rock armouring work and touch up several points that had been worked upon recently. We also took advantage of the favourable track surface conditions to improve summer durability of the trail where the combination of sudden sharp rain showers on hard pack trail makes for high velocity water flow.
More importantly, the group's target to add interest to every piece of trail work was a terrific learning opportunity for all attending. With a keen group today, this session was as much about volunteers learning subtle trail design and management techniques as it was about physical trail work.
And of course, interaction with other trail users continues to be fun, positive and oh so entertaining. There are some very fit and driven individuals out there who use this trail regularly to hone MTB skills, cross-country running and plain old having fun! A bunch of laughs and sobering how many laps of the trails people do.
At the end of the session everyone went home happy that they'd not just contributed, but actually made a solid improvement to the trail experience and eager to get out and enjoy it! Again, a terrific morning's work!




George, Joyce, Bruce, Steve, Dale, Howard & Jens (out of shot) braved the chilly morning air (and short downpour) while we went through the obligatory safety briefing, slip on the Parks Volunteer high-vis vests and off we all went.



First up was to complete the rock armouring part way up the upper switchbacks. Jens, Steve and Bruce attack the rock whilst Howard prepares for some shovel work just up the trail. This trail feature is a signature piece and part of the character of this trail. Whilst seemingly fragile it has stood the test of time over many years. At this point however, the most effective strategy involved managing trail over some 30m before and after to control the environmental and bike tyre pressure impact upon this spot. With a minor adjustment to the trail a good deal uphill, it encourages the faster rider to be positioned some 100mm further to the outside of the turn and is set for a terrific run down.



Jens and Bruce at it. A more challenging construction because of the high bike tyre pressure at that point but also with gaining popularity of trail running out there, stability against rolling up and out was a priority.



Every few metres, we take advantage of slight slope and perform minor grade reversal of the trail to aid in shedding water over a large area. Rather than dead smooth surface, Howard uses the opportunity to build a small rise to encourage the uphill rider to lighten the front with a couple of harder stabs of the pedals and the downhill rider, a bit of a lift.



Joyce doing the same just a few metres further up the hill. The whole idea of this exercise is to limit the amount of water that this section of trail has to deal with. By managing trail water speed and volume, we keep the trail true to form, sustainable and fun. Managing the cause rather than continually repairing symptoms is best.



Joyce and Howard building a slight rise strategically placed in the trail just prior to trail surface work that requires light tyre pressure for a short period of time until it settles nicely into tough and durable trail. By managing bike pressure we avoid the hassle of forcing riders to ride soft and vulnerable surface at points where riders require maximum traction.



Further down the upper switchback trail for more grade reversal to better control the volume of water this length of trail carries is yet another opportunity to add interest for the rider, runner and indeed all outdoor enthusiasts. Steve and Jens at it with Bruce touching up a small section above.



Howard, keen as ever making minor adjustments to widen trail runoff and reduce water velocity. The secret here going into summer is to be gentle with the trail and to avoid breaking up the already hard oxidised trail surface.




Steve and Bruce preparing a deep base for a small reef of rock across the trail to boost off when running down hill and again lighten the front on the way up. A different approach to improving drainage and the volume of water that section of trail carries. Mixing up trail features continues to add interest and results in an improved riding experience for all - from children to the novice rider all the way through to the fastest racers in the country.




Steve, Bruce, Joyce and Jens with a barrow full of rock, ready to build that little rock reef. Howard in the background finishing off the next spill point for rain water.




Jens, Bruce and Joyce at it while Steve looks on. Sometimes it feels like a game of Tetris spinning rocks around until they knit tight inside the trench.




Steve and Joyce were keen to continue up under the power lines to begin moulding that dead-straight section of trail into something more fun and sustainable. These two were also keen to put their newly honed rock work skills to good use with another diagonal reef of rock to boost from and manage water flow. This is normally a very slippery section of trail in winter and this is a good time of the year to make these adjustments. A small tree branch or two further down the trail encourage the rider to sweep down this section of trail over a series of slight bends rather than shoot straight down. Moreover, strategically placed branch or two visible to the rider behind the bush in the background gives the rider a visual clue that there is something going on just out of immediate sight and prepares the rider to be prepared for something other than dead smooth trail. Often the most successful and unobtrusive way to control bike pressure, velocity and position on the trail is to give the rider a peripheral visual cue of what lies ahead - and without actually realizing it, the rider becomes prepared for what lies ahead.
 
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gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Hi Guys,

With the recent storms in the area, there may be trees down or other trail issues. If you're out there and come across something then please let us know so that it can be reported to Parks for action. Take a photograph or two as well and email admin@yarratrails.com.au.

Thanks heaps.

It's great that with an army of trail volunteers already, there's someone over the trail every day.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Now that the snakes and wasps are asleep, we are getting to work preparing the trails for winter and to add more MTB fun and challenge to some of the signature parts of the trail.

With the steady rain currently, the trail surface should be perfect to improve the Rocky Chute section. We maintain this as a rocky, rough and loose section that delivers challenge and reward to all levels of rider. This has traditionally been one of the highlights of the area for many years.

Date: Sunday 29th May
Time: 10:00 am
Where: Usual spot - Candlebark Car Park at the Fitzsimons lane bridge (Eastern side).
Who: Us! And partners & friends.
Duration: Several hours but come and go as you please.

Bring your favourite trail tool, drinking water, sturdy shoes, sun protection and a dirty big grin. There will be a fair bit of digging this time so we'll be taking turns at more strenuous activities.

A goal for this year is to train more of us to work together with Parks to identify trail development opportunities and to assist in delivering the features that make for compelling trail for MTB enthusiasts of all levels.

This is one work session that will be very valuable because it recognises signature trail features and good training in the technical efforts that are required to maintain and enhance these sections of trail.

Plenty of this sort of stuff:



If you're interested in participating at any level then please feel free to contact me directly.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
This is one work session that will be very valuable because it recognises signature trail features and good training in the technical efforts that are required to maintain and enhance these sections of trail.
Big effort on Sunday to not only add durability to this terrific technical section, but also add more challenge and fun - and to honour the character of that section. There will be a fair bit of touch up work over the following weeks because much of the fill is loose. Where's the rain when you need it!

Hopefully help put a stop to the occasional unauthorised activities in the area as well.

Photos and report soon after we've finished documenting the works for Parks records.

Big effort guys - well done.
 

cragv

Squid
Just found this thread and hadn't heard of the group before. Have shot an email to admin@yarratrails and will keep an eye out for your next maintenance day. Would be great to meet some locals and to get involved. Cheers :)
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Just found this thread and hadn't heard of the group before. Have shot an email to admin@yarratrails and will keep an eye out for your next maintenance day. Would be great to meet some locals and to get involved. Cheers :)
Hello Craig. Got it and will respond later today. We'll add you to the email list so that you don't miss out on upcoming events.

Thank you also for stepping up to help. We'll have a bit of a nostalgic event soon with the founders of this trail network. We've traditionally all done our stuff in the dark shadows but now all squeaky clean with the relevant authorities - and with their blessing. It will also be a good opportunity to explore MTB trail design through the ages. Well, 40 years at least. Should be good fun and a few laughs.
 

cragv

Squid
Hello Craig. Got it and will respond later today. We'll add you to the email list so that you don't miss out on upcoming events.

Thank you also for stepping up to help. We'll have a bit of a nostalgic event soon with the founders of this trail network. We've traditionally all done our stuff in the dark shadows but now all squeaky clean with the relevant authorities - and with their blessing. It will also be a good opportunity to explore MTB trail design through the ages. Well, 40 years at least. Should be good fun and a few laughs.
Sounds great, thanks. I found the volunteer rego page so no need for a personal email reply unless there's any more to add. I'll sign up there now. Cheers!
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Sounds great, thanks. I found the volunteer rego page so no need for a personal email reply unless there's any more to add. I'll sign up there now. Cheers!
You know, one of the great things about this sport is that you have the opportunity to be surrounded by fellow MTB enthusiasts like Craig who just ooze enthusiasm and are busting to work as a team to manage our trails. It's infectious.
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Now that was a productive day for a bunch of workers! Rocky Chute can now live on through winter and continue to thrill every rider regardless of their level of experience.

We maintain this as a rocky, rough and loose section that delivers challenge and reward and has traditionally been one of the highlights of the area for many years.

Today's session was valuable because it was used to show how to recognize signature trail features and good training in the technical efforts that are required to maintain and enhance these sections of trail.

Joyce, Dougal, Simon, Michael, Bruce and George did a terrific job to not only move so much dirt and rock, but more importantly to make it look like that trail had always been there. Below is a small selection of photographs from the day.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and best wishes to Joyce who has been such an active and enthusiastic member of the trail team, but leaving us for a new life in Canberra as she embarks upon her Ph.D. Joyce, thank you very much and we'll all miss you.





Dougal building an erosion control contour with a mix of clay and rock. This settles hard but develops a character of its own as rock is exposed over the years ahead.



Dougal and Simon at it compacting the mix. Working in layers aids in stability of the trail and prevents the surface from breaking apart with high tyre pressure.



Key stones were strategically placed to stabilize each contour as a foundation to then build upon. Dougal and Simon at it.



Simon - finishing touches to one of several contours.



Bruce and Joyce building a rock reef into the trail to stabilize and add interest and challenge to the trail. Michael in the background. The erosion rut to the left will be used to create a more "interesting" option with the addition of rock and clay to develop a natural looking river of rock much like one finds in some of the more spectacular trails deep in Victoria's high country.



Bruce and Joyce working selection of strategically placed rocks as foundation in the trail to then build upon. All the rider then sees is a natural reef of rock diagonally across the trail - just like natural trail.



Michael working up a sweat profiling another contour to make it look so natural. Compelling trail looks like it has always been there with just the right touch of natural erosion.



Simon and Dougal getting rock ready for the next stage of development. That large one will be used on another length of trail further down the hill.



Michael adding his own bit of signature foot work to the trail.



The long march back to the carpark after a solid mornings work.



 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Hi Guys. Here is an email sent to the Yarra Trails volunteer group earlier but may be of interest to the rest of us who are involved with authorised trail management.

It’s easy to take for granted what a terrific asset we have in the trails in the area and that they are important to more than cyclists.

Regular riders may have noticed a young blond haired athlete running on our trails for long periods of time – often bare chested and not an ounce of fat on him. That’ll be Ben Ashkettle who is training to qualify for a spot on the Olympic marathon team – albeit running for NZ. Ben gives back to the trails by volunteering his time and muscle on trail work sessions. That’s Ben with the shovel on the right of this photograph.



Ben is a local resident and whilst his speciality has been cross country running, he’s now giving marathons a red hot go in order to qualify for Rio this year.

Candlebark and Westerfolds trails have been Ben’s inspiration and motivation to run since he was a young boy at Templestowe Park Primary and his years of training on these trails have given him a sure footed style that keeps him light on his feet and so very agile. To watch him run on the trail is a feast of efficiency.

Ben’s a hot weather runner so his last chance to qualify is to deliver a big result in the Gold Coast Marathon on Sunday the 3rd. Zachary from our Yarra Trails group will be heading up for the race to man a couple of drink stations to support Ben. The race will be televised live on Channel 7 so for a couple of hours, a bunch of us here will be glued to the television yelling and hollering for a couple of hours.

OMG, it will be just fantastic to see Ben succeed!

If you see Ben out there, give him a yell of support. He’s a quiet but driven young man who loves and values our trails.

Cheers
George

If you’re interested in reading more about Ben, here is a recent article on the NZ Athletics web site http://www.athletics.org.nz/News/rejuvenated-ashkettle-setting-fast-times
 

gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
A couple of disappointing events recently that have a negative impact upon the relationship between MTB enthusiasts who care about trails and the relevant land managers (Parks in this case).

Disappointing also for the 60 or so volunteers who manage this wonderful trail asset as well.

Recently had a berm built into one of the plantation sections of trail that was entirely inappropriate for that bend and the added speed into the following bend. Being unauthorised trail building, Parks management took swift action to have it removed.

Below is a photograph of the start of rectification works.



On the upside, the young lads who built the berm made contact with www.yarratrails.com.au and we extended an invitation to join in and to help manage the trail. In return, these young enthusiasts get to be involved with trail building and will have a terrific opportunity to learn to design, build and care for proper mountain biking trail.

The other issue is a bigger problem. We occasionally have a serial pest who digs drainage ditches by the trail. They sometimes appear during business hours so it's unlikely to be someone with a 9-5 job. Unfortunately, the ditches are an eyesore and the wrong work on that trail. It's also frustrating for Parks management and rangers who have made every effort to encourage people to participate with properly managed trail maintenance.



The ironic thing is that just a few meters away hanging on a tree by the trail was a sign with contact details inviting people to report or participate in trail maintenance!! Grrrrr.....

At least the kids building berms now get it that there is a productive way to further MTB interests in the area and to properly care for trail. Hopefully the pesky digging will stop as well so that the trail is cared for properly. Fingers crossed.

EDIT: Please keep an eye out if you see anyone who *is not* wearing a Parks high visibility vest working on the trails - let us know. If you feel comfortable to approach them, please ask them to stop and make contact with us so that we can solve this problem.
 
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Matt C

Likes Dirt
Jesus Christ, these trails were ok for years without all this bullshit. Now one person has the say in what can and cant be done. If you see a puddle, feel free to drain it. Also, calling Hans an all-weather natural terrain challenging MTB trail, is fucking irresponsible and encouraging people to ride it in the times it should be left alone, you know, like most other trails that are well maintained but still need to closed occasionally, is not going to help the trails at all and misinforms those that don't know any better.
 
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gcouyant

Farkin Advertiser
Jesus Christ........
Matt, there's a team of some 60 local volunteers including the very people who created these trails over the past three decades. We all work with Parks to deliver Parks (and our) vision of compelling and exciting trail for all to enjoy all year round. Moreover, to put a stop to ad-hoc and inappropriate actions of a few. You don't go digging trenches in the trail at the You Yangs or Lysterfield do you? - And shouldn't here.

Look around you to see how much effort Parks has put into working with volunteer enthusiast groups to get guerrilla trail legal and properly managed. All around the state, MTB initiatives are being put into place just like Candlebark to deliver properly managed trail in a consultative and cooperative fashion.

Why don't you get involved with the management of Candlebark trails and learn about solving the technical and social challenges of delivering compelling and exciting mountain bike trail that is sustainable all year round. It's a heck of a lot more productive for all MTB riders who use enjoy this trail rather than battling the demons in the mind.

Have a good read of this article Matt and please do consider carefully. https://rideonmagazine.com.au/trails-to-wellbeing/

We're all Mountain Bikers - including Parks management so get in on the action and make a positive difference to trail and MTBing. You are more than welcome to contact the management team directly on admin@yarratrails.com.au. I promise that you will receive a welcoming reception.

Hope that helps.
 
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