How to Report Downed Trees and Trail Issues
There is always a level of risk we take when we hit the trail. With climate change escalating weather, we are feeling the effects of more intense snow, rain, and wind storms here in Washington. Nature is powerful. Hundreds of trees and lots of debris can block and clutter trails in one storm.
It is important as outdoor recreationalists to actively watch the weather and make wise choices on when and where to ride. Let’s say you're itching to hop on the bike after being cooped up by one of those storms. You're in your flow on the downhill, and then bam downed tree. What do you do?
This article highlights the best practices for trail reporting and how you can help keep the trails clear and ready for the next rider.
What to Report
Big issues, meaning something that can’t be handled by your hand-saw, clearing a drain with a foot shovel, or a couple of folks giving a log a heave-ho! We want to know when a trail is blocked, a new hazard has emerged from a storm, or when excessive damage is done to the trail from any source. The most pressing trail issues are
Extreme trail damage
Overgrown trails (stinging nettle, blackberry bushes)
Location and Description
If you are riding and come across any of the issues above we need to know the details, where it is, what it is and how big it is.
- Open your favorite map tool (Trailforks, Alltrails, MTBProject, Google Maps, Gaia, OnX) and ensure the app has your location
- Take a screenshot (reference your phone’s how-to if you aren’t sure how to do this)
- Save the screenshot to your photos
- Open your camera app and take a picture of the hazard, maintenance need, or damage
- For size reference, park your bike next to the tree or in front of the issue
- Take a Photo and save it to your photos
- Note what tire size you have on the photo to share in your description
Where and how to report
Now that you have all the essential information, location, description, and size reference, you can report it. There are a few different ways to report your trail issue. You’ll need to post your screenshot and photos of the issue and provide a brief description in your report.
- Report on Trailforks: When you're in the app, select the trail you are on. Then select reports. Click the "+" in the top right corner of the screen. Fill out each section on the report screen. Include a photo Then hit submit.
- Local Facebook Groups: our Evergreen sawyers and trail builders are active on trail system Facebook pages. They are notified when someone posts in the group and can easily add it to their triage system.
- Email our Trail and Volunteer Program Manager Brandon Lester. If you want to go the distance, report to land managers.
What to do next
Once you’ve done all these things: noted location and size and reported it on Trailforks or your local trail system Facebook group. You’re all done. This is where our crew will jump in.
Fixing the problem
Evergreen has a crew made up of trained sawyers, trail builders, and super volunteers ready to tackle any report that comes in from the public. Your trail report is essential. The right information is critical for Evergreen to effectively deploy its crew to fix the problems.
- Certain tasks take priority, and there are many trails to cover. If you report, we have access to it, and it gets put into a priority system.
- Our USDA-certified sawyers* will attack all blowdowns. Please do not attempt to cut blowdowns out on your own. Many of the situations require meticulous work to clear the hazard safely.
- Our sawyers and trail builders will update the reporting on Trailforks and respond to your report on the Facebook group post once the job is completed and give the all clear.
- If you don’t hear back from our crew, it doesn’t mean they are ignoring you! They have much going on. If you report it, they have it in their priority system, and it will get done.
Evergreen membership dollars support our volunteer sawyers and trail maintenance crews. Without these resources, keeping our trails clear throughout the winter would be much more challenging. Evergreen’s sawyer certification program trains and certifies volunteers in the specialty task of using motorized equipment to manage our mountain bike trails.
Thank you for being stewards of the trail and helping Evergreen keep the trails up to speed. It takes a village!
*Using power tools is strictly managed by the Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. Only United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified sawyers are authorized to operate these tools on Evergreen managed trails. EMBA sawyers must follow safety standards set by WA’s DNR, King County, USFS, OSHA, and the Industrial Fire Precaution Levels.