The Third S: Sedimentation

We all wheel in different terrain; some have mud, some have granite; being responsible in each of these settings applies to all of us. Part of land use is respecting the terrain we wheel on. The 4 S’s keep us on track. We already covered Sanitation and Spills; next up is Sedimentation.

Scientifically, sedimentation is when items suspended in water separate and fall to the bottom. It happens in riverbeds, in lakes, and in spillways. In our terms, it occurs when we move dirt from one place to another. We can harm our trails.

We acknowledge that mud and dirt will accumulate in our tires and get moved around; we’re more concerned with excessive movement and how we can mitigate any damage.  Here are some suggestions:

If there are rocks – drive on those.  Rocks are of a substance that typically doesn’t break down under our tires. We do the least amount of damage there.

Stay off from vegetation. Not only should we not drive on it, but we shouldn’t splash mud on it either. Running through mud puddles at speed splashes the water out and chokes the vegetation along the trail.

Stay out of fields and meadows. Unless there is a trail through an area like that, just keep out. It tears up the soil underneath, creating ruts and killing the plants growing there.

Cross streams at designated points. Often the low spots will have rocks already in place, cross there and keep going. Never sit in a stream with your vehicle, or drive down a stream. Get in, get over, get out.

Stay on the trail. If there is a rock in the path, drive over it, not around it. You’re wheeling; you don’t need it smooth. Trails are often made wider where there are rough rocks in the middle, just slow down and stay on the designated route.

Know the trail. Use a map, follow trail markers. The best way to keep all of our trails open is to stay on approved routes.

Straddle ruts, gullies, and washouts.  Part of staying on the trail is dealing with places that have been changed by weather; if you straddle rather than dipping deep into a rut, you will displace the top, not the bottom. That helps to fill in the ruts instead of making them deeper.

Minimize wheel spin. This is just good wheeling. There is really no place on the trail that you need to spin out. We aren’t racing through the trail, just slow down and make your starts smooth. If you’re starting to slip, utilize your tools – use your lockers and lower your gear.

Be patient.  If there are others on the trail, you might get to queue up in line to get through an obstacle. Give everyone a chance; you aren’t in a bigger hurry than they are. You don’t need to go around them. You certainly don’t need to go off the trail to go around them. Practice some patience.

Employing all of these will help relieve changes to the trail and damage done to the soils.

Thanks for being a responsible wheeler.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.