Need help with trail upkeep (Burdocks)
Trailbuilding and Advocacy
September 19, 2019, 03:14 PM
There is a beginner trail system near the Starkweather Bike Path that is located between Bridges Golf course and the MATC baseball field back in the woods.
It consists of four interconnecting trails of different and mostly easy skill levels.
The easiest one could use the most attention with a downed tree that now blocks the path and another one that protrudes into the path that could cause serious injury.
Plus there are the weeds with the burs that are starting to overtake.
So I could use someone who has a chainsaw and the skills to go with it as well as a weed trimmer.
I figure that including myself this project could be done with just 2-4 of us and under three hours.
Let me know if anyone could be available the weekend of Sept 21-22, a day/time you can be there and what tools you can bring for the job.
If no one is willing or able to do it are there power tools I could borrow for it?
I hope this was OK for me to ask about this since it is a non-CORP trail.
I don't know who else to ask...
Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 03:23 PM by RedStrong
September 19, 2019, 10:09 PM
I moved this thread; no big deal, but it's a better fit here.
Those trails are what's known as the Burdocks. They are 'hobo trails,' not authorized or officially maintained by anyone, but used and maintained enough to be usable. This is the biggest network of them in town, but they are all over if you know where to look. This time of year is hard; the weeds are at their tallest, starting to fall, and the burrs are, as you noticed, out in force. They rely on folks like yourself getting out there and getting it done. Looking for help here is worthwhile. The crew at Revolution Cycles has some folks who put in some time there; it might worth it to stop in and talk to them if you want to organize something.
We can't loan out power tools for this kind of work. In general, power tools are maybe not a great idea on this kind of trail. Landowners who are willing to look the other way about bikers and hikers often aren't as mellow about strangers using chainsaws. Axes, handsaws, weed whips, hedge trimmers, and scythes are slower, but they are cheap, quiet, and have no exhaust.
There is a movement beginning to try to bring these trails above board. Perhaps this thread can get a few people together who are willing to make that happen. It will take some work, and maybe not be as immediately satisfying as clearing the trail, but in the long run will be a great service to our community.
September 27, 2019, 02:47 PM
Thank you for the reply with the info and advice. That really helps.
And no problem with moving the post.
I plan to take your advice to see if I can get some help from Revol. Cycles.
I also will be asking a neighbor and other folks I know of if they have the power tools for doing this.
In the meantime, I will keep it as an open date instead of setting one.
If anyone wants to help with this trail, then drop a line here and we will make arrangements to meet.
I will also give an update when it happens.
I doubt the Burdock "Hobo trail" is on private land.
An earlier time when I was on it, I met another rider who said that he was a designer of them and mentioned something about the city parks in getting the permission to create them.
I dunno who really owns it.
The government? (It borders the Natl' Guard armory.)
Mad City Parks?
If you or anyone else has any more insight into that let me know though I dunno how relevant it is.
Timothy aka RedStrong
September 28, 2019, 08:15 AM
It is Dane County land, part of the airport property. Bridges Golf Course is also on airport land, so there is precedent for it being used for recreation. I'm not sure who is the person who would make decisions regarding its use. It probably wouldn't be too hard to figure that out, but it would then likely require a fair bit of time to push any actual decision through the bureaucratic machine. Not trying to talk anyone out of trying, but it's not going to be as easy as finding the right person to ask and asking them.
As far as power equipment, the caution against making the landowner nervous stands whether it is private or public land. The county has lawyers and others who lay awake at night thinking of who might sue them and how to prevent that. They've been mellow about the trails being there, and we don't want to alarm anyone. Just use good judgement; you don't want to be the guy who gets the trails shut down.
Thanks for being willing to help; whatever you end up being able to do is appreciated. Feel free to PM me if you want to get into this deeper.
November 10, 2019, 12:39 PM
I was out on this trail trimming back branches and picking up garbage today. It was brought to my attention that someone is digging deep holes right next to the trail. The local walkers are not happy about this as it is a hazard. Please do not make leg-breaking traps next to the trail. Even if cyclists don't see it as dangerous other users like walkers and trail runners do.
Also, do not leave your shovel next to the trail. I grabbed the shovel because it was going to be considered "littering" by someone else and tossed. If you want it back reply here or PM me and I will get it back to you.
The use of these trails is not guaranteed and it might only take one complaint or injury for mountain biking on these trails to get shut down.
November 10, 2019, 12:44 PM
If anyone would like to get together with me sometime to clean up this trail please let me know. I'd mostly like to trim back all the branches and clean up the garbage but I'd be up for other ideas.
November 26, 2019, 09:05 AM
I never figured out who owns the shovel. I wasn't sure what to do so I put it back where I found it. Hopefully the owner picks it up before someone else does.
I hauled a bag of garbage and two old car tires out of the woods last night. I've also been trimming back the brush. I think the trimming is mostly done but I'd like to get all the garbage hauled out of the woods if anyone wants to help. This place is fun but has the potential to be better.
Is there a better place to communicate about the trails? This forum seems empty.
November 26, 2019, 11:24 AM
I don't know about a better place to communicate, but I do appreciate the updates. And I REALLY appreciate the work there, I like to hit those trails on my to/from work. I like to say I've been clearing out the burdocks one sleeve-full at a time, but I haven't actually made the time to do any proper cleanup/maintenance in a long time.
December 01, 2019, 10:17 AM
I went out today and got another trash bag of garbage. Exciting finds included a shovel head, a sawzall blade, a pair of very old men's boxers, broken glass, and about 20 aluminum cans of varying ages. The clean up has been satisfying because everything I'm pulling out is on or right next to the trail. When the garbage is gone the trail looks a lot nicer. It was also nice to talk to a guy who was out riding and stopped to talk for a few minutes. If anyone wants to meet up to work on this or any other trail projects let me know.
December 04, 2019, 09:36 PM
Thanks for stepping up out there, folks. Unfortunately, I do not know of a better place to communicate. If you want to do something more organized, like schedule a meet-up to do work and/or talk about getting more organized, we could create an event and share through our Facebook page, which will reach more people. If you can make the Annual Meeting on Friday (
), that's a good place to meet people who might help out one way or another.
December 05, 2019, 08:24 PM
Thanks, augs. I will consider the offer to make an event and will try to attend the annual meeting if I can get free.
December 15, 2019, 05:24 PM
Even though I started this subject I have not been back to check in on it until now.
I was under the impression that I wasn't going to find any help.
So imagine my surprise and being impressed and very, very grateful to read that you have been working on those trails and I would like to help if there is still anything to be done.
I dunno if you have seen it or cleared it out but last time I was there I found back in the brush what appears to be an abandoned tent and other junk left behind by someone homeless.
(Hey, they don't call these "Hobo trails" for nuthin!)
If I don't get to it before you do or if you want to arrange a time and place to meet for some clean up etc, post it here or send me a PM.
Red Strong aka Timothy
December 16, 2019, 10:17 AM
I have continued to pick up garbage at the trails since my last post on these forums. This past Saturday I started to clean out the abandoned tent and all the garbage around it. Most of it is still there though. If you would like to meet up sometime to finish the job that would be great. I will send you a PM with my email so we can make a plan.
January 10, 2020, 11:08 AM
I am interested in helping out with trail building / upkeep. Through my current work place, we are allowed to apply for volunteer time to go and help out in the community. I love hitting the trails around town and really want to help out with trail upkeep and grooming. Let me know if anything is coming up for this trail in the next few months. Thanks!
January 12, 2020, 09:36 AM
Great! I will try to post here when I go back out there in the spring. In the mean time please feel free to stop by and do any work you think needs doing.