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Letter to the editor: Gullies and mud

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Ron Scholl's letter on June 21 highlights a serious ongoing problem with our open space management staff. They seem unwilling to learn and apply the basics of trail construction and maintenance. Too many trail sections have been destroyed by a lack of erosion controls.

Each rainstorm sends a plume of sediment from the Tivoli Trail onto the street below. The “water bars” they installed did not last a single season. New sections along the Homestead Trail, Sunlight trails and Jumbo Saddle Trails are built in what we soil scientists refer to as MUD. These high-organic matter topsoils are inappropriate for trail construction and need surfacing with proper materials. People refuse to walk in mud or gullies and create multiple trails that encourage weed infestation.

I am a soil scientist who worked on trail projects for over 40 years. I have attended Open Space Advisory Committee meetings for years asking for proper trail construction and maintenance. I do not understand why the staff ignores their most basic responsibilities. Our open space should be a showcase of good management, not a muddy, gullied embarrassment.

Barry Dutton,

Missoula

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