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Download complete 2015 Symposium Program with descriptions of educational sessions and more (pdf 6.0 mb)

Turns for the Better

Instructor: Gabe Travis and Christine Byl, Interior Trails Inc.
Date: Friday - Saturday, May 15-16
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $280 early registration ($330 after March 20)
Maximum of 20 participants

Workshop Costs:
Due to a generous sponsorship from REI this workshop has been discounted from the normal rate of $360 per person to $280 early registration ($330 after March 20).

$45 transportation fee (optional) Transportation from Double Tree Hotel to Stub Stewart State Park worksite and back to the OCC each day of workshop.

This fee includes: nationally recognized instructors, high instructor to participant ratio, lunches on each day of the workshop, all equipment, and limited PPE.

Maximum of 20 participants.

Workshop Description
Learn how to design and lay out a perfect direction-reversing Sweep Turn or Switchback on various side slopes. Use standard survey tools to create a geometrically precise layout, minimize construction time, and connect trail leg approaches at the proper grade. Gain an understanding of the effects of different slope angles on layout, construction, traffic wear, drainage and maintenance. Discuss user groups and how those parameters affect decisions about turns. Learn how to minimize common mistakes made when laying out "by instinct" alone. One day of classroom instruction, one day of field exercises. Please bring a manual compass w/ protractor and a clinometer, if you have them available.

This class is largely about the structural geometry of direction-reversing turns (sweep turns, switchbacks, and some of their variants), and the fundamental role of both sideslope angle and soil integrity in that geometry. We will be focusing on turn layout, in particular how to make it accurately reflect the turn geometry and respond to site terrain limits, and on how layout choices predict construction difficulty, traffic flow through the turn, and long-term durability. We'll cover the geometry, angles and math behind turns (a pocket calculator will be handy at times), as well as more intuitive guidelines and a discussion of aesthetic components of layout. You will receive a binder of text covering everything we’ll talk about so note-taking should be minimized.

In the classroom segment, which will last from 4 to 6 hours, we’ll cover the basics of sweep turns (both slope-grade and controlled-grade), fishhook turns, banked turns, standard switchbacks, full-bench switchbacks, and “simple switchbacks”. In the field we’ll first acquaint ourselves with the role and use of the clinometer for turns in particular, and the magnetic compass used as a field protractor. Then in teams you will get to lay out a variety of turns on varying sideslopes, and decide which turn type best fits a particular site, weighing such factors as traffic type and volume, minimum tread width, minimum turn radius, drainage difficulties, and both tread and terrain stability. Class ratio should allow plenty of time for small group contact with instructors.

Workshop Agenda

Day 1: Classroom discussion of above, with handouts, power-point, drawings & photos, and plenty of time for class discussion. Intro to layout tools in the field.

Day 2: Field Exercises: in small groups, laying out and staking turns in a variety of settings. There will be plenty of discussion on site as well as hands on instruction for folks at a variety of level of experience.

Workshop Topics
• Review the Structural elements involved in Sweep Turns (“Climbing Turns”) and Switchbacks including curve radius, maximum in-turn grade, sideslope, turn radius and other key geometries.
• Demonstrate proper design and construction techniques
• Discuss maintenance and other considerations
• Discuss common mistakes in turn construction and review ways to avoid them.
• If site permits, witness mechanized construction of a turn in the field.

Instructor Biography – Gabe Travis and Christine Byl

Gabe Travis is a PTBA member who has been a professional trail builder since 1996, and over the past 18 years has worked in Glacier National Park, Chugach National Forest Cordova Ranger District on Alaska's Prince William Sound, and Denali National Park. In 2008, Gabe and his wife, Christine Byl, began their trail contracting business, Interior Trails, in recognition of the need for specialized trails expertise in the state of Alaska. In addition to layout & design, assessment & prescription, and hand & mechanized construction for clients statewide, Gabe has taught introductory and technical trails courses for the past 11 years. Gabe is also a visual artist who brings his eye for design and detail to the trail layout and construction process. He is an avid trail runner, skier & biker who loves winter.

Christine Byl is a PTBA member, a writer and a trail builder of 17 years. She worked on and led trail crews from 1996-2007 in Glacier National Park in NW Montana, Chugach National Forest in Cordova, AK, and Denali National Park in Interior Alaska. In 2008 she and her husband, Gabe Travis started Interior Trails, a trail contracting business specializing in sustainable trail layout, design, construction, consulting and training for clients across Alaska. Her first book, Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, is about trail crews, tools, wilderness, and labor. She teaches and lectures across the country on topics from haiku to chainsaws. She and Gabe live on a few acres of tundra north of Healy, Alaska, where they spend as much time as possible traveling in wild places by foot, bike, ski, boat and dog.

What to Bring:
Appropriate field gear for the weather. Expect to be outside both days of the workshop. We are in the Coast Range of NW Oregon which is a wet environment. Expect rain and be pleasantly surprised if it stays dry.

Workshop Meeting Place

Our group will meet at 7:45 am on the day of the workshop at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel (1000 NE Multnomah St., Portland, OR 97232) in the Jefferson Room.

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel (1000 NE Multnomah St., Portland, OR 97232)
From I-5 South - Washington
Take exit 302A toward Moda Center/City Center
Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Rose Quarter
Continue straight onto N Vancouver Avenue
Continue onto NE Wheeler Avenue
Turn left onto NE Multnomah Street and the hotel will be on your right
From I-5 North - Salem Area
Take exit 302A for Weidler Street
Merge right onto NE Weidler Street
Turn right onto NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard
Turn left onto NE Multnomah Street and the hotel will be on your right
From Portland International Airport (PDX)
Get on I-205 S
Follow I-205 S and take exit 21B for I-84/US-30 W toward Portland
Merge onto I-84/US-30 W
Take exit 1 toward Llyod Center
Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Llyod Center and merge onto NE 13th Avenue
Turn left onto NE Multnomah Street
DoubleTree by Hilton Portland will be on the left

At the end of your Workshop, we will end at the Hotel at 5:00 pm.

PTBA Coordinator (Mike Passo) 360-734-7270
Workshop Assistant Coordinator (Pat Passo) 360-961-4332
PTBA President (Peter Jensen) 413-441-0204
LL Stub Stewart State Park Office 503-324-0606
Providence Portland Medical Center 911 (general 503-215-1111)
4805 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97213

For More Information, Contact:

Gabe Travis and Christine Byl, Interior Trails Inc.

For more information on the Professional Trailbuilders Association, visit www.trailbuilders.org

Symposium Sponsors





American Trails

P.O. Box 491797
Redding, CA 96049-1797
(530) 605-4395

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