Old 12-10-2012, 11:52 PM
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hawk12 hawk12 is offline
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Originally Posted by AikoAdam View Post
I am looking at doing some erosion/steps projects on our 6 courses. Some courses are newer and some are old. Does anyone that has expeience see a difference in best material usage based on slope grade to prevent erosion in the given area?
I have used several types of materials for steps on various types of terrain. I try to go with the most durable material you can find - stone, landscape timbers, used railroad ties all work better and last longer than treated lumber, which lasts longer than tree trunks.

Also the packing material between the stairs material makes a difference, stone dust works better than sand which is better than clay and far better than topsoil / dirt.

If you are getting serious, use a substrate material for a base / footing under the stone or timbers as well, 3/4" stone then stone dust to level out the stairs is optimal - and significantly more time consuming to build.

When anchoring in timbers to a stepper hillside, I prefer to use half cut 3' fence posts over smaller metal stakes or wooden stakes due to the long term rust/rot factor.

The better materials and more time put into design and build will be worth the extra effort IMO. You back however will not like that, and your disc game will suffer while the back heals up - unless you are 22 years old and strong as an ox
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:25 AM
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AikoAdam AikoAdam is offline
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Thanks for the response. We have a course maintenance board. Many of them are in construction or carpentry and have done most of our projects. We aren't interested in short term fixes and they certainly don't like to cut corners. The substrate specs are very helpful.

Is crush and run a good use for paths that are already eroded to halt erosion and give good traction?
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:25 PM
mullethead326 mullethead326 is offline
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As a veteran of trail work, I would highly recommend reviewing some USFS publications on trail building. Steps aren't too difficult to master, but if you put them in wrong, they can become more of a headache than the original problem. The Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook is a good starting point (warning, 31 MB .pdf). The relevant pages are 116-122 (by numbers in the document).

Relevant points that I really hope any designers would know:
In all steps, the key is to use the largest material possible and to seat it as deeply as possible. Rocks should be massive and rectangular. On steps that traverse a slope, it helps to seat the upper end of the step in footings excavated into the slope.
Build stairways from the bottom up, at a break in the grade. Bury thefirst rock; it will act as an anchor. The most common mistake is to start part way up a grade. If you do so, the trail will wash out below the stairs. The bottom step should be constructed on a solid, excavated footing. If it is constructed on top of exposed rock, it should be well pinned to the footing. Each successive step is placed atop the previous step (figure 82). Wood steps are usually pinned to each other and to the footing. Dry masonry rock steps usually rely on the contact with the step below and with the footing to provide stability (figure 83).
Another good resource is "Lightly On the Land" which presents trailbuilding techniques in a very understandable manner.
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