A Conversation With Randy
Trailscape has been featured in several publications. Along the way, we've been asked really curious questions and we thought we would share them with our clients and followers. They're an inside look into the business and our founder, Randy Martin. Randy is a seasoned and expert trail builder, professional skier and avid mountain biker who connects his clients to their land through his trails.
What’s the short version of "Who is Randy Martin?"
I have been a trail runner since my college days starting back in the 80’s. Then came the mountain bike boom and I was hooked. I have blended the two passions along with skiing for the past several decades as trails are an important part of my life. In the early 2000’s I began to volunteer with a local trail advocacy group called FATRAC in Placer county and that's what started it all.
What is your relationship with the land while building trails?
There was a time when I was the primary trail builder but now we have four lead trail builders that all have at least ten years of trail building behind them. They are all creative, hard working, people that love to share their passion for trail. I am truly humbled by their character and expertise.
How does trail building give you a creative outlet?
Flagging a trail, in the primary stage of design, is the core of the creative process and it is best done by the artist that will craft it. The actual building of the trail is creative and mostly creative problem solving. It is tough in the field, we run into obstacles that challenge us, sometimes even scare us as we figure out how to get through, over or around, rock, downed trees, steep ravines, pipes, and cliffs.
What has been the biggest factor impacting trail builds?
For us, it is getting the word out that having an expert trail builder is significantly better than a novice landscaper. I am occasionally appalled when invited out to fix a poorly executed trail. Most of the time, I have to decline projects like this because the damage is too severe and it will take years for the land to heal. It is a true testament to how good our crews really are as stewards of the land.
Which trail(s) have been your favorite build(s)?
While I am proud of the tough builds, the easy ones are my favorite. Trails with slopes between 25% to 40% are the best experience for running and cycling. This mild slope makes for a fun flow from left to right. It makes the trail feel like a snow ski run. We built 6 miles on the central coast and 8 miles north of Napa County that I like to bring my friends to ride. I find myself grinning the whole time.
What makes you and your team trailblazers?
Trailblazing has a literal meaning in our industry. Our skilled crews specialize in revealing breathtaking vistas, enjoyable meanders, and providing access to previously inaccessible land. We are also experts at utilizing our trail construction to double as fire breaks, protecting our clients' families, homes, and property from fire. Our company's business is to build trails, but our interests all revolve around the great outdoors. We enjoy skiing, biking, trail riding, walking, running, and hiking, which we believe gives us a unique perspective on trail building.
We lead the way by what we leave behind: what we leave behind is a blend of practicality, a path to take, functionality by acting as an effective firebreak, sustainability by fashioning a product that will last for decades, and beauty.
Describe how you use innovation and resourcefulness to build trail.
While it may appear that trail construction is simple "landscaping", this is not the case. Trail building is both art and science. The art part is augmenting the natural beauty and giving the user a sense of flow. While building a trail is not “rocket” science, it is the science of solving multiple terrain challenges and making the trail last for decades. We continually invest in state of the art digging and brush clearing machinery that enables us to efficiently transform the property with the least amount of interruption to the client and the land.
Our clients frequently inquire as to how we are able create a path through seemingly impossible terrain, It is due to our experienced crews and specialized equipment. In our arsenal of tools we have jack hammers for breaking rock as well as small percussion charges. One of our most recent advancements is the use of minor explosive devices, about the size of a handful of firecrackers, that we place deep within a boulder to crack and then remove the pieces with our excavator. It's a delicate process that enables us to take only what we need and leave the rest.
How do you raise the bar and offer your clients or customers the ultimate in customer service — letting them know along the way that they are working with the best?
We raise the bar by making sure we hire good, solid people. Our crews are made up of people who care, people who communicate well, and people who listen, listen, listen so that we can give our clients exactly what they want and exceed their expectations. Furthermore, we can keep our trails in top shape because we have an in-house maintenance crew. Our ongoing support for our client’s trails ensures it will be a legacy that will last for decades. Thus providing an opportunity to grow in relationship with our clients.
What distinguishes Trailscape is the depth of our experience. Our team of five core lead trail builders combines creativity, problem-solving skills, and a desire to inspire others to explore their property. We are all kind people who listen to our clients' needs and help them acquire what they want while also giving them amazing and unexpected surprises along their personalized trail. Those surprises could be capturing a spectacular view or gaining access to a babbling creek.
How are you disrupting your industry and thinking outside the box?
We have taken a service that is mostly offered to municipalities along with state and federal agencies and make trails available and affordable to private landowners. In addition, we build trails for ski resorts. In our experience in building trails for Sugar Bowl, Tahoe Donner, Northstar, China Peak and Dodge Ridge. We have found that our trails bring clients to the slopes in the off season. Many ski guests will come to hike or bike their favorite resorts during the months when snow is scarce or simply not present. Therefore, providing resorts multiple streams of people and income opportunities.
What makes the way you build trails unique?
Trailscape understands the land and all of the natural and physical elements to build long-lasting trails. We visualize the meanders and hills which will provide the most enjoyment for all users, and we can maintain and expand our trails in the future.
We build our trails about 4 to 5 feet wide. This allows our brush masticator (Chewer) to be attached to our mini excavators which delicately reaches out about 5 feet either side of the trail to initially remove brush. In doing this, our trails become an effective firebreak. Our trails have helped save families and homes from the devastating impacts of fire. We aim to build trails that provide enjoyment and protection. In fact, during the Glass Fire (Napa/Sonoma), our trails saved 8 family homes. The fire burned right up to the trail and stopped.
Furthermore, we can come back at a later date to maintain the trail for years to come thus giving our clients a legacy to pass on to their family.
Where can people find your trail builds?
We are not in the public eye because the majority of our work is private. However, we have grown significantly in the last few years solely through referrals. Our business is notable from San Francisco to Tahoe and Mount Shasta to San Diego. We also have several contracts nationwide. However, our favorite public trails are at Sugar Bowl ski resort and the connected Royal Gorge. Between the two there are 10 miles of flowy fun trail.
Have you launched any new products or started new services/trends in your industry?
Yes, we launched our maintenance side of the business and have a crew that can service the approximately 400 miles of trail we have built over the last 14 years
How are you helping clients feel good about themselves and their home?
We believe the challenging work we do to clear tenacious undergrowth, make a path, and provide our clients more freedom to access their beautiful property gives them a deeper sense of belonging to their land. Our trails become a feature for every home and a desirable selling point. In fact, we are establishing a trail as a standard feature for private estates. A trail is as significant to our client as a driveway.
Private clients of Trailscape are given access to an experience on their own property that most people have to travel to enjoy . Furthermore, rather than needing to go to public sites and hike with everyone else, our trails offer calm and tranquility in our clients' private estates.
What do you want people to know about your business?
We want people to know we are addicted to the grins of gratitude that we receive from our clients when they no longer have to imagine access to beautiful places because they can experience it directly every day.
Randy Martin Expert & Exclusive California Trail Builder 300+ Miles of Trails Designed and Constructed for Private Land Owners
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