filed under: surfacing
When flood PLAIN turns into flood WAY, trails are in trouble.
The recent floods in Colorado remind us that our stream-side corridors are vulnerable. Yet in our urban and suburban areas, trails along rivers are the most popular pathways. How do we balance the cost and value of our greenways when they’re covered in brown mud?
It’s clear that manufactured steel bridges can take a direct hit and still survive intact. They may have to be retrieved from some distance downstream, however. How about trail surfaces? Crushed rock is extremely erodible, and asphalt is also susceptible to running water damage.
Concrete can withstand being submerged, as we have seen from decades of annual spring flooding along Denver’s greenways. However, severe undercutting of stream banks can totally wipe out a concrete trail, and then you have big slabs of heavy debris to dispose of.
It’s pretty clear that homes don’t belong in flood plains, but what about trails? Birds, fish, and muskrats– as well as bikers, skaters, and hikers– all love our greenway corridors. Many plants, like willows and cottonwoods, sprout up eagerly after a flood. And as Boulder County Parks and Open Space says, “We WILL be back!”
— Stuart Macdonald
American Trails Magazine and website editor
Published September 2013
Building a Permeable, Low Maintenance Recreational Trail Along a Shoreline
In 2009, the city of The Colony planned to build a recreational trail (10 foot-wide, 3.5 mile pathway) that would run along the lake’s shoreline, contouring to its natural shape and providing residents with a picturesque route for outdoor activities such as walking, jogging, and cycling. The city selected the GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System due to its flexibility to conform to curves, surface permeability, and low maintenance design.
Trail Etiquette When Mud is Present
Mud season, Mother Nature’s torment to those who seek solace in nature.
Improving the Sustainability of the Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) is a unique internationally recognized protected natural area encompassing more than 250,000 acres and a 2,190-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia.
Research for the Development of Best Management Practices to Minimize Horse Trail Impacts on the Hoosier National Forest
This research investigates horse trail impacts to gain an improved understanding of the relationship between various levels of horse use, horse trail management alternatives, and subsequent horse trail degradation.