8:00AM – 3:00PM, Sunday, February 10, 2013 until Monday, February 11, 2013
Two Day Comprehensive Indoor and Outdoor Workshop
Location: Hotel Albuquerque Conference Center and local USFS land
Learn how to design and lay out a perfect direction-reversing Sweep Turn or Switchback on various side slopes. Use ordinary tools to create a geometrically precise layout, minimize construction time, and connect the approaches at the proper grade. Gain an understanding of the effects of different slope angles on layout, construction, traffic wear, drainage and maintenance. One day of classroom instruction, one day of field exercises. Recommend bringing a compass and clinometer.
This class is largely about the structural geometry of direction-reversing turns (sweep turns, switchbacks, and some of their variants), and the fundamental role of both sideslope angle and soil integrity in that geometry. We will be focusing on turn layout, in particular how to make it accurately reflect the turn geometry and respond to site terrain limits, and on what that layout should tell us about construction difficulty, traffic flow through the turn, and long-term durability. There will be a fair amount of angles and math to wrestle with (a pocket calculator will be handy at times), but you will receive a binder of text covering everything we’ll talk about so note-taking should be minimized.
In the classroom, which will last from 4 to 6 hours, we’ll cover the basics of sweep turns (both slope-grade and controlled-grade), fishhook turns, standard switchbacks, full-bench switchbacks, and “simple switchbacks”. In the field we’ll first acquaint ourselves with the role and use of the clinometer (I know – “been there, done that”) and the magnetic compass (as a field protractor – I do not expect us to get lost!); you should bring one of each. Then in teams you will get to lay out a variety of turns on varying sideslopes, and decide which turn type best fits a particular site, weighing such factors as traffic type and volume, minimum tread width, minimum turn radius, drainage difficulties, and both tread and terrain stability.
Mike Shields started working on trails in 1960 at Olympic National Park, in the days of axes, misery-whips, and 90-lb loads in a Trapper Nelson pack. In his NPS career he’s been a Crew Leader, Ranger, Roads Foreman, Maintenance Mechanic, Trails Foreman, and Facility Manager, but primarily and always a trailman, and has worked trails in Big Bend, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, North Cascades, Kings Canyon, Rocky Mountain and Denali. Two of those parks (Canyonlands, North Cascades) were brand new and he helped “invent” the trail systems in both. He became adept at timber felling, log and rock construction, mule packing, rigging, using explosives as a precision tool, and suspension bridge and tram design, and has been teaching the following since 1972: Trail design & layout, trail construction & maintenance, terrain dynamics, blasting safety, technical blasting & rock mechanics, rigging safety, abandoned explosives disposal, bridge design, crew management, and field contract administration. Since his retirement as Denali’s Chief of Maintenance in 1996 he has been a small contractor providing training, trail layout, and technical consulting services from Alaska to West Texas and California to Colorado. In 2010 he received American Trails “State Trail Worker Award” (Alaska) for his efforts at training younger folks.
Jon Underwood has been building trails in Alaska for five years, and has been a PTBA member for two years. He is having so much fun building trail that he is still astonished when it is occasionally profitable.
We will meet in the Hotel Albuquerque, Room TBA at 8am on Sunday, February 10. It is likely, depending on how the class progresses, that we will go out into the field in the Afternoon on Sunday for preliminary field layout. Monday, February 11 we will meet again at 8am in the lobby of the Hotel Albuquerque, and carpool to the off-site worksite for the entire day. Please be prepared to spend time outside on both days. Lunches are on your own on both days.
$200 through Jan 26, $250 after Jan 26. Minimum 9 people by January 26. Maximum of 18.