Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Save Bukit Kiara : TRAKS Maintainence Day at Bukit Kiara

Awesome day out at TRAKS On Sunday June 23, 2013. A group of volunteers gathered at the 4-Way of Bukit Kiara (Tarmac) at 8am despite the haze surrounding Klang Valley to "give back" to Bukit Kiara.
Do Your Part If You Use The Trail
Work mainly concentrate on cleaning the trails off dead leaves (by raking), repairing of ruts caused by mountain bikers that drag their brakes (which in return, show inability to actually control their descent or bike), damages caused by Mother Nature such as freak storm that bring down trees and maintenance and re-building of drainage/runoff/berm (we call it water bar) that re-direct surface water off the trail. 
Penghulu Scott giving the Dos- and Don'ts. 
Have Rakes Will Travel (into the trails)
Bukit Kiara is under tremendous pressure in recent times due to the developments and developers eyeing this piece of prime green lung. Most developers want it to build an "eco-friendly" development which more often than not, will contribute to the destruction of the green lung itself. Evidence could be seen until today from the erection of the "Great Wall of Kiara" fencing and the destruction of forest near Desa Kiaramas where forest were cleared to build bungalows. 
Bukit Kiara were hand-built to world standard of trail building. Working around existing path without incurring more damages than it should, it is evident that the trail needed maintenance over time. 
Everyone got down and dirty
Armed with simple tools such as Parang, Cangkul, shovel and rakes, the volunteers divided into groups to clean up, maintain and repair the trails in Bukit Kiara. The team managed to work on:
  • 2K Loop
  • 4K Loop
  • Snake&Ladder
  • Twin Peaks
I managed to get myself to join this time around and used this excuse to "cross train" with a week leading to SCKLM. Running in the trail lend some respite from the haze as the air in the jungle were definitely better with the greens helping to filter some of the smogs. I decided to join the team that works on Twin Peaks - as this is my favourite portion for Maximum Heart Rate (HRMax) action. 2km worth of uphill climb helped me to build the stamina and strength I have today. It's time to pay tribute to this section.
Digging for Gold
I was handed a rake by the volunteer perhaps because I have the word "Domestic" written on my forehead. While others built Water Bar and re-create the drainage, I raked-away. 
An easier task actually
Drainage at the side of the trail that was clogged were cleared by mean of using Cangkul and shovel. It is a laborious task and takes some knowledge and judgement to know/understand where the water will flow. These TRAKS day actually serve as a good exposure to general public to know and appreciate how a proper trail is maintained. 
Mountain Bikers giving back.
The water bar were mostly rebuilt due to damages and neglect. It requires moving of soil from other location (not from the trail) to fill up and compact. The photos below show how it's done.
Identifying the damaged Water Bar
repacking soil onto the damaged portion
Compacting by stepping and using the Cangkul. No, we did not bury anything (or anyone) there.
Then we get one of us to ride over the water bar to see if the soil hold up, this one, passed the specs. Photo from TRAKS
A total of 5 Water Bars were re-built/repaired on that day along Twin Peaks. Each taking close to 30minutes but made faster with the Twin Peaks group splitting into three sub-group. 
As for myself, I spend the hours literally sweeping the trail off dead leaves and debris. Another volunteer went up and down Twin Peaks to collect paper trails left by hashers. He collected no less than three big plastic bags of them just along this 2km trail. Now, if only fellow hashers can join TRAKS day!
This is just one of the smaller bag
I've learnt that day that it takes a lot of humility to do what everyone did. Many people passed us by. Some by walking and some by mountain biking. None however, stopped or offered to help
Hi, I am Rake Lim. Photo fro TRAKS
 From this experience, I found out that at a constant rate of raking, it is possible to cover up to 1.5km of the trail in 2hours. That is from the trail head to Tokong. The biggest task was to find a spot to put the dead leaves and debris and to be careful when lifting them up as I spotted a few centipedes among the leaves. 
This outing has allowed me to be more appreciative of the work put in by the people that were truly passionate about Bukit Kiara. I do not believe anyone from the current administrative will be interested enough to learn about trail maintainece as it does not bring in any revenue. It is often easier to just contract it out - or built concrete drain to sort the problems out. The only problem it seems, is that the concrete drains built at a portion of the (destroyed) trail has been destroyed by Mother Nature herself! These concrete drains are not made to blend in with Mother Nature, and you would had thought the "learned administrators" would know better ;-)
This was covered with dead leaves before we worked on it
Thank you to those that came and helped. For those of you saw us doing the work last Sunday, do consider next time to stop and help with the trail maintenance. You will learn to appreciate the whole experience of riding, walking or even running here in Bukit Kiara more!
Further Read
Click here for TRAKS' report for this event and more photos.
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I will leave you with a video done by Fakawi to show what and how the TRAKS day worked!