Happy Trails to You, Homesteader
The homestead: dream of feudal serfs, 19th century pioneers, and 21st century preppers alike. It’s the dream of private, self-sufficient living, the mini castle, kingdom of one’s own. However you define it – the retreat, the farm, the bug out location – it represents supreme security in a world gone mad.
And however much land you have, and wherever it is, you’ll need to move around on it. This might mean a driveway and a quarter-acre lawn. Or it could mean a system of trails and roads.
Backdoor Survival has all the info you’ll ever need about building the latter on your land. It’s all courtesy of Samantha Biggers. Please read her excellent, in-depth article on the same. Here’s a little preview:
Photo by Backdoor Survival.
It’s your land and you’ll need to move around it.
“No matter how hard times get to be, folks are still going to need to have some way of going to and from one place to another. My road and trail building experience over the years comes from moving to an 11 acre piece of property that was completely overgrown with a mixture of bittersweet, honeysuckle, multi floral rose, and a bunch of stunted sickly trees with some nice big ones looming overhead.”
Learn from her years and acres of experience. She really covers all the bases and more topics than one would imagine.
She starts with words of caution about heavy equipment. Sure, you can use bulldozers, graders, and cement trucks and essentially build your own modern, interstate-style roads on your land. That worked well for Disney World. But for most of us it’s probably overkill. And it runs the risk of destroying much of what made the land so attractive in the first place.
Consider a simple trail system that allows for foot, ATV, or car passage: minimal effort and design.
She covers everything. Like:
Following the natural lay of the land. Why fight nature? Just improve on it as needed.
Dealing with bogs and water hazards.
Drainage and ditches.
Slope and approach – moving you and the water.
All about gravel and rock.
Different sizes for different needs.
Lanes, turning, and passing considerations.
Simple hand tools for getting the job done (don’t forget good gloves).
Economizing where appropriate.
A path verses a trail.
The role of pavement and concrete.
Sharing roads with neighbors and others. Here, I’ll note that there are some legal considerations when two or more parties share any land. Consider consulting a land use attorney. An easement may be your best friend. Otherwise, twenty years later you may be at the mercy of a special master or a judge to tell you your rights on your own property.
One key to success with this type of endeavor is carefully planning and patience towards the ultimate outcome. Know your land and your needs/wants. Take a little extra time to plan everything out before you start clearing or paving. Be ready to adapt as needed.
The end result should be a layout that makes getting around easier and improves on the natural beauty and function of the property. Measure twice, clear once.
As good fences make good neighbors, so good trails make good homesteading. Happy trails!
Perrin Lovett writes about freedom, firearms, and cigars (and everything else) at www.perrinlovett.me. He is none too fond of government meddling.