San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666 •  (512)392-7457

The Loop

05
Apr

Trail Attachment, Trail Changes

SMGA has an agreement with the the city to do natural surface trail construction, reconstruction and maintenance. It’s a big job and with spring in full force we will be jumping to keep up.
The city and SMGA get questions from users about why and how we do what we do. There are many factors to consider for each trail, far too many to mention here so let us just name a few.

  • The city has one full park ranger for the entire city and no land manager trained in ecology and passive recreation.
  • Some of the trails that exist now were unauthorized trails created with a single interest in mind 
  • Some of the trails are not trails at all but jeep tracks used by utility vehicles for different kinds of service and maintenance
  • The funding for the purchase of these natural areas comes primarily from federal and state agencies with the stipulation that endangered species habitat and watershed protections are maintained. Passive recreation is a lesser priority but encouraged where possible.
  • Trail design involves a little science, art and practice. Several of us are trained in design and construction, others have years of experience.

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But let’s take a read of a recent example of an email exchange with a trail user who appreciates the beautiful places while apparently riding a mountain bike. Her reference is to a section we rerouted during Bobcat Build.

To SMGA:   Hi. I was riding prospect/purgatory about a week ago and a small section of the trail on Limbo loop was blocked and rerouted. I’ve never seen the trail change like that, so I’m curious why. It used to be a pretty cool section. Thanks!
From SMGA:   Indeed it was a pretty cool section. When we laid it out we were proud of what we were able to do. That was several years ago.  Since then we’ve noticed that the rocks in place were not remaining stable which is really no surprise given that oak trees don’t remain static either. And unfortunately the rocks begin to rock and cut into the roots of that fine old tree.  That and the added stress of drought and the wear of the bark from folks playing on and around the tree warranted a change.
We’ve noticed how attached people become to trails even though some of them were poorly conceived or in a few cases not that interesting. In this case our original was more interesting and fun. I hope you can adjust and forgive us as we try to balance many interests in the pursuit of stewardship for these cool places.
And thanks for asking.
Let us know if you can help out. We’re an all volunteer bunch who care a lot about these natural places…t.o.d.
Response to SMGA:    Hi Todd. Thanks for the detailed reply. It makes me less bummed about that stretch of trail. I definitely do get attached! I really appreciate what ya’ll do. The Greenbelt is one of the coolest things about San Marcos.

Cheers,


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