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Killing a road.

 
K Schelle
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Location: Southern Vermont, Zone 5a
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Hi, this is my first post here, although I've been lurking a year.

(Not everything I type will rhyme)

I've recently plunked down for my dream lot, although it will need a lot of TLC. This land is a hillside that was logged probably 20 years ago, in southern VT. There is one badly-planned road running vertically from the base of the hill straight to the top, with no angles and no switchbacks. As the snow melts off the top of this 2000 ft hill, it's obviously taking a lot of soil and nutrients with it. It doesn't help that this road probably still exists today because the neighbors use it regularly for recreational 4-wheeling and snowmobiling, and is highly rutted.

I'd like to put a stop to this erosion, by planting groundcover, transplanting bigger things from elsewhere on the property, and by other structural modifications. I don't have serious machinery, just my back, which works well.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Virgil
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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I would look into the keyline concept and see if I could run swales at/ near the top of the road to a keypoint where I would try for a small, high, pond. Divert water away from the road and hold it as high as possible.

I would also start figuring out how to convince neighbors that the road is closed.

Steepness of the slope is important and may work against swales.

I would also consider gabions, again steepness of slope might rule them out. A good sized gabions would slow water, catch eroding material and make a decent roadblock to discourage traffic.

That traffic may well be your worst headache.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Lots of details available on maintaining forest roads. The trick is to divert the water off before it builds up enough speed to erode. So you need to build lots of water bars feeding lots of swales to catch the water.

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/stewardship/accessroads/construction.htm

http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf05232810/pdf05232810dpi72.pdf
 
K Schelle
Posts: 18
Location: Southern Vermont, Zone 5a
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Peter: that's good stuff - I'm researching keyline now. There is actually a spot that I maybe I can engineer into a small pond near the top of this hill (see attached pic). After that, its a steep slope. Instead of the gabions, I might use some of the old logging slash that I'm finding around.

VP


photo 31.JPG
[Thumbnail for photo 31.JPG]
 
K Schelle
Posts: 18
Location: Southern Vermont, Zone 5a
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R Scott wrote:Lots of details available on maintaining forest roads. The trick is to divert the water off before it builds up enough speed to erode. So you need to build lots of water bars feeding lots of swales to catch the water.

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/stewardship/accessroads/construction.htm

http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf05232810/pdf05232810dpi72.pdf


RS: thanks - those are very useful links - bookmarked!

VP
 
Alder Burns
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There was a road like this on one site I homesteaded on too. Being short of cash for machinery and with only myself for labor, I simply dragged logs across it, and chinked under them with branches, chunks of bark and rotted wood, and a few shovels of soil if the ground was able to be dug when I was up there. This slowed the erosion, created small areas where topsoil caught behind the barriers and seed could take hold, and blocked traffic all at onceā€¦.
 
K Schelle
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Location: Southern Vermont, Zone 5a
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Actually, more than anything I'm wrestling with the tact of being "that guy" who comes into a community, and starts rearranging the social furniture, as it were. The road is mine, sure, but the impact on the neighbors might come with some blowback.

Is there a permaculture fix for that?

VP
 
Miles Flansburg
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It is in your own best interest to keep the neighbors of your road. There have been many cases of easements being put in place because land owners allowed others to use a trail or road that was not an easement before.
Also if someone gets hurt they may be able to sue you.

I bought into a subdivision where the neighbors had been using my lot as their own for 30 years. The past owners never used the lot.
I have put up signs and let them know that I like my solitude, while at the same time being a good , helping ,neighbor.
So far I have good neighbors who understand.

With a good chainsaw you will be able to slowly work your way up the hill with a zigzagging road, if that is your wish. At the same time cutting trees acoss the old road as Alder says.

Then with the path cleared you may need to rent a backhoe for a weekend?
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Virgil Porter wrote:Actually, more than anything I'm wrestling with the tact of being "that guy" who comes into a community, and starts rearranging the social furniture, as it were. The road is mine, sure, but the impact on the neighbors might come with some blowback.

Is there a permaculture fix for that?

VP


You have your finger on a serious concern there. There is a permaculture approach, but certainly not "a" permaculture fix. Every social dynamic, every community, is a different equation. You have to observe, and keep in mind the ethics and principles, in order to find a path in your specific community that produces the best solution.

One of the first things that comes to my mind is why are people using your road? Shortest route to a destination? Fun place to tear ass around on their toys and not have to clean up after themselves? Those are likely very different situations, with different attitudes involved. Any idea how long they have been using the road? Wondering how firmly established the idea is in their minds that they are free to use it.

I do not envy you the situation, but as noted, you will need to act, to protect your right to the land and to protect yourself in the event one of them gets hurt and decides to come after you in court over it. As with so many things, if you can find the pattern, then you have a better chance of adjusting it to one more favorable to your ends.

Good luck.
 
Ann Torrence
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Virgil Porter wrote:Actually, more than anything I'm wrestling with the tact of being "that guy" who comes into a community, and starts rearranging the social furniture, as it were. The road is mine, sure, but the impact on the neighbors might come with some blowback.

You are "that guy" regardless, as we were "those people" when we changed the land use patterns on our place and put up a deer fence that redirected the deer movements. I just remind myself that this land was for sale for a long time and if they wanted to use it how they had been using it, they could have bought it. They didn't, I did, things change. They can get over it.

Go to the volunteer fire department pancake breakfast, contribute to the high school scholarship fund and help on community clean-up day. These things will count with the ones that can really make your life better in your new community.

Eventually, with some humble willingness to learn what my neighbors can teach me, it has mostly worked out. Now, after 4 years, there are new new people and we are off the radar.
 
allen lumley
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Virgil P. : I hope this is not too late !
Please look at the intersection of local town roads where you will see ''weight restricting '' Posting of the Town roads, this is a very important step at this time of the year
as the frost is coming 'out of the ground' and the road bed is very soft ! Many local hunting clubs up here in the North east even change the lock on the gate at the Clubs
boundaries to prevent even the members from driving over the "Soft Road'', and causing great damage ! This is A seasonal posting, you may also see signs that say no
scheduled maintenance from October to May, this is usually posted on dead end roads with no School kids living on those roads and is there to promote the longevity of
the roads, and reduce the legal liability of the local townships ! If you have any questions, you cant comment here and/ or contact your local Town highway department ! Big Al
 
K Schelle
Posts: 18
Location: Southern Vermont, Zone 5a
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Ann Torrence wrote:
Go to the volunteer fire department pancake breakfast, contribute to the high school scholarship fund and help on community clean-up day. These things will count with the ones that can really make your life better in your new community.

Eventually, with some humble willingness to learn what my neighbors can teach me, it has mostly worked out. Now, after 4 years, there are new new people and we are off the radar.


Ann, these are fantastic ideas. I'll pursue them! And you're right, time is a ally here.

VP
 
K Schelle
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Location: Southern Vermont, Zone 5a
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allen lumley wrote:Virgil P. : I hope this is not too late !
Please look at the intersection of local town roads where you will see ''weight restricting '' Posting of the Town roads, this is a very important step at this time of the year
as the frost is coming 'out of the ground' and the road bed is very soft ! Many local hunting clubs up here in the North east even change the lock on the gate at the Clubs
boundaries to prevent even the members from driving over the "Soft Road'', and causing great damage !


Nope Al, not too late. I'll look for these notices. I didn't know about them, and if they we're there, I certainly wasn't heeding them. My elderly Subaru learned about mud season the hard way, but on a level road that's also on our lot.

VP
 
Brian Hamalainen
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Location: Chimacum, WA Sunset Zone 5, USDA Zone 8B
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It might be worth the small step of placing a few well-visible signs saying something like "THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. *RESPECTFUL* PUBLIC USE OF THIS ROAD IS ALLOWED, AT MY SOLE DISCRETION. IF MY PROPERTY IS DISRESPECTED, I WILL BE FORCED TO CLOSE IT TO PUBLIC USE. PUBLIC USE IS AT YOUR OWN PERIL."
 
Ardilla Esch
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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One solution is to incorporate roads into your development plans. I built our house and part of the driveway on an old haul road from a gravel screening operation for construction of Route 66. It saved us from having to disturb existing vegetation too much. The drainage issues that would have had to be corrected anyway were easy to accomplish while digging the foundation and building up the driveway base.
 
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