This weekend, a major trail project took place at Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park. Bishop’s Walk, a popular entrance and exit point to the park has been eroding for a number of years now. The route follows an old road bed (likely established by Joaquin Miller himself) before diverting off in what essentially was a straight line route directly to the highway below. For the project, the goal was to reroute this fall line section of trail and to replace it with a purposely designed single track route that would not only emulate the lines of nature by avoiding straight lines, but reduce speed of users through the use of choke points, corrals and turns while winding its way down to the highway.
In addition, momentum from the overly steep grade of the original road bed resulted in user based erosion, most likely the result of the trails popularity. Although there was an abundance of rock in the tread that had held up reasonably well, the plan was to incorporate design elements that would slow users down in certain areas and spread out the braking points while adding “flow” to the new trail, and enhancing the trail experience for all users. A series of gradual turns would be added to the wide former road bed in an effort to slow users down while making the section more enjoyable, and spread out the eventual braking bumps that were likely to reform. Debris would be placed on the unused sections so that the final product would resemble a narrower single track trail as opposed to the wider double track. A social trail near the road was also rerouted from the fall line in a more sustainable line.
The downside to doing trail work this time of year is the lack of moisture needed to properly compact the new trail. Care was taken to only cut away as much as we needed, since it would be difficult to put back. Follow up trail work days are planned by the BTCEB to ensure the trail beds in properly and to address any issues that arise. For more info on the volunteer groups involved in making this project happen, please see the previous post.
Several other volunteers have also posted on the trail day. Check out their stories to read about their experiences improving our local trails.
Gene Anderson, Our Oakland
Michael Meiji, photos