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Cutting a trail

  1. #1
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Cutting a trail


    How do you landowners go about cutting a new trail around your property?

    Take a quad and some branch cutters out and trim everything up to standing height on the pegs?

    Intentionally move some obstacles out or into the way?

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  2. #2
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Cutting a trail

    Yeah, basically.

    I keep a lot of the woods on my land clear of saplings by running brush cutter at least every other year. So my area was already fairly clear of that.
    I cut down two large pines to use as obstacles, plus dragged an even larger pine trunk that had been blown over a couple years ago out into the open. I also used an existing pile of pine chips and some rocks and such as obstacles.
    Then I fired up the two hunny and ran laps until I was ready to fall over. ...Then again the next day. And after that.

    My lot is really flat. I had to make up for the boring terrain using obstacles. Also my goal was something in the "extreme enduro" flavor.

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  3. #3
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Cutting a trail

    One word: machete.

    I've done 95% of the clearing work I've done is with a machete, it will handle anything up to 2" with ease. Larger stuff up to 6" I carry a bow saw in my backpack, that covers 4.5%, then the remaining .5% I come back and make a final pass with the chainsaw in select spots.

    Don't buy a crap machete. Buy a Brazilian Tramontina, those guys know a thing or two about limbing. This is the one I have:
    Amazon.com: Tramontina Machete Wood Handle: Home Improvement

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  4. #4
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Cutting a trail

    Now that I'm thinking about it, I have a lot of different tools I used for yard and trail work. I'm partial to Sandvik brush axes and machetes that have a sharp hooked blade on the back. These can take care of over 90% of what I need to do for initial clearing and probably 99% of the general upkeep thereafter. For trees larger than machete size but smaller than chainsaw, I use a simple handheld curved pruning saw. I also have a manual pole saw for getting the higher stuff. If there's a large area of brush or super thick grass, I have a big bicycle handle Stihl trimmer that lays waste to it all with a proper brush blade.

    I recently invested in a Stihl KombiSystem power head specifically for the PowerSweep attachment but the Pole Pruner attachment and extension may be on my short list.

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  5. #5
    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Cutting a trail

    Depending your location and soil types, you won't need/want any extra obstacles. Both my current place and last house were typical rocks and roots. I learned from my last house, to cut the trail as straight as you can...the line once ridden, will never be straight given all the natural obstacles here.

    For cutting, I've always used a heavy duty pair of loppers, and a chainsaw. When Duncan came to help last fall, he had some gas hedge trimmers that worked slick for the ground cover stuff. Unless the tree is already dead or fallen over, I try not to cut anything larger than 3-4".

    Biggest thing for me is stumps. Plan on cutting the stumps as close to the ground as you can. Yeah, you'll likely have to sharpen the saw a couple times in a day, but you'll be happy you did. Stumps as small as 3/4" can send you in an unwanted direction faster than Trump can tell a lie. Also as you ride and pack down the soil, plan on going back to cut the stumps again.

    I have big ideas and plans again to expand our trail system this season, just hoping to find the time to do it.

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  6. #6
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Cutting a trail

    First thing we do is survey the prospective trail, then put yellow tape every 50' or so. Then I use a heavy duty Stihl brush cutter after replacing the string trimmer head with their "Brush Knife."

    Tri-Bladed Metal Brushcutter & Trimmer Blade Attachment | STIHL USA

    This allows you to clear irregular surfaces right down to the ground, including saplings up to an inch or more depending on species. (Only downside is hitting rocks) Then any larger trees are cut with a chainsaw.

    Also have a "Puller Bear" that a lot of people use if they are clearing trails for mountain bikes. Used it very little so far.

    Pullerbear Tree Puller Tool

    Where we intersect with trails off the property, we put a dogleg in so the trail head is not obvious. By cutting the trail in at an angle, with a sharp turn a few lengths in, it's not obvious it's a trail outlet.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 05-11-17 at 12:02 PM.
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