Add Some Ewok to Your Trails
Source: IMBA Canada
We often hear mountain bikers describe their favorite freeride route as being "like Ewok Village." While certainly not an official technical definition, it resonates and conjures a clear image: serpentine, with flowing obstacles that completely blend with the environment, immersing the trail user in the experience. Such trails are environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing and - when built with the utmost care - an artistic expression.
Every trailbuilder should try to design trails and technical trail features that are sustainable and match their environment. A 10-foot high ladder bridge, for example, may fit well in a lush forest, but is going to be out of place atop a desert plateau. A rock drop, on the other hand, could fit well in that same location and be the preferred approach to increasing the difficulty of that trail.
When building wooden technical trail features, choose wood that blends with the natural surroundings, and is common in your local area. Rough-sawn wood looks more natural than factory prepared lumber. Work to keep sign pollution to a minimum. Never ever attach technical trail features to live trees.
Get in the habit of practicing strict Leave No Trace ethics. Avoid trampling sensitive areas and vegetation. Clean all fasteners, wood scraps, trash and anything else that would let people know you were there. By putting a lot of love into the trail and the surrounding environment, it©ˆs possible to create an experience that earns your trail the coveted "Ewok Village" description.