This article about GMC’s Killington Section was written by Gareth Henderson at the Rutland Herald and was posted on the Rutland Herald Online on March 28, 2016.
KILLINGTON — Anyone who hikes the Long Trail in Killington has benefitted from the work of a dedicated local group of Green Mountain Club volunteers who keep the trail clear and open for all to enjoy.
Herb Ogden, Wayne Krevetski and Larry Walter have done trail maintenance work with the group for years on the Killington section. The group usually does two “work parties” on the Killington section of the Long Trail each spring — once in late May and again in June, on National Trail Day.
The work day in May is on the lower-elevation sections, and the June day is for higher elevation sections where the ground is too soft to handle the work in early spring. Due to the soft, wet ground, the Green Mountain Club discourages people from using the trails before Memorial Day, Ogden said.
Krevetski added that the club’s local volunteers also clean up the trail after major storm events in the summer and fall, once it’s safe to get in and clear the trail.
The trail maintenance effort also plays an economic role, since hikers during the warm season need local businesses for supplies.
“Rutland’s become quite a stop-over place and a resupply area,” Krevetski said.
Ogden said hikers from many places sign the Sherburne Pass trail registry each year, including visitors from Europe, Canada, southern New England, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Every year, the trail work includes a number of different tasks, from raking and clearing brush to cleaning out the water bars across the trail and sawing fallen trees. To use a saw in this work, federal certification is required. Walter and Ogden are both certified sawyers.
“I usually have a little arborist saw I carry with me,” Walter said.
Walter said he oftentimes uses a cross-cut saw on the biggest projects. That’s the saw that requires one person on either end to move the saw back and forth. Walter said he enjoys the teamwork aspect of using that particular saw.
Another volunteer job in this trail work is the role of “checker.” The trail checker is someone who lives near a particular section of the trail, and their job is to check their part of the trail ahead of time for how much work needs to be done. Then, they report back to the team’s coordinators. That way, Ogden said, the team can focus its work in the locations that need it the most.
Krevetski, Ogden and Walter each said the best part of the work is being able to “give back” and support the Long Trail — a place they’ve loved hiking for many years.
Krevetski said a lot of people may not realize that a number of aspects of the trail have been cared for by the work of volunteers. He used the example of stone steps.
“Somebody had to move those 500-pound rocks to get that going,” he said.
However, not everybody who does this work has to lug heavy objects. Krevetski said the group can accommodate as much time as someone can put in, and there’s no particular level of experience required. He said anyone who loves hiking or being outdoors in general, would enjoy the work.
“A person can put as much muscle into it as they want to,” Krevetski said.
The group is always looking for more volunteers, particularly volunteers “under 60,” as Walter put it.
The Killington section usually has a hike or other outdoor activity planned for each weekend throughout the year. Krevetski said that’s a great chance for anyone interested in trail work to get to know the group. These weekend outings are open to the public.
Find more information at www.greenmountainclub.org.
In addition, federal trainings for becoming a certified sawyer are coming up.
The chainsaw class will be held from June 4 to 5 at the U.S. Forest Service’s work center in Mount Tabor, off of forest road 10. The one-day cross-cut class will be on July 23 at the same site.
These courses are free for volunteers.
For more information, contact the U.S. Forest Service’s Manchester district office at 362-2307, ext. 7208, or send an email to [email protected].
All content and photo credit goes to the Rutland Herald.