View Full Version : "X's" on logs used for controlling erosion?

05-28-2015, 09:01
General question. We hiked about 20 miles from Boonsboro, MD to Harpers Ferry, WV and noticed a number of logs placed to control erosion had X's carved in them. While buried treasure would have been my preferred answer to our kids, we are all curious as to this practice. Thanks!

05-28-2015, 09:17
I haven't put the X's on the logs personally, but I understand they are there to provide better traction. Sometimes a log can be surprisingly slippery.

05-28-2015, 09:57
That's what I've always thought they were for---traction...

05-28-2015, 09:57
illabelle is correct on both counts.

05-28-2015, 10:13
Glad to see you were out with the kids. They can offer different, often surprising, perspectives.

Where rocks are available, they are often preferred to logs for water bars (those have outlets off the trail) and check dams (that don't outlet except into the trail), since rocks are usually less slippery and more permanent. Volunteer trail maintainers are also constrained by time, and sometimes by environmental issues not always immediately apparent to the hiker.

Check dams themselves are less preferred to moving the trail to a more sustainable part of the landscape, but moving the trail can be constrained by property and other environmental issues too.

05-28-2015, 18:14
The X's are there for traction. However they don't seem to help and you can still slip. The best way is to try to step over the long completely.

05-30-2015, 10:03
We put X's, or hash lines, on logs we put in as water bars for two reasons. They provide a little extra traction and the marks typically will draw your attention to what are usually very slippery surfaces when wet or damp from humidity.