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Author Topic: When does a trail become a minor trail?  (Read 13873 times)
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The Jester
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« on: February 01, 2010, 09:34:29 pm »

How do you determine when a trail is actually a minor trail? 

I've been thinking about this while walking/mapping the trails around here:

   * Different seasons sometimes change the amount of overgrowth seen on trails.  What may be overgrown to the point of disappearing in the summer, may be wide open in the winter.  Or what is easily seen in Spring/Summer, may be 'hidden' in the Fall/Winter with a layer of fallen leaves.

   * Sometimes trails "degrade", getting smaller and more overgrown.  (Heck, I've seen a road become a track, a trail, a minor trail and vanish in less than quarter mile.)  At what point does it stop being a "trail" and become a "minor trail"?

   * Sometimes a section of a trail is almost totally overgrown, but has good trail on each side.

So, what are YOUR thoughts/qualifications/determinations?

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Moun10Bike
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 10:48:35 am »

For me it is definitely a gray area.  I generally think to myself, "if I was looking at a published map of this area, would this trail be on it?"  If my answer is no, I generally consider it a minor trail.  Some common characteristics of these trails are that they are noticeably narrower and less frequently used than other trails in the area, can be overgrown or getting encroached upon, or are otherwise difficult to follow.

I've wondered if I need to further classify trails in the project as main/primary, secondary and minor (and unpaved roads as unpaved roads and doubletrack), but I'm worried about too much clutter and additional confusion.
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 07:50:29 pm »

For me, if it looks like a little more than a game trail or easily overgrown in a single season, it is a minor trail.

If the trail looks like even the weeds will avoid it for several seasons, then it probably is a main trail.
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The Jester
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 08:57:11 pm »

It's something that's been floating around in my thoughts.  The other day I found myself on what would definitely be called a minor trail, but a short ways back was a trail, and was wondering where it changed.

I've seen "main" trails with grass/weeds growing on it, and I've seen minor trails with nothing growing on the tread but salal was overhanging the sides to the point of touching (though you could still see where the track went).
 
I suppose the same question could be asked about where/when old dirt roads turn to trails.
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Gsnorgathon
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2010, 04:50:55 pm »

Well, why we're at it, why not ask where roads become trails? Mrs. G and I took a wee jaunt up to Lake Serene last Sunday. More than a mile and a half of the trail consists of the road to the old trailhead, though you wouldn't get far driving past the gate because of the first blowout. So - unpaved road (because that's what it is)? Or trail (because it's closed)? Or unpaved road as far as the first blowout (because the road's in pretty good shape up until then)?

I'm of two minds on this one - on a practical level and for simplicity's sake, yeah, it's trail. But at the same time, knowing it was road tells me something useful about what kind of experience I'll have walking it, and tells me something about the history of the area as well [e.g., it's likely to have been logged].
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Phil Andrews
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 12:27:50 pm »

I took a little walk with Gabby in an area that had not been tracked yet and had no geocaches. I live in Maple Valley Wa., and was flipping thru the google geocache maps in my area and noticed a wooded area across from Rock Creek Elementary. I have also driven by there many times. I noticed there were no trails mapped and figured I would take a look. Some of the trails I walked were minor using the criteria above and some were major. I need to learn how to stop and start my gps and then take notes of changes in trail. I suppose changing the track name will do it?
I figure I'll go back out there again and walk it and see if I can define it better.
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The Jester
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2010, 09:45:55 am »

I took a little walk with Gabby in an area that had not been tracked yet and had no geocaches. I live in Maple Valley Wa., and was flipping thru the google geocache maps in my area and noticed a wooded area across from Rock Creek Elementary. I have also driven by there many times. I noticed there were no trails mapped and figured I would take a look. Some of the trails I walked were minor using the criteria above and some were major. I need to learn how to stop and start my gps and then take notes of changes in trail. I suppose changing the track name will do it?
I figure I'll go back out there again and walk it and see if I can define it better.
I keep driving by there myself, and just never stopped to explore.

No knowing what GPSr you have I can't give exact steps, but this is what I do:
1.  Normally I don't have the track turned on (personal choice), so when I get to the trailhead I go thru the menus and start the track recording (I have a 60csx and have it set to also record track to the data card).
2.  At each change of trail I work thru the menus and turn the track off and then back on.  This "breaks" the track (starting a new section). You just have to be careful that you do restart the track.  I've had a few times where I had to back up and redo a section when I forgot or hit the wrong button.
3.  At home I copy the track form the data card to the computer and edit it in MapSource, changing the name of each section to include the trail/road type.
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Phil Andrews
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 01:10:23 am »

Heh, I have the astro 220. it looks just like the 60csx since it is based on it but has a vhf transceiver for my dog's gpsr.
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The Jester
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 08:13:41 am »

Heh, I have the astro 220. it looks just like the 60csx since it is based on it but has a vhf transceiver for my dog's gpsr.
To access the Track page, hit MENU=>MENU (hit the MENU button twice to take you to the Main Menu).
Select Advanced, then GPS Applications, then Tracks.  At the top of the page you can use radio buttons to turn the track log on and off; with the track log on select Off (highlight Off and hit ENTER), then On to create a break in the track log.  When you download the track to MapSource you will see each section as a seperate track.  You can then edit the name to indicate the trail/road type (I use names like Dirt Trail 1 or Dirt Road 1 - the numbers keep the track name unique).

Edit to add:  You can find out more about tracks starting on Page 30 of your user manual.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 08:15:45 am by The Jester » Logged

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Phil Andrews
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010, 09:30:24 am »

Yep, been there and now I know how to do it. I'll prob. set waypoints too.
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Phil Andrews
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2010, 06:46:51 pm »

Well, Square_Peg and I did a more comprehensive search of the trails at the "doughnut hole" in Maple Valley and I did as you said and toggled off and on and made notes.
When I back to a computer, I uploaded the tracks and renamed them. One thing I noticed is that I ran across tracks that were only one or two "dots". Most of the tracks were much longer. My notes helped but weren't perfect. I saved that set then pulled up my original set and overlaid mine and Peg's over that. Not all of Pegs made it because of name conflicts and would have to go thru the tracks and rename them to get rid of the conflicts Tongue We certainly covered the area better and found two places where it connects to the Cedar Trail thru very minor trails. It helped to have Gabby along just to see where she would go. She's always the first to find a new trail.
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The Jester
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2010, 11:24:48 pm »

If your GPSr loses signal lock that will break the trail, and sometimes you just get some "extra" breaks or waypoints (for no reason that I've seen).
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Phil Andrews
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 07:48:06 pm »

Yeah, I noticed that deleting them or leaving them made no difference.
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