This post was written by Isaac Bernstein, Kevin Tolan, and Emily Ulman, GMC’s 2017 field staff interns.
If you’ve ever passed by a working trail crew while you were out hiking and wondered what their strange tools were, or heard the sometimes bizarre names of tools and wondered what they are actually used for, read on! These are some of the tools that GMC trail maintainers use (and carry up the mountain) most frequently:
With a pointed bevel at one end, the heavy (near 18 lbs) rock bar is used for prying and moving large rocks that are not able to be picked up by hands.
The hazel hoe is used for cleaning away brush and moving around material, specifically for cleaning water bars of debris.
Root Loppers and Clippers
Depending on root or branch thickness, these are used to cut away or shorten material that may block the trail.
The pick side is great for loosening soil in the area you are trying to dig. The point can also be used as a probe when unearthing a rock. The mattock side is used for moving material (loosened by the pick side) and for digging.
There are different kinds of axes for different degrees of work, anything from chopping wood from tree trunks to breaking down roots. Axes work best with a well kept, sharpened, and clean edge.
Bow Saw and Hand Saw
Both saws are used to clear away overhang and excess brush in the path of the trail, whether they are fallen trees or overhanging limbs.
Single and Double Jack
Whether you’re breaking up large rocks to create smaller chunks or you’re pounding away at smaller pieces of schist, the single or double jack is great for making crush. Crush works to create a filler when setting large rocks into the ground.