Recently, I haven’t had the pleasure of riding my local trail to work consistently in some time due to snowy and icy conditions. It’s been better most recently but another snow event tonight will undoubtedly keep me off the trail through the rest of this week and perhaps next. Fingers crossed though.
Lately, I’ve been taking to Twitter to express my frustrations with why the trail isn’t plowed or treated to combat inclement conditions. But, I decided to get some formal answers to questions from the only folks who could answer them accurately. Some excerpts of the email I sent to those responsible to the trail:
For not treating or plowing:
…the main reasons for not plowing is that the plow would do damage to the asphalt trail and the thermoplastic markings we have all along the 45 mile stretch of trail. In addition, we do not apply salt to the trail since again salt would eat away and damage the trail.
…our first priority is to remove any downed trees/limbs from any snow event. It took us about 2 1/2 days to remove all the debris from the snow; by that time the snow had mostly melted. In a couple of trouble areas we put down sand to help with traction.
…we do have a snow blower that we very well may use if we get 6+ inches of snow like they are forecasting. If that is the case we’ll deploy it next week to help clear away the snow.
I’m a little disappointed the snow blower isn’t utilized more often but at the same time understand that one single snow blower is impracticable for a 45 mile trail. I have questions about how terrible the plowing would hurt the trail though, especially because the Custis Trail (a critical connector trail to the District) not far away gets plowed in each snow event, or at least parts of it. That trail is far more bumpy, and I might be wrong, but plowing a more bumpy surface should be a more difficult task, right? Further, I don’t see irrevocable damage to that trail. If anything, the tree roots along the trail are doing more damage than any plow can.
I’d be interested to hear what others think about the plowing aspect comparing that to their own trails. By posting this, I wanted to share this information to my local bike friends and don’t mean to bring down these folks from this post but, post for pure informational reasons.
Thanks for reading.