October 31, 2016

Barrel Ride: Going Through Some Changes

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By Jay Bartlett

Barrel Ride (or just “Barrels”) is a local favorite trail in the Green Valley Competition Area. It lies just across the valley from the end of Canyon View Drive as part of the trail network that often lends itself to races, as well as Saturday afternoon smile-fests! It’s techy in places, fast in others, climbs a fair amount, but pays off with a long, winding descent back into the valley.

Barrel Ride and the other trails in Green Valley have been a staple of riding for many years, and to a large extent bikers, hikers, and other recreationalists have pretty much had free reign to do with it as we pleased, which has led to some fantastic riding. Turns out though, much of that valley is privately owned, and is slated for development anytime now (probably in the next couple of years). We will certainly lose some beloved pieces of singletrack, but work has begun to save some sections (read: access) and thankfully, much of the upper portion of the hill is BLM land. With cooperation from the outdoor community, and in conjunction with the Dixie Mountain Bike Trail Association (DMBTA), it will remain open to mountain biking, with improvements to existing trails and a good possibility of added trails to reconnect those that will be severed by development. This is a very big deal. The endangered desert tortoise lives in relatively large numbers in this area, so limiting access certainly could have been an option, but open minds have prevailed, and a chance has been given to us to enjoy the trails we love, while working alongside the BLM to nurture the land that remains after there are lawns and swimming pools dotting the hillside below.

That’s where Barrel Ride comes in. Work has already begun to improve a roughly mile-long section of trail. You see, the problem with Barrels is it has sprouted “jump lines” (off-shoot lines that hit a feature, then stop). Great fun, sure, but many of them are encroaching on tortoise dens. Not sustainable when mixing with an endangered species!

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So, we, as a community, have been tasked with fixing some problems, as well as improving the original trail to incorporate new features, and improving existing ones. Yes, sadly, these jump lines have to go, and will be missed, but the alternative is to not be able to ride there at all. The good news is the majority of Barrel Ride will remain intact, and alternate lines (or B-lines) will be established, and the material from the dismantled jump lines will be moved onto Barrel Ride to create new, or improve existing, features to make them a bit less sketchy. The original line will stay intact and be improved for those who don’t want to try the features. If you’ve ridden here you know how fun the downhill run is. The idea is to keep it that way. Rocks have been swept off-trail and small berms (we don’t have a lot of dirt to work with) have been added in to keep momentum up and smiles flowing!

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I hope that lovers of this great trail will realize the importance of showing what we can do together. If this test goes well, we’ll certainly be invited to build new trails of varying difficulties… all high on the fun scale! No one likes seeing a fun line disappear, but with impending housing development, that’s how it has to be. Luckily though, with some cooperation, we have the chance to make the best of the situation and the best of Barrel Ride!

 

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About Jay Bartlett

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