Provided below is a list of words that you might over hear on a trail work day. If you are more of a visual person and words are bad, here is a visual aid on some of the terms provided below.
Backslope – The excavated bank on the uphill side of a trail tread.
Berm – The raised outside edge of a trail.
Blowdown – A fallen tree across the trail.
Borrow – Fill material taken from a site other than the trailway excavation. Good borrow pits can be found beneath root balls from fallen trees.
Bucking – Sawing a fallen or horizontal log.
Clearing limits – The distance to the either side of and above a trailway from which brush and limbs must be cleared.
Culvert – A drainage structure that passes beneath a trail to allow the flow of water from the inside to the outside edge. Culverts may be metal, plastic or even concrete. Culverts can also be fashioned from wood or rock.
Cupped Tread – when the edges of the trail tread is higher on both sides than in the middle of the tread, forming a cup, which prevents proper drainage.
Drain dip – A depression built into the trail to guide water off the tread.
Duff – Ground cover consisting of organic matter such as needles, leaves, twigs, etc.
Fill – Gravel or soil used to fill gaps in trails.
Fall line – water flowing down hill following the path of least resistance
Grade – Percent slope of trail measured as feet rise/100x feet run.
Grade Reversal – usually a short dip followed by a rise, that forces water off the trail.
Grubbing – Digging out roots and other organic material.
Inside edge – On a hillside trail this is the up-hill side of the trail.
Inslope – The inside edge of the trail is lower than the outside edge.
Knick – a semi-circle cut into the tread, approx 10 feet and outsloped 15% from the center as a way to divert water off the trail
Mineral soil – Soil that has little or no organic matter. The good soil in trail building.
Outside edge – On a hillside trail this is the down-hill side of the trail.
Outslope – The outside edge of a trail being lower than the inside edge to promote drainage
Rock Armor – Building a tread that is usually rutted out from use or the environment made of rock
Rolling Contour Trail – The ideal trail type for managing multi-use and water drainage. Includes grade reversals, outsloped tread, gentle grade, side hill location and perpendicular to fall line.
Settling basin – A deep rock lined pit placed in front of a culvert to allow silt to settle out before entering the culvert.
Sill – Part of a bridge; logs that sit on the ground and support perpendicular stringers.
Sheet Flow – the perpendicular flow of water running across the tread of the trail
Slough – Silt and organic debris that have slid down onto the trail.
Stob – The stubby branch left behind when a branch is cut.
Switchback – A sharp reversal in the direction of the trail, allowing the tread to maintain a reasonable grade as it climbs a steep hillside.
Tread – The travel surface of the trail.
Trail corridor – The full area of the trail including the tread and the zone on either side of the tread and above the tread from which brush and limbs must be removed.
Turnpike – A structure used to carry a trail across ground that is usually saturated with water. Logs or rocks embedded along the sides of the tread hold fill material in place to form an elevated travel surface.