Trail maintenance on the Long Trail System is done by both professional trail crews and volunteers. Much of the volunteer work is led by our fourteen sections, who have adopted most of the Long Trail, side trails, and shelters. Every section hosts trail maintenance outings each spring, to clean up the trail after winter, and each fall, to put the trail to bed before winter. Sections will often have work parties during the hiking season as well, depending on whether they have other projects planned for the year.
No previous trail work experience is required to attend one of these trail maintenance outings, and you don’t have to be a member of the section, or even the Green Mountain Club, to come out and learn the basics of trail or shelter maintenance. We welcome all help! For an example of what to expect on a section’s spring trail maintenance outings, read on for a description written by Cindy Sherwood of the Laraway Section:
The Laraway Section of the GMC performs spring-time walk-throughs on six days, typically starting in late April or early May. The exact start date varies from year-to-year, depending on snow melt and weather conditions. As the name implies, the group walks the trail in one direction, either spotting cars at the destination and carpooling to the trailhead, or walking a loop. The purpose of the walk-throughs is to clear the trail of fallen trees or branches (blow-downs), clip back undergrowth, and clear or improve trail drainage. These walk-throughs complement the efforts of trail adopters.
These trips are usually scheduled for Saturday mornings starting between 9-9:30am, and generally take anywhere between 4 – 6 hours depending on the amount of debris that needs removing. The difficulty of the walk-throughs varies with the distance and terrain, and the pace generally averages 1 mile per hour, not counting travel time. Depending on the conditions we find, and the number of people in the group, the workload can be substantial and the hike physically challenging. There is a lot of bending and lifting, so good physical condition is a must.
Work trips are a lot of work but also a lot of fun. They are a great way to meet like-minded people as well as make a physical difference to the trails. Please be sure to dress appropriately for the task and conditions. The Section has some tools, however here is a list of suggested things to bring:
- Snack and/or a bag lunch
- Work or gardening gloves
- Bug repellent (especially in May!)
Ready to join us for some trail work?
Here are some of our sections’ upcoming spring 2017 trail maintenance dates. Go to that section’s website to find out more information about a particular outing, including how to join in:
- Bennington Section: Sunday, April 23rd; Saturday, April 29th; Saturday and Sunday, May 6th-7th; Monday, May 15th
- Brattleboro Section: Saturday and Sunday, May 6th-7th
- Bread Loaf Section: Saturday, June 3rd
- Burlington Section: Saturday, May 6th; Saturday, May 13th; Saturday, May 20th; Saturday, May 27th
- Connecticut Section: Friday through Sunday, April 28th-30th; Friday through Sunday, May 12th-14th
- Killington Section: Saturday, May 13th; Saturday, June 3rd
- Laraway Section: Saturday, April 22nd; Saturday, April 29th; Saturday, May 6th; Saturday, May 13th; Saturday, May 27th; Saturday, June 3rd
- Manchester Section: Saturday, May 13th
- Montpelier Section: Saturday, May 13th; Saturday, May 20th
- Northeast Kingdom Section: Saturday, June 3rd
- Northern Frontier Section: (contact Ferdinand Lauffer)
- Ottauqhechee Section: Saturday, May 20th; Saturday, June 24th; Saturday, July 8th
- Sterling Section: Saturday, April 22nd (contact Tony Smith at 802-888-4645)
- Worcester Section: Saturday and Sunday, May 20th-21st (contact Steve Crowe)
These are the currently scheduled trail work dates but you can check out GMC’s calendar any time for up to date outing information!
Or, if one day of trail work just isn’t enough for you and you want to get involved in a larger project, consider joining the Volunteer Long Trail Patrol for a week this summer! Learn from an experienced crew leader as you work with people from all backgrounds on fun projects in the woods.