Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Mountain Biking is a popular sport where participants ride specialized bicycles on trails. Kingdom Trails Association manages Kingdom Trails, a popular New England mountain bike trail network. This thesis examines the impact of mountain biking on the underlying soils within this trail network. Study sites were distributed across three zones of interest within the trail network to measure soil characteristics that can be used to examine the physical impact of mountain bikes on those areas. Physical characteristics recorded at each sample site were slope, trail width, trail insertion depth, trail cross-sectional area, depth of the organic soil horizon, and compaction. Soil samples were collected on-trail and 2 m off-trail and were analyzed for organic content using loss on ignition and soil texture was determined via wet sieving and analysis using a Coulter Counter. Significant relationships were found between trail cross sectional area and maximum trail insertion depth. No relationships across any other measured trail characteristic were found to be significant. These findings have been attributed to the minimal presence of clay and large presence of sand across the study site. Finally, management implications were determined to be most strongly linked to moisture and slope although relationships between these variables were not found to be significant. Areas with higher soil moisture contents had greater cross-sectional area while areas of steeper slopes were found to have greater values of trail insertion. Thus, specifically within this system trails are to be placed in areas of low moisture and less sever slopes.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Holly Ewing

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


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