Middle St. Vrain
Bog Project, June 2010

by Adam Mehlberg

photos by Christy Howe, Richard and Karla Harmon and, Adam Mehlberg

This years Middle St. Vrain road opening project included the repair of the upper corduroy road section just before the Coney Flats cutoff. On June 26 and 27 we embarked on a our third bog repair project on the Middle St. Vrain 4WD road. Over the years the old corduroy road segments of the Middle St. Vrain road have decayed and then they sink into the underlying bog. It doesn't take long with vehicles driving through the collapsed area before a large mud bog exists.

Bog starting to show summer 2009

Last year the upper bog, which has a spring adjacent to the road bed, gave way. By the end of the year when the Middle St. Vrain and Coney Creek were closed the mud hole was 10 feet wide by 16 feet long with a 4 foot wall at the upper end of the hole.

Bog by the fall of 2009

Bog by summer 2010

In order to repair the hole we would need logs, geo-mesh (the black loose weave ground material), and a lot of road base. We had 15 tons of road base delivered along Highway 72 near Peaceful Valley Resort the Friday before our project. Using Darrel Turners dump truck and two bobcats we moved the road base from the highway over the weight limited bridges in the Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick campgrounds to a staging area near the Middle St. Vrain trail head host site. From there we loaded small military style trailers, we had three, with road base and made the two hour round trip up to the mud hole. Gordon Howe, Patrick Davis, Perry Willson, Rich Horiuchi, and Greg Beery did the trailer towing up and back.

Trailer loading

We ended up getting three trips up the first day and one more load on all three trailers the second day. Brian Rasmussen and Karen Talley had prepped some of the dead timber around the upper mud hole earlier. Once the edges of the hole were cleaned up the geomesh was laid into the hole.

Geo-mesh laid in

All of the logs were then laid in the hole in a row perpendicular to the road. Because of the depth of the hole a second course of logs was laid perpendicular over the first course. The geomesh was wrapped over the logs and the road base was dumped over the new foundation of logs.

Second layer of logs

By the end of the first day we had the road base moved to the host site and the mud hole filled enough to handle traffic. During the hauling on Saturday a few of us hung back at the host site to handle questions and man the gate for our vehicles coming and going. Cindy Mehlberg and Rich Horiuchi worked on lowering the water level in the puddle that forms just past the gate near the host site. With plenty of time on our hands rocks were laid to make another walking path around the gate and the edges of the drainage from the puddle were defined with rocks. We used some old road base that was in the trees left over from when the parking lot was built to fill the depression behind the gate that collects the water. Cindy replanted a few baby trees that were growing in the road base pile along the edge of the drainage ditch. Hopefully they will make it. Rick Kilton ended up talking to a lot of the people that stopped to inquire on what was going on, or t o find out when the road would be opened. As the story goes one red Jeep JK pulled up and Rick, with a dead serious face, told them "I don't know how to tell you this, but we don't allow RED jeeps on this 4WD road." The passenger was aghast for a moment. The driver asked if he painted his jeep a different color would he be able to drive the 4WD road. Rick was having fun with people all day.

On Sunday we lined up to drive the road from the Middle St. Vrain trail head side to the Beaver Reservoir side to make sure the whole route was able to handle traffic. We also hauled up the last three trailers of road base and finished up the bog project. Adding the last three loads gave the road bed some extra thickness that will help our repair last longer.

Final layer of road base

Finishing touches

At the top of the Coney Creek cutoff Brian had to cut through about 5 fallen trees. The upper part of Coney Flats will be a problem in the future when the beatle kill trees get blown down. If we have a windy winter we might have some major log cutting to do in order to open the road. We had lunch up at Coney Flats with the continental divide in the background and then headed on to Beaver Reservoir.

The Coney Flats Road was clear of downed trees so it was not long before we made it out to the end. At the Coney Creek gate there were a few vehicles waiting to drive the road. Back at the Middle St. Vrain trail head we unloaded equipment and presented Brian Rasmussen with a certificate of appreciation for all of the projects we did with him over the past eight years. His contract with the Forest Service will be up in July.

Once all the tools were separated out we all headed to Gordon and Christy's house to have dinner and birthday cake. We celebrated all the June birthdays. There are quite a few. Thanks to Gordon and Christy for letting us all enjoy their house, have a great meal and reminisce about the project.

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