Sprucing Up Wild Oaks Trail (part 2)

Does the top of Wild Oaks Trail need to be rerouted? As Wild Oaks Park transitions into Wild Oaks Trail, there are two small sections that tend to concentrate water and get muddy. One way to deal with it is to reroute about 250 feet of trail. The new section would offer more interest and be better able to deal with drainage.

(This is part 2 of this series about repairing Wild Oaks Trail. Read part 1 for more background.)

Wet spot on trail at Wild Oaks Park.

Wet spot on trail at Wild Oaks Park (Feb ’14)

As I was writing up the first article about the proposed fix for this trail issue, some concerns kept cropping up in my mind. Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to finish the article late at night. Whatever the excuse, I accepted that an early morning site visit was in the cards. So 7am rolls around and I roll out the door in running attire.

Now at the park walking the trail and reassessing the original solution (click here to read). I needed some good photos, which forced me to walk all around trying different angles. The topography is so slight. Nothing looked good.

Then I was studying the recent (few days prior) newly beaten detour people started in order to avoid the now huge muddy mess. It was a fine detour but it was short and wouldn’t deal with the other (2nd) typically wet location only 30 ft away. And then it hit me. “We can reroute the whole section”, I said out loud. But where should it begin?

Stepping back further, I widened my analysis beyond the mud hole in front of me. If we picked off the trail further up and higher then swung wide towards the fence line we’d retain high ground for most of the distance. We’d still have to deal with crossing paths with water but the built causeways would be much shorter. Having shorter causeways translates into less raw materials, less work, and less costs. That’s a triple “win win win.”

Solution Proposal (#2)

We propose rerouteing approximately 250 feet of trail to more effectively deal with the water that traverses the area. The new trail section will have a narrow tread (approx. 18-24″ wide). The trail’s corridor is very wide and offers ample room for safely passing other users.

The new reroute begins near the high point of the current trail where it makes a strong turn and descends towards the muddy mess. Instead of making the turn, the new route will continue straight for a short distance and then veer right to wiggle its way towards the fence line. It eventually passes the wet trouble areas on their high sides and then merges again with the existing trail. See picture below where we illustrate how the area will approximately look with the new trail section. The precise final alignment will be determined on-site and flagged.

About those gravel causeways… the new trail segment won’t need as much raw materials because the drainage crossings have more topography at the new crossings and slightly steeper side slope at the second crossing below the street (Brittany Way). This translates into shorter causeways that will be easier and cheaper to build. The fact that we’ve added new trail construction to the mix is not anything to worry about. This is easy terrain and not very long. One person could probably knock out the trail cutting in less than 4 hours (excluding causeways).

We propose restoring the (to be) abandoned trail segment as shown in the illustrated picture below. Restoration is done by raking up the wood chips and roughing up the dirt surface. Reseeding the area would be helpful provided that a suitable seed is available. Temporary signs should be placed to indicate the area is closed for restoration.

Brittany Way is designed to shed its gutter run-off into the park. This normally creates a small nuisance on the trail in a normal rain year. This winter has been really dry, however there seems to also be a new water leak. The specific source is unknown as of this writing. The El Dorado Irrigation Distrist (EID) needs to be alerted.

(Part 1 of this series describes alternative solution #1)

Logistics:

At this time EDH trails is not certain where the exact property boundary is, and therefore who the decision maker(s) would be to authorize this trail improvement project is unclear. However, we think the approval is in the hands of either the home owners association or the El Dorado Hills Community Service District (CSD). Most, if not all, of the new trail is within the CSD owned property.

Once authorized and supplied, the project could likely be implemented in 1 day using primarily volunteer labor. Some professional management services (Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship or other local contractor) may be contracted to ensure that construction specifications are met and that maintenance costs will be minimized. Although we budget for professional oversight, we hope to also find a local contractor in the community to volunteer their supervision.  It’s also possible that CSD staff could provide sufficient supervision. We also assumed that tools and insurance will be provided by a partner organization or the CSD. Preparation of formal planning documents were not considered necessary for this scope of work.

Accessing the site is best from Brittany Way. The street dead ends right at the location where the repair is needed.

Materials List

  • 1 yd large (>10″) rocks to anchor edges
  • 1/2 to 1 yd medium (<5″) crushed rock (base material)
  • 1/2 to 1 yd surface material (e.g. 3/8″ crushed rock)
  • 10′ x 6″ ABS pipe (culvert)
  • 1 roll landscape fabric (6′ x 100′)
  • seeds
  • signs

Bonus Material

  • large anchor rocks, >20″

Equipment List

  • 3 McLeod
  • 3 Pulaski or 5 lb hoe
  • 1 spade shovel
  • 2 wheel barrow
  • 1 long pry bar (5′)
  • Tamper, gas-powered, rental

Cost Estimates

  • $350 – raw materials
  • $75    – food & drink
  • $75    – rental, tamper
  • $25   – seeds
  • $25   – signs (2)
  • none – volunteer labor (valued at $160/day/person)
  • $200 – professional services (discretionary)
  • $750 = TOTAL costs, estimated

Photos:

This first photo illustrates the concept for the new trail alignment, roughly. What’s not shown is the placement of the short gravel causeways. Notice that the abandoned trail segment is restored to look similar to its surroundings.

Trail reroute proposal illustrated

Trail reroute proposal illustrated. Left side shows the current condition. Right side shows the new alignment and the abandoned section restored.

Next we are looking at the opposite end of the rerouted section. Here we can see the muddy mess being caused by the water leak in the adjacent neighborhood. Even without a leak, this section is downstream of the street gutters. The reroute would merge with the original trail like seen here or perhaps a little further down several feet.

Wild Oaks Trail

Another view angle of the area prone to being wet. There are actually two spots that are normally wet on the trail.  This year is abnormal in that we have not had much rain at all and we also seem to have a water leak from an underground pipe or maybe landscape runoff. The result is that the typically wet part is now dry and there is an abnormally large muddy mess.

Wild Oaks Trail

Water is leaking out of something nearby the trail.

Water is leaking out of the ground at 3621 Brittany Way

Water is leaking out of the ground at 3621 Brittany Way. Nearby is the trail and its turning into a muddy mess. Several feet to the right of where this picture was taken is a clump a wetland cattails (plant).

Causeways are simply elevated paths. They have a foundation layer of gravel or rock topped with a surface material of smaller gravel, decomposed granite, or dirt. Water moves within the pores of the rocky fill under the trail tread surface.

Diagram of causeway

Causeways filled with broken rock have been successfully used throughout the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere to create an elevated, hardened tread across seasonally wet alpine meadows.

Support:

If you wish to provide feedback, labor, materials, funding, or just voice your support – you may do so in the comments section below or on our Facebook page or by emailing Mike (mikeOnTrails @ gmail)

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Comments
7 Responses to “Sprucing Up Wild Oaks Trail (part 2)”
  1. Mike Kenison says:

    Great write-up Mike O! Make the case for the reroute and gives us the obvious solution. Keep up the good work.

  2. edhtrails says:

    Talked to EID today — A field inspector, Matt, came out to investigate the water leak. When he first got the work order, his reaction was “oh I know this place”. Apparently he investigated the same reported problem at the same house last year. The conclusion then and his initial assessment today are the same; he thinks the leak is on the home owners side of the water line. That being said, he is asking another EID department to come out and try to trace the leak with equipment. If EID determines that the leak is EID’s responsibility then they will fix it… remember the water shortage. If however they determine its the home owner’s responsibility then EID can only give the home owner a notice.

    The problem seems to have worsen just in the past few months.

  3. Troll says:

    You guys cant handle a little bit of mud on your bikes? Please…. this little mud puddle is the least of our worries. Why not spend some time fixing trails that actually need it, or spending time to gain access to more trails, or even build new ones??

    • edhtrails says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Troll. The recommendations we made aren’t about keeping bikes clean but rather about fixing a problem and improving/restoring the quality of the trail’s entrance. This segment of trail is meant to be 18-24″ inches wide. The water problem there widened it into a muddy 7 foot mess because people (bikers & pedestrians) wanted to avoid the mud. So its ugly and a nuisance. I appreciate that some people won’t value this as a high priority. We think the local bikers & runners who use this trail regularly will like it.

      In your opinion, where exactly would you prefer trail repairs be made? Where would you like new trails added? Where would you like trail access opened? And here’s the kicker… what are you willing to do to help us do that? We need people involved.

      By the way, we have a trail project in the works… https://edhtrails.org/2014/02/03/village-connector-project-concept/

      …and if you were involved, I could share information about what else is going on behind the scenes.

      You’re welcome to join the team.

      • Barker says:

        Well said, EDH Trails! To the commenter named “Troll”: You want the same things as all of us, but that doesn’t mean a fairly simple trail repair should be overlooked. Keep in mind that everyone associated with EDH Trails is a VOLUNTEER. We could use more volunteers to get things happening that we all want. I’d love to channel your interest and energy into taking action vs. calling out what’s wrong 🙂 It’s all good… just be part of the solution!

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