Thanks to Greg Cook and a passerby/MTB newby - Arthur send me your contact info - a good start was made on the newly approved northern loop at RHP. We rough cut the first 1/4 mile or so after re-orienting part of the proposed trail in the first corner to take better advantage of the terrain. The next 1/4 mile also needs some pruning and digging out of thorn bushes. But, the remainder of this first section up to the Merritt walk-in entrance is all mowing so it will be quite fast to clear the track.
I would love to see a bigger crew out at the next session. I'd like to have a team do a trail walk-through to clean up winter debris and then finish up this first section to Wiards. If that gets done quickly, then we can start clearing the N-S and E-W tree line sections on the return to the kettle pond. The return loop on the east side of RHP is still under discussion, but may be sorted out by the next work day. Regardless of the exact location of the trail tread on the N and E edges of RHP, virtually all of that work will be mowing.
However, I'll need some help to make this happen...hopefully next weekend. Can anyone with a trailer hitch commit to helping pick up a brush hog for the mowing next Saturday? Having a trailer too would help, but we can always rent a trailer. If I get that commitment by Monday or Tuesday, I'll call an official trail day for RHP next Saturday.
This new loop runs across old farm fields. In some places, there are significant furrows which will obviously need to be fixed. Right now the top soil if very wet. As such, I'm thinking that the smaller bumps will get smoothed out quite quickly by just riding. It's possible to run a rototiller over the trail track and then tamp it down, but that is a lot of work to do with a walk-behind tiller (there's not enough room to drive the 36" pull-behind tiller on the RHP tractor). Also, I fear that the trail tread will turn into a channel after tilling. I think natural compression of the soil and gradually wearing away the grass will yield a better track in the end. So, I don't think we will till unless needed. Let's be patient and see what happens.
The permafrost is not quite gone yet at RHP. So, please stay off the trail for now. There are still some snow/ice covered areas in the trees. With highs in the 50's predicted all week, I think the snow will be gone this week. If the frost layer melts out as well, then RHP may be open for riding within 2 weeks.
RHP Trail Coordinator