The Sandy Ridge Trail system is the go-to riding destination for Portland, Oregon riders. It is also a major destination for road tripping mountain bikers from all over that travel to sample some of the pacific northwest flow. Saying it’s a popular spot is an understatement, and while the trail is built to last, the wear and tear from all the visiting riders means it needs more love than a typical trail.
In previous years the tread has been hardened with gravel and aggregate, which helps keep it capable of handling riders almost the whole year round. This weekend, the Portland based MTB advocacy group Northwest Trail Alliance hosted a trail maintenance day. With upwards of 70 riders in attendance, they worked in drizzling rain to help prepare the trail for winter.
Spliting up into teams, NWTA Trail Stewart Tom Slovak gathered crew leaders Lee Lemmon, Brent Sullivan, Shane Gould, Steve Swearingen, Dennis Veatch, Wes Nile and myself (Jason Van Horn) to dole out assignments.
Shuttling up and dispersing along various points on the access road, we led groups of riders that included over 26 new trail builders onto the trails to tackle various projects. Jason Wells, Shane Wilson and Matt Meintraub of IMBA and IMBA Trail Solutions set several crews in action on projects on Hide and Seek that included hardening trail surfaces and addressing a corner that didn’t fit in with the flow of the rest of the trail.
Drainages were cleared to allow water to run off the trail surface and a team of vigorous riders went to work removing all a season’s worth of organic matter off the trail.
Each work crew had a high powered leaf blower as the first wave; leaves were blown off, then followed by rogue hoes and rakes, pulling off a layer of decomposed pine needles and leaves. Removing the decomposing layer of organic matter exposed the packed and hardened tread, which should drain quickly after a rain.
Other crews focused on rebuilding berms as well as rock armoring and hardening the trail surface.
After a day of trail work, volunteers enjoyed refreshments provided by Hopworks.
While enjoying the refreshments, swag provided by the Fat Tire Farm was raffled off and dispersed among the volunteers. We took home a fresh pair of $80 Oakley goggles – thanks FTF!
It was great to see the riding community come out in force; we saw representatives from many of the best mountain bike shops in Portland including CyclePath, Evo, Fat Tire Farm/ 21st Ave Bicycles, Hi-Five Bikes and Western Bikeworks.
Trail work in the Portland area continues next Saturday, this time at Stub Stewart State Park. Visit NW-Trail.org for the details.
View more photos from the Trail Day here.