Rene Nijstad wrote:Hi Dan,
I'm looking at your design and I'm wondering what you want to accomplish. It's a fairly straightforward design which would allow you to drive around the property. I don't see it going to specific spots on the site that need access. Maybe you don't really need that much road?
Building the road like this is not only going to be a lot of work, but also the roads will be quite steep. You could try to avoid that and make a central road that goes sort of diagonal on the contour lines with small dead-end roads on contour to reach areas that are of specific interest.
What I would include in a design like this is what to use the runoff water for, either feeding ponds or swales so you won't create extra erosion below the culverts you have planned in.
Dillon Nichols wrote:Wow, that's a lot of road on 10 acres! If it was my land, I'd probably put in less road... but it's hard to say exactly how and where. Without a much better understanding of the terrain, vegetation, and usage patterns on your land, it's hard to advise on specifics... You've obviously put a lot of time/thought into this, and my suggestions probably won't fit your goals all that well... but maybe they'll spark some idea of your own that will?
On my parents ~8 acres in Victoria, with slope similar to the eastern portion of your land, we have a lane through the orchard area to access the aux. firewood storage, shed/apple storage, greenhouse, garden, and gully where much of the wood comes from. It might possibly have seen 20 trips between the pickup & the 1.5 ton flatbed in the busiest year. A lot of things can be readily moved by wheelbarrow. No trailers, wood is cut to fit the trucks before moving. In practice although the flatbed can take ~16ft logs with the tailgate off, everything ends up cut shorter for ease of moving it to the truck anyhow.
There are no water controls at all. The vehicle path follows the path of gentlest slope. This has worked fine for decades with no signs of any erosion at all, BUT, it only works because we time our visits with a bit of consideration for the weather, never driving up there when the ground is very wet. If there is heavy rainfall we wait at least day or two afterwards. I always put the trucks in 4wd/low gear to avoid any minor wheel-slip that would damage the ground.
Where there is slope equal to or greater than the east side of your property, we just don't drive. If a tree needs to come up, it gets pulled out in pieces with a come-along, or a cable to a truck if close enough. The one exception, a rarely used steep access ramp to the gully area, is eroding steadily, even if it isn't driven on, and will need remediation at some point fairly soon. It is loose rock, and I don't think it would be serviceable as seeded dirt.
What they DON'T get with this system is any sort of firebreak or any sort of easy way to use a trailer, but we haven't got a trailer anyhow.
On other properties that I've worked on, trailers were critical, as their vehicles didn't have enough space to serve as real trucks. However, it was really not a big deal to turn the trailer around if a dedicated spot or two was in place for this. Because it's the same trailer, and the same couple spots every time, it quickly becomes an easy routine. Generally these could also double as trailer parking spots. In my opinion the labor saved by reducing the amount of road required by so much is well worth the minor hassle.
As far as the firebreak goes, I can certainly see the appeal, but I'd probably choose to spend the time/effort/money differently. A 15ft firebreak wouldn't do much here, where any dangerous fire would easily jump that via the overlapping forest canopy above. How I'd deal with this would depend again on the property, and the directions a fire seems most likely to come from. Could be clearing out dead brush throughout the property, or a broader firebreak around the higher value portions of the property, or rooftop sprinklers and the pond to feed them from...
I assume the various lettered shapes are parking, barn, greenhouse? office? shed? What is 'A'? In any case, they're all on the west side, where the slope is much friendlier. I really don't have any problem with that half, it's the east side where I'd want to cut back dramatically.
Another advantage of going away from the current circle design is a reduction in culverts. If the water can be taken past the end of a dead-end road and dumped into a swale or pond with no culvert required, this is a good thing in my books. I don't like culverts; they cost money, need maintenance, and sooner or later they clog up and the road gets trashed. Walk an old logging road and the culverts are probably the most common failure points...
Finally, if you do stay with the circle layout, what about deleting the diagonal crossconnect to the east of the pond site? Seems like you'd still have a full loop using the roadway to drive back to the main entrance... or are there things in that specific portion that need access?
Hope something in there is of some use!
Dan Malone wrote:The property was selectively cleared 25 years ago, so I am not cutting down that many trees. I also plan to re-plant a new tree for everyone I cut.