A Word About Ditches

For Us, Clear Ditches Is One Of Our Passions!

Keeping ditches clear so water flows to designated areas is an ongoing struggle for the volunteers of FFPU.  Most of the forest roads have not had contractors and equipment to clear ditches for many years.

Most of the bigger FFPU ditch and catch basin clearing happens with work parties which we pick a designated stretch of road to work on.  Then we car pool to the location, zero our odometers to coincide with the mile by mile reports we turn in to the forest service so they know where and what we have worked on.  We drive the roads looking for debris blocking ditches such as rocks, branches, logs or just filled in by some sort of erosion.  For small problems one rig will pull over and fix that stretch of ditch, then off to go look for the next problem.  If we pass a party that is working on a large problem we pull over and lend a hand otherwise we will continue to the next problem.  We refer to this as "Leapfrogging".

Every forest road has its own unique ditch problems that is where our adopt a road concept is very useful.  The adopters of a road patrol the road with checking for seasonal blocked ditches and culverts, debris on roadbeds and possible shoulder damage.  They are also always removing what garbage they will encounter.  By driving and becoming familiar with the "their" road they become aware where blockages are more likely to happen.

One blocked segment of a ditch may not look very serious like the one in the photo to the right, but look a little closer.  The log laying across this ditch is acting as a dam holding back the water and slowing the flow which will fill in with sediment and more debris.  The ditch will become more and more shallow until the water will flow at the level of the roadbed.  At this point the water will very likely begin to flow down the road following the indentations of the tire tread and this road is in trouble!