We've gotten lots of questions from hikers, cyclists and equestrians about if and when it will be OK to use the new Oates Peak and Bebe Trails. Here is the scoop.
1. 4.5 miles of trail have been completed. Basically the upper 2/3s of the system.
2. 2.5 miles remain to be built: one section of Oates Peak Trail (from Reservoir Flats up for about 1.4 miles); and, the bottom mile of the hikers only Valencia Peak Trail (from the pavement/parking to the intersection with Badger Trail where Valencia gets really steep).
3. Zachi will be back in Feb/March 2013 to complete the last 2.5 miles.
4. The trail needs to weather/harden this winter and the 2013/14 winter.
5. All the reroutes will be open in the spring of 2014 (15 months from now).
6. The agreement with Parks and the other user groups represented on the Parks Trails Committee is that when the entire trail project is completed and signs installed, Oates, Bebe and Reservoir Flats Trails will be opened to cyclists. That means Feb/March 2014.
7. All the other trails south of Islay Creek remain illegal for cyclists (e.g. Coon Creek, Rattlesnake, Badger, Valencia).
8. Hikers are allowed on the newly constructed trails NOW. We are having a problem with vegetation regrowing back up in the new trail tread when it sits for a season. We are hoping that foot traffic will elliminate some of that growth. Also hikers won't walk on the two sensitive parts of the tread which we need to protect - the outside edge and the banked turns.
9. Equestrians are NOT allowed on the new trails until they open in spring 2014. Horses generally walk on the outside edge of a trail. If horses are taken on the newly constructed trails they will collapse the outer 1/3rd. The picture below illustrates our reasoning. If you look carefully you will see that this is a 2/3rds bench cut trail, meaning that only 2/3s of it is on mineral soil and the outside 1/3rd is fill. Zachi's tracked machines can't compress the outer-most edge so it remains VERY soft. That outer edge will harden with the rains - provided horses don't walk on it.
10. Cyclists (who aren't suppose to be there anyway!) MUST stay off the new trails until they open in spring 2014. First of all, poaching is illegal, it jeopardizes our access and it legitimately pisses off Parks and other trail users. Please be patient! Second, bikes will destroy the banked turns that we've built to protect switchbacks and other turns. If you check out the second picture you will see that the bottom 2/3rds of the 3 foot banked turn is fill taken from the top 1/3rd. I can assure you that the fill dirt is VERY soft. We've tamped down the banked turns but unfortunately it is the usual crappy MdO soil and when I made the mistake of walking over one the other day it literally collapsed. Riding these banked turns before they harden will destroy them and make the trail much less fun to ride when it is open to cyclist.
|2/3 bench cut trail|
|Banked turns at upper right|