August 2009

Aug. 31, 2009  Sandy Basin Project
Aug. 23, 2009  White Salmon Project
Aug. 13, 2009  Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference follow-up report
Aug. 13, 2009  White Salmon Project

August 2009


Sandy Basin Project

Posted by Ryan Spates in S&S Trails Blog on Aug. 31, 2009 - 2:42 pm

August 24-25 we worked on the Sandy Basin project near Mt. Hood, Oregon as subcontractors for IMBA. Earlier in the month we had ridden the Umpqua River Trail with our friends Jill and Chris (formerly of the IMBA Trail Care Crew) so they knew we were in town and available to work. Jason Wells of IMBA Trail Solutions is the on-site project manager and asked if we could help out by doing some hand tool construction and supervising a small crew of BLM staff in charge of bench-cutting while he ran the mini-excavator on a road-to-trail conversion. We helped Jason design the trail around the road he was working on, trying to get rid of a straight fall line shot. We were happy to oblige, and enjoyed working with everyone on the project. The land is beautiful, forested with stands of enormous pine trees and almost no underbrush. The soil was great to work in too, though after cutting bench by hand on 50% sideslopes, we were reminded of why we like mechanized construction to knock out the bulk of the work before finishing up the trail with hand tools. We also helped construct a 12 foot long, 3 foot high retaining wall to cover a VERY large rock that was unearthed in the main line of the trail. We also used a come-a-long to winch out a large tree stump that was in the way. Ahh, levereage!
We always enjoy partnering with IMBA on projects, and it’s a nice way to include some work in our summer vacations so we can write off some travel expenses. Hopefully we will get to do the same next year, as the BLM project manager has plans for a 15-mile trail expansion on the site. Many thanks go to IMBA for keeping us employed and having fun in the process.

White Salmon Project

Posted by Ryan Spates in S&S Project Gallery on Aug. 23, 2009 - 2:17 pm

S&S Trails worked on two short projects in the Pacific Northwest while escaping the Texas summer heat. The first was a planned one that we learned of through our membership in the Professional Trail Builders Association, while the second was a spur-of-the-moment opportunity that arose due to our collegial relationship with IMBA.

August 15-16 we worked in a small town just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon. A private landowner decided to buy his wife a mountain bike trail for her birthday and he contacted the PTBA, which then posted the job listing for its members to bid on. Most of our colleagues in the industry were busy with larger projects and we had already planned to be in the area visiting friends, so it worked out well for us to go build for a couple days on this private piece of land. Our friends Scott and Rita (former Wisconsin IMBA reps) helped us out, and we four were very productive over the weekend. It also helped that birthday-girl Jeanne and her husband Steve were hard workers and wanted to be involved with the process of designing and building sustainable trail on their land.

Video Time Lapse shot by Scott at

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Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference follow-up report

Posted by Ryan Spates in S&S Trails Blog on Aug. 13, 2009 - 3:52 pm

Susan flew back to her home state of Florida from July 9-12 to attend SETC 2009 at the Paramount Plaza Hotel in Gainesville. The invitation to do a presentation came about as a result of meeting conference chair Helen Koehler at the 2008 National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas during an equestrian trail user’s summit. When Helen learned of Susan’s psychology and trail building background, she requested a talk focused on those areas with an additional sustainability component as that was central to the 2009 conference theme.

SETC 2009 was a resounding success, with over 200 participants and a packed schedule of presenters and vendors. In addition to the focus on environmental and social sustainability of equestrian trails, the Florida Cracker Horse was also featured prominently as a breed of horse whose heritage and bloodlines are in need of protection. The Florida State Parks System keeps a wild herd of the horses on state land, and uses another string of trained horses to help patrol and do work in the parks. One of these equine “state park employees” was even used during a conference session to help demonstrate what facilities are needed to make equestrian trailheads and parking lots easily accessible to trail users.

Susan also had the opportunity to renew her acquaintances with many friends and colleagues in the equestrian trail community, including Jan Hancock (author of “Guidebook for Equestrian Trailhead Design”), Deb Balliet of the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource, Alex Weiss from Florida Office of Greenways and Trails and United States Pony Club, Bobby and Joanne Mitchell from Southern Appalachian Back Country Horsemen of America, and Stephanie McCommon of the American Quarter Horse Association. Susan also met several new folks representing groups such as the American Horse Council, Pennsylvania Equine Council, and Sustainable Stables.

Overall it was an enjoyable and productive trip. In addition to the opportunities for company marketing and professional development, Susan also had the pleasure of visiting with her parents John and Nancy who drove up from Venice to attend her talk. To learn more about SETC, please visit their website at:

White Salmon Project

Posted by Ryan Spates in S&S Trails Blog on Aug. 13, 2009 - 11:54 am

S&S Trails is about to embark on it’s first totally private mountain bike trail in White Salmon, OR. The property looks nice and we’ve gotten some rain this week, so we’ll see how the building goes this weekend!