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View Full Version : Should people be required to pay or give back to the trail?



Starchild
02-19-2014, 14:24
After reading a recent thread I'm inclined to think that some feel yes. There seemed to be a definite attempted guilt trip going on in this thread: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?101804-Water-sources which the OP handled with style and grace as she stepped over it.

Here on WB there are many strong opinions expressed as to where the funds for a thru hike should come from. But this one takes it a bit further, that you should pay for the trail in addition to funding yourself on the trail.

With that stated and requesting your opinion, I will state mine...

I was willing to sacrifice everything for what I believe is a new life after the AT thru. I closed a business (that was losing money), knowing I needed to change my life, but to do that find out what I needed in life. Everything was pointing to my only option was a door to a new life 2000+ miles long. I was willing to use my retirement funds to do this hike, as I knew that is what I needed to do.

Well it never came to that, I never had to touch my retirement. I people who were so willing to help. That was one of the learning experiences of the trail, learning what a friend really is along with what family is suppose to be.

I didn't ask for this funding, but did receive it, and expressed such thanks, which may encouraged others to also help. In short I hiked and graduated the thru hiker class of 2013 on scholarship. I also got a ride down to springer, a ride back from Katahdin and a personal traveling trail angel for about 1/3 of the trail.

I do feel the trail offers this to people who are in such need. And I must admit I needed exactly that in my life. It was knowing that people cared about me enough to see me prosper and get what I needed for my next stage in life that made all the difference.

So to me the trail is a living entity far more advanced then us and does not require you to give back, but only for you to prosper. Giving and/or receiving both are ways to do so and are both right and good and needed and will cause prosperity. The trail knows who needs to give and who needs to receive and loves both. Those who need to receive the trail know will be able to give, either back to the 'trail' simply trusts will eventually give back, it may take time but it will happen when the time is right, and to much surplus. There are also those who will take (as opposed to receive), the trail can handle this too though ther is a loss in this.

So in short I stick to the WB motto HYOH, if you want to pay for your hike then please do so, but also please HYOH and if you desire to pay for it and don't try to H anyone elses H, let the trail and them work it out and the finances.

Lone Wolf
02-19-2014, 14:32
"should people be REQUIRED to pay or give back to the trail?"

no..........

kennajm
02-19-2014, 14:40
For me, supporting trails is important. I live a few hours from the AT so it's usually easier to give financially when I can't make it out there. I think it's important to be a member of the ATC or one of the trail clubs. I do the same thing with IMBA but do help with trail maintenance because they are right in my back yard.

Notice what I said there. Me and I. I feel that way. You shouldn't worry about what I think or what anybody else thinks. There's no reason to be offended by the opinions of others, especially on the internet.

Now, the question is, did you write this out of a little guilt, or did someone offend you on the internet? Either way, if you think you're doing it right, and you're not keeping anyone else from doing it how they think is right, there's not a problem. I say just let it go.

10-K
02-19-2014, 14:48
Well it depends... The point is often made that the AT is a unit of the national park service which is true. Assuming you pay federal income taxes you're supporting the trail.

I think a person who enjoys the trail should definitely consider going above and beyond that but there's no need to feel guilty if you don't.

Coffee
02-19-2014, 14:50
Walking on public lands should not require any substantial payment. I don't have a problem with $10-20 for wilderness permits since there is a cost to issuing and managing the system but any large cost shouldn't be required IMO. That doesn't mean that people who can contribute something should not of course.

Starchild
02-19-2014, 14:52
..Now, the question is, did you write this out of a little guilt, or did someone offend you on the internet?....

Since you asked, no not a bit of guilt, just a deep sense of disgust that anyone would guilt another into buying something she does not need no ever use just because she is using the trail and 'should give back'.

I almost threw up over this.

mak1277
02-19-2014, 14:52
I give to the trail every year...indirectly through taxes. That's plenty for me.

max patch
02-19-2014, 14:54
Of course not.

But I think one should join the ATC for at least the year that they are hiking. If they decide to continue the membership or do trail maintenance afterwards that would be great but in no way should be required.

Sarcasm the elf
02-19-2014, 15:02
"Should people be required to pay or give back to the trail"

Required? No. Morally obligated? Yes.

Demanding payment for use of the trail would require a framework of permits, reserved campsites, enforcement, oversight, quotas, infractions as well as all of the bureaucracy and ham fisted managagement theories that go along with such ventures. Once the overhead is taken into account the fee collection alone would barely pay for itself and it would absolutely damage the character of the trail.


So to me the trail is a living entity far more advanced then us and does not require you to give back, but only for you to prosper
While i do think that we all should give back to the A.T., either by donating or volunteering, your quote above does holds a lot of merit.

mak1277
02-19-2014, 15:11
Morally obligated? Yes.


So if I enjoy a walk around my block, do I have a similar moral obligation to give extra money to my HOA every year? This is ludicrous.

OCDave
02-19-2014, 15:11
In the course of our lives we will all give a little and take a little. While I might be on the receiving end where others may have given, someone else will benefit from where I have given.

We are more likely, on balance, to be takers in our youth and have more to offer as we mature. Additionally, as we mature, we are less likely to get our undies in a bunch regarding such issues. Just one more reason to ditch the undies.

Happy44
02-19-2014, 15:13
i will wait for dogwood's response!!!!!!

Seatbelt
02-19-2014, 15:15
My "contribution" to the trail so far has been to leave it a little more beaten down so the next hiker has less guess-work as to where it is.:p

Teacher & Snacktime
02-19-2014, 15:16
Choosing to "give back" to the trail is a wonderful and personal thing....and should be approached (IMHO) sincerely, and somewhat the same way as one might give a gift. "Homemade" gifts are usually much more thoughtful and significant that the store-bought variety.

If you choose to give, do it the way you feel is best.



(unrelated side note: HM...your post wasn't here when I started typing, I swear! We are not, in fact, a posting tag-team!!!)

Sierra2015
02-19-2014, 15:33
There have been a few studies done that show once you take out the altruistic feel goodness out of giving you decrease humanitarian actions. (Sounds convoluted. Lol. Google Freakonomics... I think they have some numbers on it. Also a basic altruism search might bring up some info. Basic google search about taxing of the rich and the interesting effect that has on giving back.)

I think a required tax disperses personal responsibility.

It also creates a sense of entitlement. The root-rot of society.

Coffee
02-19-2014, 15:41
Taken literally, what hikers are "taking" when we walk on public lands using leave no trace principles comes down to a small amount of erosion to the trail. Of course, the cumulative impact of thousands of footprints requires trail maintenance efforts.

Hikers can "give back" by volunteering, making a small donation to a trail organization, or buying products from trail organizations but it is likely that anything other than a very small donation would be doing more "giving back" than "taking" and enters the realm of altruism. There is nothing at all wrong with altruism but people shouldn't be subject to guilt for failure to "give back" when very little is "taken" assuming leave no trace principles are strictly followed.

As for paying taxes, I'm not sure how much trail maintenance is funded through tax revenues. At least in the areas that I frequently hike, volunteers appear to be responsible for much of the trail maintenance. Most NPS dollars seem to be devoted to automobile tourists rather than hikers with the probable justification that the majority of visitors to parks hardly get out of their cars and their tax dollars should fund activities they participate in.

I've purchased a number of products from trail organizations and that's partly "giving back" but I actually needed all of those products so it is also a commercial transaction as well.

chiefiepoo
02-19-2014, 15:43
Those water bars, steps, spring improvements, privies and shelters were put there by someone. Never hurts to send a dime or dollar per mile to the maintaining club for the miles you have trod. It's your choice, as is a contribution of zero. Sure much of the trail is on federal or state land but it is the local trail maintainers and ATC that I suspect keep it in repair. Along with your $$$ you can offer suggestions for repair and maintenance.

Toon
02-19-2014, 15:45
I work my ass off for 6 months every year so I can afford to thru hike. I don't ask for help from anyone. I'm not on any government assistance. I don't feel like I need to give back to the trail. I do though feel the urge to pay it forward. Everyone gets help from trail angles, so when i can help another hiker I do.

Sent from my SPH-M820-BST using Tapatalk 2

Happy44
02-19-2014, 15:48
I'm so confused? :confused: I do get offended by the opinions of others, especially on the internet.

I think if a member, on WB, consistently "attacks" others and is always negative towards others they should be confronted & dealt with by the admins of this site.

I get PM's when the admins feel I'm "out of line." Is this what we are talking about here? I'm confused. I'm also confused when I see members consistently behaving poorly. Do they get PM's?

I try to be positive, supportive and upbeat towards everyone. I'm a fan of being part of an online community that LIKES others in the hiking community. I do wonder sometimes if some members really LIKE anyone? I'd say that would be a negative for some, IMHO.

I know we aren't always going to agree with each other but can we still be friendly, respectful and kind towards each other? I don't think that's too much to ask.


http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/when-it-comes-charity-poor-give-more

the UL'ers who power 40 miles a day and spend 10k on gear and bring 50k to spend are not the people who make the trail community, its the people with 1k gear and 3-4 k to spend who stop and talk and hang out in towns and get involved and who donate to hiking clubs later on and become trail angels ext. and make what the trail has become, the real Appalachian trail is not the trail itself but the people like you hikermom who make every day enjoyable! i love everyone here (... including dogwood ) because everyone here loves what i love hiking and people!

to answer the question of the topic , should someone be required to pay, NOPE but like any service a tip is always a plus

martinb
02-19-2014, 15:53
No requirements. After all, those who gain life memories from the AT will give back one way or the other.

mak1277
02-19-2014, 15:55
If we are talking about giving to charity, and a moral obligation to do so....aren't there like, thousands, of more worthwhile charities than giving to the ATC or a local hiking club? I mean no disrespect to them, and I understand why people would give to these organizations, but I can't imagine doing so personally, if only because there are many many charities that do so much more good, that deserve my giving a lot more.

Last Call
02-19-2014, 16:06
Shouldn't be a requirement, but what would it hurt to have a few honor boxes at the more populated road crossings?

Tuckahoe
02-19-2014, 16:19
I'm in before Dogwood! :banana

Sierra2015
02-19-2014, 16:29
What's all this Dogwood talk?? Is he gonna bring the heat? :p

Prime Time
02-19-2014, 16:34
Giving is by definition a choice, not an obligation. You can't OBLIGATE anyone to GIVE back. One can choose not to give back to the trail for any number of reasons, but to suggest we've already given our share by paying income taxes is IMHO a stretch at best. For 45 years I've hiked on the AT and have watched and listened to people whine about $10 - $20 park fees, complain about a section of trail because the overgrown shrub got their pant legs wet, stomp and pout because they weren't allowed to camp above timberline on fragile alpine flora, nearly hyperventilated in rage because there was no visible white blaze for a half a mile even though they never left the trail they were on all day, automatically felt a donation based hostel stay meant it was free and then went into town and ran up a $150 bar tab, and on and on. Look, we can go through live with the belief that we don't owe anyone anything, or we can take responsibility to help support and maintain the things we love best. It's our choice, not our obligation.

mak1277
02-19-2014, 16:37
Giving is by definition a choice, not an obligation. You can't OBLIGATE anyone to GIVE back. One can choose not to give back to the trail for any number of reasons, but to suggest we've already given our share by paying income taxes is IMHO a stretch at best. For 45 years I've hiked on the AT and have watched and listened to people whine about $10 - $20 park fees, complain about a section of trail because the overgrown shrub got their pant legs wet, stomp and pout because they weren't allowed to camp above timberline on fragile alpine flora, nearly hyperventilated in rage because there was no visible white blaze for a half a mile even though they never left the trail they were on all day, automatically felt a donation based hostel stay meant it was free and then went into town and ran up a $150 bar tab, and on and on. Look, we can go through live with the belief that we don't owe anyone anything, or we can take responsibility to help support and maintain the things we love best. It's our choice, not our obligation.

I think it's a very unfair argument to equate the bad behavior you describe with someone that doesn't want to donate back to the trail. I'm not saying those people don't exist...nor am I saying that those people do or do not give back...but it's certainly not true that everyone who doesn't give back is automatically an entitled lout.

Pedaling Fool
02-19-2014, 16:47
This isn't a new question and I do have to wonder if people think about it seriously. It's a slippery slope we should not even tread on.

The question is: Should people be required to pay or give back to the trail?

However, that question can be applied to any sorts of things and in some sense it is and the more fiscal problems we have the more this question comes up in other areas. The problem is that it relieves the govt of their responsibility to act fiscally responsible.

We are all protected by the military. Should people be required to pay or give back to the Military?

bamboo bob
02-19-2014, 17:08
Somebody said we all do what we can. er... Each According To His Needs. Seriously give money to trail clubs and/or pay dues and/or do trail work if you want to. Or not.

Don H
02-19-2014, 17:16
Since you asked, no not a bit of guilt, just a deep sense of disgust that anyone would guilt another into buying something she does not need no ever use just because she is using the trail and 'should give back'.

I almost threw up over this.

Exactly who was selling what to whom and why?

Sierra2015
02-19-2014, 17:20
Exactly who was selling what to whom and why?
Talking about the other thread.

lonehiker
02-19-2014, 17:22
Exactly who was selling what to whom and why?

Oh, everyone is butt hurt over what Flash said.

Slo-go'en
02-19-2014, 17:24
Although the goverment owns the land, the trail it's self would not exist were it not for the scores of volunteers who put thier time and money in the maintanence of the trail and shelters. Even in the National parks, the AT and shelters are maintaned by volunteers. The park service does not have the funds or the man power to do it for us. If it were not for these dedicated clubs and volunteers, there would be no trail for you to enjoy. If you don't want to pay back to the trail, that is up to you, but be really gratefull to those who do.

I figure the least I can do is a little brushing along the way and to kick sticks or move tree limbs out of the way as I go along. If there is a simple problem I can stop and fix, I will do it so those who come behind me have an easier time of it. Heck, one year there were so many blow downs along the trail I bought a little saw and cleared one or two trees from across the trail nearly every day for about 200 miles.

Sierra2015
02-19-2014, 17:24
Oh, everyone is butt hurt over what Flash said.
I don't think it's just Flash, though she is rather aggressive with her probing. :p

ki0eh
02-19-2014, 17:28
Hiking is a cheap hobby that attracts cheap people. Nearly everything you see on the trail (turnpiking, water bars, rock steps, shelters, privies, blazes) and what you don't see (blowdowns, encroaching brush, litter, encroachments from neighboring properties) was put there or taken away by volunteer trail maintainers. The corridor connecting all the blazes is continuous through involvement of many governmental and private organizations who have decided the A.T. was worth protecting. No one is required, but all hikers should consider some form of contribution to the Trail project that would not exist but for private contributions of time and a little bit of treasure. The Red Cross, food banks, etc. need and deserve a lot more money for their functions, but we all need some way to connect with nature and the outdoors so we should all consider dooing what we can to ensure the Trail (and the other trails) are there for us and for others as it has been for us.

Don H
02-19-2014, 17:32
Talking about the other thread.

OK so it was suggested to buy the LT guide if you're going to hike it and the money goes to the trail.
The AT Companion is the same thing.
I don't see the problem.

Happy44
02-19-2014, 17:39
if whiteblaze was the world, dogwood would be a late in life Napoleon Bonaparte

Prime Time
02-19-2014, 17:40
I think it's a very unfair argument to equate the bad behavior you describe with someone that doesn't want to donate back to the trail. I'm not saying those people don't exist...nor am I saying that those people do or do not give back...but it's certainly not true that everyone who doesn't give back is automatically an entitled lout.
You're right about that. Not all louts don't give back and not everyone who doesn't give back is a lout. The point I was trying to make, perhaps not very clearly, is many people on the trail when presented with an opportunity or an obligation to pay back choose not to or complain about it, or they complain about volunteer services not being up to their standard but still would never contribute. It was a downer for me to be bombarded with these sentiments on the trail. I'll go crawl back into my cave now:)

Sierra2015
02-19-2014, 17:43
if whiteblaze was the world, dogwood would be a late in life Napoleon Bonaparte
Short and in possession of a complex?

mak1277
02-19-2014, 17:49
You're right about that. Not all louts don't give back and not everyone who doesn't give back is a lout. The point I was trying to make, perhaps not very clearly, is many people on the trail when presented with an opportunity or an obligation to pay back choose not to or complain about it, or they complain about volunteer services not being up to their standard but still would never contribute. It was a downer for me to be bombarded with these sentiments on the trail. I'll go crawl back into my cave now:)

Makes sense to me...I certainly agree that the behavior described would bug the heck out of me too!

Seatbelt
02-19-2014, 17:52
I figure the least I can do is a little brushing along the way and to kick sticks or move tree limbs out of the way as I go along. If there is a simple problem I can stop and fix, I will do it so those who come behind me have an easier time of it. Heck, one year there were so many blow downs along the trail I bought a little saw and cleared one or two trees from across the trail nearly every day for about 200 miles.
This is partly what I was referring to in post #13. I do this also. I also donate time to our local trailclubs for various activities. The AT is a long ways from home.

Dogwood
02-19-2014, 19:54
Obviously, some wish to attack me now. Some of you are like wash woman wanting to drag me into your soap opera hiking drama. Arguments, contentious debates, taking offense, complaining, being annoyed, angry, frustrated, etc seems to be the order of the day.

Don't confuse what I said. Read the very brief respectful exchange Alpine Bomber and I had AND DO NOT CONFUSE WHAT I SAID WITH WHAT ANYONE ELSE HAS SAID TO ALPINE BOMBER on that LT water thread OR the REI credit application thread AP started. Read my comments to her on both threads. I stand by what I said. People put her on the spot on both threads going so far as what I too would consider attacking her. That wasn't me! I think she handled herself extremely well. IMHO, she demonstrates a whole lot more maturity and conscientiousness than many.

Someone started a thread mentioning not wanting to buy "expensive" books. I didn't know what she means by too expensive so I told her where she could get a LT book for under $20. I see them being sold for under $17. In that book is the water info, in detail, she wanted. I also made a brief comment addressing her water question. I thought that might be helpful to mention especially in regards to a tight budget. I did nudge her a bit reminding her paying for this book can help support the trail shes on. I NEVER said it was a requirement for her to buy a book to support the LT. That wasn't trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone; that was attempting to make someone aware of giving back. She came back telling me she supports trails in her own way. In hindsight, I didn't need to say that to AP - WHY - because she already knew it! :) She's already giving back on her terms. Giving shouldn't be something that is forced upon someone. That's extortion. She showed us how conscientious she is, more so than some others. If it's taken offensively when someone is attempting to remind others that hiking isn't all about taking that's there problem. Just my 2 cts.

Sierra2015
02-19-2014, 20:32
This thread is about nickel and diming good cents.

Alpine Bomber
02-19-2014, 20:38
I think it's time for me to weigh in, since I'm the partial reason for this post. First of all, I'd like to let Dogwood off the hook. He meant well, even though it may have come off a little guilt-trippy. That happens to the best of us online at times. Not only did he send me a personal message to clear things up (I tried to respond but your inbox is full), he also offered to let me use HIS copy of the book in questions. That offer of a little trail magic is exactly what I love seeing on White Blaze. I think this site would be a lot better off if we has a touch more trail magic and a whole lot less name-calling and personal attacks. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and remained positive, but perhaps instead of 'Should hikers be required to pay or give back to the trail?' we could discuss the best ways of doing so. Slo-go'en suggested carrying pruning shears, we've all mentioned buying merchandise from the clubs maintaining trails, I'm inclined to think that even just the know-how experienced hikers share with newbies on this website constitutes giving back. I don't get out to long distances trails often, but I do maintenance on the trails in my area. Does anyone have any great ways to give back?

Thanks everyone,
-Alpine Bomber

rickb
02-19-2014, 20:40
"Giving Back" sort of implies that you should give because you get. In a quid pro quo sort of way.

The entire premise behind that way of thinking is flawed.

As for the AT, anyone else notice that many doing the most maintenance often don't have so many miles on their CV. Really amazing and wonderful, that.

Wolf - 23000
02-19-2014, 21:16
So if I enjoy a walk around my block, do I have a similar moral obligation to give extra money to my HOA every year? This is ludicrous.

Does your HOA have to maintain the roadways? or spend money to clear the road if it is blocked. Or if someone need emergency service cover the cost?

Most likely, no to everything. HOA job is position is keeping the property value up. They would like you to believe different, but most HOA areas are maintain using public fund. A different mission then trying to protect and preserve a trail or the public to enjoy.

Every year the trail needs to be cleared, blazes painted, the boundary area needs to be marked (not often seen from the trail). And of course protecting the trail. There are many stretch of trail, companies would love to build up. Some very beautiful section of trails were lost forever due to legal battles - trails clubs did not have the funding to fight.

My question to you is you pay your HOA dues to protect the area you call home. If your hiking and living on the trail for 6 months why would you not feel you should not pay a due to protect it?

Wolf

hikerboy57
02-19-2014, 21:22
people "give back" in many ways that dont involve money or trail maintenance, and it still helps support the trail and trail community. this could be turning one's kids and others onto the natural world,increased awareness of our own impact on ecosystems and the environment,or coming on to whiteblaze to share experience and knowledge.

Wolf - 23000
02-19-2014, 21:28
"Giving Back" sort of implies that you should give because you get. In a quid pro quo sort of way.

The entire premise behind that way of thinking is flawed.

As for the AT, anyone else notice that many doing the most maintenance often don't have so many miles on their CV. Really amazing and wonderful, that.

rickb,

I can see you point about a quid pro quo so how about a different way of looking it.

Many maintenancers, as you said, don't have many miles on their CV but they are doing something they believe in. If you believe in a cause why not support it? There are different ways to show your support. Some help out by maintaining the trail, others by joining ATC or (other trail clubs).

Wolf

Cosmo
02-19-2014, 22:00
AAKKK! As a volunteer with well over 500 hrs per year working on and for the Trail, I'd say the LAST thing we'd want is for people to give (time, money, other support) because they feel they HAVE to, or feel 'guilty' about 'using' the Trail. Give because you love the Trail (be it the footpath itself, the protected lands that support it, or the experience you had/are having/will have), and want to see it continue to exist for others.

A gift of your time is probably the most highly valued, but many don't live close enough to make that possible. Money is a good second best--my personal feeling is that donations directly to a club do the most good--but ATC is an important and major part of the "three legged stool" of trail management (ATC, Clubs and Agency Partners (US Forest Service, National Park Service and various State Agencies, depending on where you are))--so don't think a donation there is "wasted".

The notion that your tax dollar pays for the trail is not false, but consider the percentage of the Federal outlay (deficits, yes they exist) that goes to support the 8 person NPS AT office, and a few staff in various National Forests. It doesn't even register compared to the rest of the budget. The AT is one of the largest parks in the NPS systems in terms of boundary, miles of trail and even land under management. Thanks to a volunteer "staff" of over 6000 people, that small office is keeps one of the country's most iconic recreational resources open for business 24/7/365 (even during the 'shutdown', the trail was essentially open and functioning).

Cosmo

Second Hand
02-19-2014, 22:02
I think one of the great things about the AT is that anyone can pull up their car and take their kids for a day hike. I would hate it if we were charged a fee to use the trail.

That said, most people on this site are more than day hikers. The trail is a bigger part of our lives. No one should be obligated to pay anything, but the trail has given me an awful lot and I feel a sense of duty to donate time, $ and pay forward trail magic.

Bucketfoot
02-19-2014, 22:16
Thank you for your post Cosmo! Without the ATC the trail maintainers and the maintaining clubs the trail would not be nearly what it is. Its not all govt. funded. I believe I read recently that the ATC has purchased over 30,000 acres to protect the trail in addition to all the other things they do. If we waited for the federal gov. to fund and do all the work on the trail it would be a mess. Thank You ATC, Thank You trail maintainers and Thank You trail clubs for all that you do.

MuddyWaters
02-19-2014, 22:17
Should people be required to pay or give back to the trail? (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?101814-Should-people-be-required-to-pay-or-give-back-to-the-trail/page3)
Of course not.

But it sure would be nice if everyone were intelligent enough to appreciate the contributions that others make so that they can enjoy the trail.

HikerMom58
02-19-2014, 22:30
I think one of the great things about the AT is that anyone can pull up their car and take their kids for a day hike. I would hate it if we were charged a fee to use the trail.

That said, most people on this site are more than day hikers. The trail is a bigger part of our lives. No one should be obligated to pay anything, but the trail has given me an awful lot and I feel a sense of duty to donate time, $ and pay forward trail magic.

After reading this post, I think I have a better understanding of this thread... maybe.

Okay so, I don't feel like I'm obligated to the trail or I owe the trail anything as "payment" for the benefit I've received from it.

Having said that, it's a natural process/feeling that motivates me to give back to the trail itself & the people that hike/love it.

The act of "giving back" looks different for every individual. Cool. I like that.

This giving not only makes the person on the receiving end feel good but also the giver. I like that as well. :)

winger
02-19-2014, 22:52
Join the ATC.

kayak karl
02-19-2014, 23:00
give back by teaching the youth about the outdoors and the importance of preserving it.

Second Hand
02-19-2014, 23:29
Hikermom - Totally with you! And by the way your one of my favorite posters on this site! Your positive, upbeat and have a good attitude about the trail and people in general.

For what it's worth Slo-go-en and Dogwood are also on my list of favorites. They have a lot of experience and I find their posts to be to the point and very informative... and drama seems to follow Dogwood's posts which is always fun!

Kayak - Couldn't agree with you more. I have a 1 year old (16 months actually) and the thing I look forward to the most is taking him backpacking. Since we are sending praise to WF folks, I admire Teacher and Snack time for that and really hope my son gets the same joy out of the trail that snack time does!

Ok, that's enough name dropping for one post.

Teacher & Snacktime
02-20-2014, 00:20
give back by teaching the youth about the outdoors and the importance of preserving it.

+ 1,000,000


Kayak - Couldn't agree with you more. I have a 1 year old (16 months actually) and the thing I look forward to the most is taking him backpacking.

You'll love every minute of it, and get to see everything as fresh and new in their eyes!

4eyedbuzzard
02-20-2014, 05:00
Want to give back to the trail really easily with no muss or fuss or anything? Take a small trash bag with you on every hike, pick up litter along the trail and at shelters and such, and haul it out. Given all of our uberlightweight gear, we can all probably haul an extra pound or two of trash out of the woods.

Now, back to finding a small island to exile Dogwood Bonaparte to. Wait, he's already living in Hawaii. All of a sudden, getting exiled doesn't sound so bad.

Sierra2015
02-20-2014, 05:29
Want to give back to the trail really easily with no muss or fuss or anything? Take a small trash bag with you on every hike, pick up litter along the trail and at shelters and such, and haul it out. Given all of our uberlightweight gear, we can all probably haul an extra pound or two of trash out of the woods.

Now, back to finding a small island to exile Dogwood Bonaparte to. Wait, he's already living in Hawaii. All of a sudden, getting exiled doesn't sound so bad.
I read that in AWOL's book and I decided that's what I'm going to do when I walk it. (My favorite part was when he realized he dropped his own trash while he was picking up litter. Haha)

4eyedbuzzard
02-20-2014, 05:39
I read that in AWOL's book and I decided that's what I'm going to do when I walk it. (My favorite part was when he realized he dropped his own trash while he was picking up litter. Haha)

Ed Garvey did it on his 1970 hike. I wonder if AWOL picked up on his idea, or just had the same thought. Garvey said that at times there was more than he could haul in one bag. Amazingly, litter seems to be a constant across the decades.

Sierra2015
02-20-2014, 06:08
Ed Garvey did it on his 1970 hike. I wonder if AWOL picked up on his idea, or just had the same thought. Garvey said that at times there was more than he could haul in one bag. Amazingly, litter seems to be a constant across the decades.
Was that before or after the crying Indian? :p

I don't think I can be as diligent as Garvey and I doubt I have enough intestinal fortitude in me to pick up tons of dirty things. But I'll try my best to gather plastics.

I don't understand how people can just discard their trash in a public place. Just seems... trashy.

Hill Ape
02-20-2014, 07:06
I don't understand how people can just discard their trash in a public place. Just seems... trashy.

They don't call them hiker trash for nothing. They got that name the old fashioned way, they eeeaaarrrnnneeeddd it.

rickb
02-20-2014, 07:52
Want to give back to the trail really easily with no muss or fuss or anything? Take a small trash bag with you on every hike, pick up litter along the trail and at shelters and such, and haul it out. Given all of our uberlightweight gear, we can all probably haul an extra pound or two of trash out of the woods.

I see hardly any litter along the AT and other trails in New England-- just the odd and rare wrapper that probably was dropped by accident. Not much in shelters, either.

Is litter really a problem along the Trail in other areas?

kayak karl
02-20-2014, 08:03
the closer the trail runs to roads the more liter. also trail heads, but blue blazed trails can be cleaned too. oh wait, they are not the AT.

StealthHikerBoy
02-20-2014, 08:16
Well, 18 of the 67 posts on this thread are from donating members to White Blaze, which costs $10 a year. Clearly people don't feel a huge obligation to give back voluntarily, let alone by being required to do so.

Sierra2015
02-20-2014, 09:01
Well, 18 of the 67 posts on this thread are from donating members to White Blaze, which costs $10 a year. Clearly people don't feel a huge obligation to give back voluntarily, let alone by being required to do so.
Hey now! It's not truly philanthropic if you self-congratulate. :p

saltysack
02-20-2014, 10:25
If everyone would not only pack out all their garbage out BUT also pick up at least one thing left behind by someone else. It would greatly benefit the trail and others wilderness experience. Nothing worse than being in the solitude of the trail and finding trash left behind..I always pack out more than I brought in.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Slo-go'en
02-20-2014, 10:27
I also find remarkably little litter on the actual trail, just the occasional stray wrapper. Shelters are another matter entirely. For some reason many people seem to think that is an approperate place to leave garbage. One sees that a lot in the south if you follow behind the early hiker bubble. Maybe it's the cold or all the inexperianced hikers starting out. Either way, it's sad to see.

Tuckahoe
02-20-2014, 11:20
Well, 18 of the 67 posts on this thread are from donating members to White Blaze, which costs $10 a year. Clearly people don't feel a huge obligation to give back voluntarily, let alone by being required to do so.

Well I didn't donate, I paid $10 so I can have the edit button.

Drybones
02-20-2014, 14:05
I also find remarkably little litter on the actual trail, just the occasional stray wrapper. Shelters are another matter entirely. For some reason many people seem to think that is an approperate place to leave garbage. One sees that a lot in the south if you follow behind the early hiker bubble. Maybe it's the cold or all the inexperianced hikers starting out. Either way, it's sad to see.

Likely could be the mass numbers that start at Springer, the farther north you go the fewer hikers you see because most have gone home.

Drybones
02-20-2014, 14:07
Other than an occassional wrapper that drops from a pocket and the shelters I see very little trash, did pick up a $10 and $20 bill early one morning on the trail, thought I'd do my duty and clean the trail by picking it up.

Sara
02-20-2014, 14:14
If everyone would not only pack out all their garbage out BUT also pick up at least one thing left behind by someone else. It would greatly benefit the trail and others wilderness experience. Nothing worse than being in the solitude of the trail and finding trash left behind..I always pack out more than I brought in.


Great idea saltysack! I'll commit to picking up at least one piece of someone else's trash each day to pack out while on my thru-hike this year. :sun

Happy44
02-20-2014, 14:19
Great idea saltysack! I'll commit to picking up at least one piece of someone else's trash each day to pack out while on my thru-hike this year. :sun

im with you sara, i made this same comment earlier in a thread i made this morning , when we hit 2185 the trial will be clean :)

Sara
02-20-2014, 14:26
im with you sara, i made this same comment earlier in a thread i made this morning , when we hit 2185 the trial will be clean :)

Cheers Happy44! :D

Rocket Jones
02-20-2014, 15:22
I pack out trash I find, and in no-burn areas I'll remove traces of fire rings and scatter the rocks.

Dogwood
02-20-2014, 15:55
This is where I hoped this would go - folks being conscientious enough that they are supporting backpacking in whatever way is individually acceptable. It was never my intention to lay a guilt trip on anyone but to raise awareness of how we can give back to a cause most of us believe in. I love the AT. I know folks frazzled lives can be improved by reconnecting with nature through backpacking through the "AT experience."

Think about the early history of the AT, before Earl Schaffer did the first AT thru-hike. The trail basically had gotten overgrown and in some places was basically a bushwack. Why do you think that was? IMO, it was, at least in part, because the AT didn't have the trail support that it now has. Earl's thru-hike changed the awareness of the AT and what was possible. IMO, it, in part, led to the AT we love and know today. The AT, and other trails, wouldn't exist without the appreciation and support of many many folks. I want to always be mindful of that, not take that for granted, and not be so concerned about other folks getting offended when I tell them this.

Tuckahoe
02-20-2014, 16:04
Dogwood, I think you're skipping an important part of the AT's story prior to Shaffer's 1947 hike and that very simply the Second World War. Who in their right mind would have spent their energies and limited resources on such a concept at that point in our history? It as not for the lack of love we had too many other things to worry about as a nation. What about that early development in the midst of the Depression and then it's postbellum restoration?

Dogwood
02-20-2014, 16:04
For me, supporting trails is important. I live a few hours from the AT so it's usually easier to give financially when I can't make it out there. I think it's important to be a member of the ATC or one of the trail clubs. I do the same thing with IMBA but do help with trail maintenance because they are right in my back yard.

Notice what I said there. Me and I. I feel that way. You shouldn't worry about what I think or what anybody else thinks. There's no reason to be offended by the opinions of others, especially on the internet.

Now, the question is, did you write this out of a little guilt, or did someone offend you on the internet? Either way, if you think you're doing it right, and you're not keeping anyone else from doing it how they think is right, there's not a problem. I say just let it go.

That seems like good advice! I share your passion Kennajm.

Dogwood
02-20-2014, 16:36
Since you asked, no not a bit of guilt, just a deep sense of disgust that anyone would guilt another into buying something she does not need no ever use just because she is using the trail and 'should give back'.

I almost threw up over this.

I would like to respond to this. Yes, Starchild I did push a bit on Alpine Bomber's LT Water thread with all of a half sentence regarding supporting the trail she wants to thru-hike. You construed my post to her as laying a guilt trip on her by solely looking at that half a sentence. I accept your opinion of my intention but I've further clarified my intention in hope that it would help. You do seem offended(quite offended) despite what you said to Kennajm.

However, I disagree with your assessment that I've bold typed. Here's what AP said in her opening post on her thread.


Hey guys, I'm planning an LT thru-hike this summer, but don't necessarily need 2 expensive books and a map to do it. I picked up the LT Map, and it looks like it has all the information I really need on it except for water sources. Is it safe to assume that every shelter has a water source (unless of course there's a drought)? Also, are there any particularly unreliable ones? i have AWOL, so I really only need information on the middle and northern sections.
Thanks!
-Alpine Bomber

See what I highlighted in bold? Those water questions, which is what her thread was about!, are certainly EXACTLY addressed in good detail in Green Mountain Club's the Long Trail End-To-Enders Guide and Long Trail Guide which I have in front of me right now. So, to say she has no need or could ever use the water info in both these publications isn't accurate.

Have you thru-hiked the Long Trail during different times of the yr when water availability can change? Do you know some Long Trail water sources become unreliable during certain yrs or certain times of the yr? Do you have either of the publications I mentioned? Do you know what information is contained in either one of those publications that could assist someone asking Alpine Bombers's questions or desiring a thru-hike of the Long Trail? Do you think it could be helpful to her if she had either of these publications? I do. I'm loaning her my books.

Teacher & Snacktime
02-20-2014, 16:46
On our first hike I picked up a piece of paper that turned out to be an elevation map of the section we were hiking. I'd misplaced my guide pages and this was trail magic!

rocketsocks
02-20-2014, 17:24
On our first hike I picked up a piece of paper that turned out to be an elevation map of the section we were hiking. I'd misplaced my guide pages and this was trail magic!
Yes it is. Found a dollar once, didn't need it, so I put a little hole in the middle and stuck it on a branch. Last week I found a five spot while on a walk, I needed it, so in the pocket it went....and so it goes.

Sly
02-20-2014, 17:58
People that have hiked long distances on the trail without developing the feeling they should give something back, are oblivious or haven't hiked enough

mfleming
02-20-2014, 18:55
Yes!!! And I do that by paying my taxes every year!

RED-DOG
02-20-2014, 19:35
It's all up to each person, Some do some don't.

Starchild
02-20-2014, 20:07
People that have hiked long distances on the trail without developing the feeling they should give something back, are oblivious or haven't hiked enough

I do wonder if some end up giving back to something else entirely and there may be some that give back to the trail from experience in something totally separate.

Lone Wolf
02-20-2014, 21:03
People that have hiked long distances on the trail without developing the feeling they should give something back, are oblivious or haven't hiked enough
disagree..........

Drybones
02-20-2014, 21:35
disagree..........

I agree with your disagreement.

Almost There
02-20-2014, 21:41
If it weren't for the hikers then there would be no reason to maintain the trail, or for the government to continue to support its existence. I've heard Bob Peoples say numerous times that the maintainers need the hikers just as much as the hikers need the maintainers. In many ways it is a symbiotic relationship. Personally, I do believe in supporting trail organizations, and do so annually with money, because I don't have the time to give at this time in my life. We all do what we love, and get something out of it.

No one should be obligated to give back, and no one should feel guilty if they don't. Maintainers don't do what they do against their will, and most volunteers, trail angels, etc do what they do also for the enjoyment they get out of it.

I agree with Kayak Karl that the best thing I could do would be to foster a love of the outdoors/trails in my sons. If I can do that then perhaps I've helped to ensure there will be future generations of hikers and/or maintainers to care for that which we all love.

handlebar
02-20-2014, 21:41
The original question on this post was, "Should people be required to give back, either through volunteer work or donations?". My position is: Absolutely Not. For people to "be required", there would have to be an enforcement organization. We already have way too many enforcement organizations in this country.

On the other hand, I firmly believe those who have benefited from the volunteer efforts that built the AT and hundreds of other trails throughout our country should have sufficient appreciation of their good fortune to have the Trail to hike and the trail experience to enjoy that they will express their appreciation by giving of their time, talent, and/or treasure so that others may also enjoy the AT or another trail, perhaps one that is in their neighborhood.

I actually joined an AT Volunteer Trail Crew (www.appalachiantrail.org/volunteer) program for 2 weeks the year before I thru hiked and found I enjoyed the experience so much I signed up for another two weeks that year. In all, I've donated more than 1/2 year of full time labor to the AT and other trails in the last 9 years. I'm fortunate that I have had the time, good health, and financial resources to do that. Few people do, but everyone can clear a branch from the trail, kick out a clogged water bar, pick up litter, make a small contribution to the ATC or another trail organization, write a note of thanks to a trail maintaining club, buy a trail guide and mapset from a trail organization, etc.

Some posters have indicated a view that their tax money pays for the trails. I can assure them that their tax money doesn't provide the labor to build, relocate, or maintain the AT or for the sections of the North Country Trail in Western PA and eastern OH. This is a volunteer effort by local trail clubs and their members. A few years ago, the Keystone Trails Association gave me a T-shirt after a weekend trail crew. On it is the motto: "Trails don't build themselves." We should all keep that in mind as we enjoy a trip along America's trails.

Dogwood
02-20-2014, 22:07
Dogwood, I think you're skipping an important part of the AT's story prior to Shaffer's 1947 hike and that very simply the Second World War. Who in their right mind would have spent their energies and limited resources on such a concept at that point in our history? It as not for the lack of love we had too many other things to worry about as a nation. What about that early development in the midst of the Depression and then it's postbellum restoration?

You're right Tuckahoe. I did forget about the timing in our nation's history. You do prove the pt though that trails don't maintain and are preserved by themselves. Resources are needed. Thankfully, so many do care enough that the AT has been able to survive through all these yrs and change as other things in this country have changed.

Sly
02-20-2014, 22:25
Yes!!! And I do that by paying my taxes every year!

Your taxes do NOT maintain the trail.

mak1277
02-20-2014, 23:17
People figured out how to walk outside before there was a trail. I'm sure we'd manage if there were no trail maintainers.

4eyedbuzzard
02-21-2014, 06:38
Your taxes do NOT maintain the trail.

True to some degree. But taxes do support the NPS, USFS, and other agencies without whom there would be no trail. Tax dollars are used to appropriate corridor lands, build and maintain parking areas, pay park personnel, manage usage, fund research, etc. It takes federal and state governments, ATC, and local clubs to make it what it is. All have their roles, and they're all important.

rickb
02-21-2014, 07:02
People figured out how to walk outside before there was a trail. I'm sure we'd manage if there were no trail maintainers.

i think we owe the maintainers far more than we realize. Paint fades, blowdowns spread and when people stop coming on a regular basis the way is lost for good.


http://www.whitemountainlosttrails.com/index.aspx

mak1277
02-21-2014, 09:09
i think we owe the maintainers far more than we realize. Paint fades, blowdowns spread and when people stop coming on a regular basis the way is lost for good.


http://www.whitemountainlosttrails.com/index.aspx

I agree with what you've written...I guess my bigger point was that (personally) if the AT disappeared I'd just find somewhere else to walk. I don't have any personal connection with the AT more than any other random trail I've backpacked along. I know that's not the case for many, especially the thrus, but for me, it's just another place to walk in the woods, and not typically even my first choice of places.

mfleming
02-21-2014, 12:25
i think we owe the maintainers far more than we realize. Paint fades, blowdowns spread and when people stop coming on a regular basis the way is lost for good.


http://www.whitemountainlosttrails.com/index.aspx

Agreed!!!!!!!

Sly
02-21-2014, 13:11
People figured out how to walk outside before there was a trail. I'm sure we'd manage if there were no trail maintainers.

You're taking trails for granted. Trails don't just happen. While you certainly could randomly walk around in the words it wouldn't be easy.

full conditions
02-21-2014, 13:25
You're taking trails for granted. Trails don't just happen. While you certainly could randomly walk around in the words it wouldn't be easy.
Right on Sly. If this forum had a like button I'd be hitting it repeatedly right about now. The whole notion of gratitude seems to be missing from a surprising and dissapointing number of folks on this forum. Although, now that I think about it, society wide - takers are in abundance and givers relatively rare. I just had hoped that it would be different here.

mak1277
02-21-2014, 13:46
You're taking trails for granted. Trails don't just happen. While you certainly could randomly walk around in the words it wouldn't be easy.

Sure it would be harder, but that's not relevant to my point of view. The existence of the AT (or any other individual trail) doesn't impact my time spent in the outdoors. I'd still go out and walk no matter what.

I certainly appreciate the volunteer work that goes into the trail, don't get me wrong. I just feel no obligation to support that work with my money. As I stated earlier in the thread, there are so many causes that I find more worthwhile when it comes to where I put my money.

4eyedbuzzard
02-21-2014, 13:48
You're taking trails for granted. Trails don't just happen. While you certainly could randomly walk around in the words it wouldn't be easy.

http://chrisblattman.com/files/2011/07/facebook_like_button_big1.jpg

Coffee
02-21-2014, 13:51
Sure it would be harder, but that's not relevant to my point of view. The existence of the AT (or any other individual trail) doesn't impact my time spent in the outdoors. I'd still go out and walk no matter what.

I certainly appreciate the volunteer work that goes into the trail, don't get me wrong. I just feel no obligation to support that work with my money. As I stated earlier in the thread, there are so many causes that I find more worthwhile when it comes to where I put my money.

How could the existence of a maintained trail with established right of way not impact time spent outdoors? Unmaintained trails, long road walks, murky right of way issues, and numerous other factors would at the very least make hiking less enjoyable and it would likely require more time to cover similar distances.

mak1277
02-21-2014, 13:58
How could the existence of a maintained trail with established right of way not impact time spent outdoors? Unmaintained trails, long road walks, murky right of way issues, and numerous other factors would at the very least make hiking less enjoyable and it would likely require more time to cover similar distances.

The National Park system isn't going to disappear if we stop funding AT trail clubs. National Forests and BLM areas are not going to disappear if the AT becomes overgrown.

Yes, if your goal is to walk from Georgia to Maine, not having the AT would make it harder/impossible. But if your goal is to enjoy being outdoors...away from people...walking around the forests and mountains of the country, then there would still be plenty of places to do that. I know you hiked the JMT...do you think John Muir was worried about having a maintained trail?

4eyedbuzzard
02-21-2014, 14:03
I agree with what you've written...I guess my bigger point was that (personally) if the AT disappeared I'd just find somewhere else to walk. I don't have any personal connection with the AT more than any other random trail I've backpacked along. I know that's not the case for many, especially the thrus, but for me, it's just another place to walk in the woods, and not typically even my first choice of places.I note that you live in VA, and perhaps live close to many trails. But it isn't the same everywhere. Until recently I lived in northern NH, where I could access 100's of different trails including the AT within 1/2 an hour to an hour's drive. I moved to Dallas/Ft. Worth where there is little if any public land or hiking trails (in the sense of wilderness experience/overnight hiking like the AT and the many local trails that make up the eastern system). If the AT disappeared, it would also likely be one of the last of such places to disappear. It would all be gone. We are as a nation very arrogant in our assumptions regarding land open to public use for hiking/camping/backcountry use. Ask hikers from Europe or other foreign countries - trails like the AT and our other national trails in the system are a treasure that we too often take for granted.

mak1277
02-21-2014, 14:09
If the AT disappeared, it would also likely be one of the last of such places to disappear.

I think the AT would be likely to disappear long before the national parks.

Coffee
02-21-2014, 14:10
The National Park system isn't going to disappear if we stop funding AT trail clubs. National Forests and BLM areas are not going to disappear if the AT becomes overgrown.

Yes, if your goal is to walk from Georgia to Maine, not having the AT would make it harder/impossible. But if your goal is to enjoy being outdoors...away from people...walking around the forests and mountains of the country, then there would still be plenty of places to do that. I know you hiked the JMT...do you think John Muir was worried about having a maintained trail?

I'm not sure whether John Muir cared much about having a maintained trail for his own use (probably not) but obviously the Sierra Club played a major role in establishing and maintaining trails, and named a major one after John Muir.

For most people, having trails that are at least somewhat maintained is necessary and a lack of trails would be an obstacle. I know that is true for me. Only a small percentage of hikers are competent when it comes to off trail travel.

mak1277
02-21-2014, 14:15
I'm not sure whether John Muir cared much about having a maintained trail for his own use (probably not) but obviously the Sierra Club played a major role in establishing and maintaining trails, and named a major one after John Muir.

For most people, having trails that are at least somewhat maintained is necessary and a lack of trails would be an obstacle. I know that is true for me. Only a small percentage of hikers are competent when it comes to off trail travel.

That's fine, and I'm sure you're right. I am only trying to make a point that have a well-maintained trail is far from a necessity for outdoor enjoyment for every single user of the AT. And as such, not everyone should feel some sense of moral obligation to give back to a trail club or other organization...especially when there are for more important uses for our charity money.

4eyedbuzzard
02-21-2014, 14:17
I think the AT would be likely to disappear long before the national parks.Probably. But the AT would be the very last of the national trails to disappear. And for whatever reason that could/might happen, would mean that there would have to have been a massive shift in U.S. interior policy. That the Park or Forest systems would resemble anything like what exists today under such a draconian policy shift would be doubtful.

Coffee
02-21-2014, 14:21
That's fine, and I'm sure you're right. I am only trying to make a point that have a well-maintained trail is far from a necessity for outdoor enjoyment for every single user of the AT. And as such, not everyone should feel some sense of moral obligation to give back to a trail club or other organization...especially when there are for more important uses for our charity money.

I don't disagree - there is no obligation. I haven't yet donated to any AT organizations although I have purchased a number of PATC products. I have allocated my charitable donations elsewhere up to this point.

Wolf - 23000
02-21-2014, 14:52
The National Park system isn't going to disappear if we stop funding AT trail clubs. National Forests and BLM areas are not going to disappear if the AT becomes overgrown.

Yes, if your goal is to walk from Georgia to Maine, not having the AT would make it harder/impossible. But if your goal is to enjoy being outdoors...away from people...walking around the forests and mountains of the country, then there would still be plenty of places to do that. I know you hiked the JMT...do you think John Muir was worried about having a maintained trail?

Does a Mt. Oglethorpe, Georgia ring a bell. Mt. Oglethorpe use to be the start of the Appalachian Trail for those that don't know. I much nicer starting/finishing place for the AT. Sort of like the Mount K. of Georgia. The land was lost when the trail club did not have the funds to fight a legal challenge over the land with a devoloper company. The trail was then moved to the next mountain top, Springer Mount - Yes Amicalola Falls use to be part of the Appalachian Trail. Killington, VT is another place. The trail had a beautiful view right near the submit. Now it was pushed down in the valley.

Years ago a non-hiker co-worker told me, "If you wanted to walk the East Cost just walk I-95." My point being is there are many business and people that do not see a need to have a wilderness trail. Their answer is why.

John Muir was also in a different age than now. The wilderness is disappearing. There have been a lot of beautiful section of the AT or the PCT that have been lost due to legal battles, clear cutted or seriously burned.

If those of us that care about the trail are not willing to help out then who will?

Wolf

Prime Time
02-21-2014, 15:55
I guess to me the real question is should people who hike on the AT give back in some way. Forget the have to part. there are lot's of things you shouldn't have to do, you just should do them. This is one of them in my opinion.

LAF
02-21-2014, 16:31
Require me to do anything and I'm likely to rebel ;) . Should we give back to the trail? Yes, but we can each do it in our own way just as we all walk our own paths.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

McPick
02-21-2014, 16:47
From a bit of a different perspective... In '06 water was scarce along parts of the AT in PA. I recall finding 10 or 12 gallon jugs of fresh water near a road crossing with a note from 2 young girls (maybe 10 and 12 years old). They wrote that their father had hiked the AT several years before and had expressed concern to them that the (then) water shortage had created a dangerous situation for hikers. (So true!) The girls hit on the plan to fill gallon jugs with fresh water and leave them at the road crossing where hikers would likely find them. The girls used crayons to draw pictures of themselves, which were included in the message.

Let me tell you that that water was much appreciated. But more to the point, I realized how important a gallon of fresh water really is. So here's my daily "give back." It tales almost exactly a gallon of water to get from my water heater to my kitchen sink. I keep several empty gallon jugs nearby. When I need hot water at the kitchen sink, I run the tap into a gallon jug, purging and saving the cold water. On my next trip to my laundry room, I take the salvaged water with me to use in the washing machine.

Insignificant? Maybe. I guess it depends on your perspective. As is how you define "pay or give back." However when estimating how many gallons of water I 'repurpose' in a year it pleases me that I read the note from those two thoughtful girls... And enjoyed their water!

And on picking up trash along the trail, I agree that there was less and less the further north I hiked. It got down to just the odd bit of candy or power bar wrapper that I figured must have fallen from a pocket, or similar.

I did reach down under a fern to grab a bit of trash and came up with an electronic something-or-another that showed the time, temp, date, etc, etc, etc but also has an altimeter that not only displays the feet/meters in elevation, but also draws a graph that shows the mountain ranges as one assents and descends. I never cleared the face after climbing Mt Washington, but the unit was a bit heavy. I mailed it home with some other stuff shortly thereafter.

Sly
02-21-2014, 20:40
I certainly appreciate the volunteer work that goes into the trail, don't get me wrong. I just feel no obligation to support that work with my money. As I stated earlier in the thread, there are so many causes that I find more worthwhile when it comes to where I put my money.

Who said anything about money? It's not like you have to tip the maintainer as you pass by, try joining them someday. Or contribute time in an office environment at Harpers Ferry. Again, the trail maintaining clubs receive little if any tax money.

Hoofit
02-21-2014, 20:58
I paid for it in 'Blood, Sweat and Tears', ...and loved every minute of it.....well, most of it!

Dogwood
02-22-2014, 02:23
People figured out how to walk outside before there was a trail. I'm sure we'd manage if there were no trail maintainers.

Actually some people wouldn't. A maintained well blazed/signed decently graded trail makes hiking/backpacking more available and likely to a wider range of possible users. Some wouldn't get out and have wooded backpacking/hiking experiences unless there was maintained trail. It's not all about you - or me. It's more about opening up the activity to a wide group of people some of which are not as capable as you - or me. Maintained trails help do that.


...I guess my bigger point was that (personally) if the AT disappeared I'd just find somewhere else to walk.... but for me, it's just another place to walk in the woods, and not typically even my first choice of places.

Again, you're looking at backpacking only from your situation as backpacking applies to you. What about others and their desire to experience Nature and the outdoors in a wooded setting? Can't you see that not everyone who might want to be exposed to these things are like you - or me. Some are blind. Some are very overweight. Some are very young. Some are handicapped missing limbs. Some are in wheel chairs. Some are on crutches. Some don't have bushwacking or off trail navigational abilities. Some don't have or want to make the time to bushwack through a forest or over a steep wooded ridge. Some wouldn't want to or would have a much more difficult time experiencing hiking/backpacking if there weren't maintained trails.

Your answers begs the question, if you don't see the necessity of maintained trails why do you hike on trails?


You're taking trails for granted. Trails don't just happen. While you certainly could randomly walk around in the words it wouldn't be easy.

Ditto.


Sure it would be harder, but that's not relevant to my point of view. The existence of the AT (or any other individual trail) doesn't impact my time spent in the outdoors. I'd still go out and walk no matter what.

Again, were back to you. I'm noticing a trend here. Sure seems some others wouldn't have the same access to hiking/backpacking as you - or me -if there weren't maintained trails. Let's not kid ourselves; that's made to happen through a whole lot of support. I feel fortunate that I'm healthy, experienced, and skilled enough to follow my own way without a maintained trail but I'm not so short sighted to think everyone is in the same situation as me. At one time I wasn't able to do that. What made it more likely were the trails, some of them maintained, in the woods where I grew up.


I certainly appreciate the volunteer work that goes into the trail, don't get me wrong. I just feel no obligation to support that work with my money. As I stated earlier in the thread, there are so many causes that I find more worthwhile when it comes to where I put my money.

That's fine. There shouldn't be a moral obligation or requirement or even a pressure to support trails but obviously if all left it at that there would be no maintained trails, trails that you and I obviously enjoy hiking on or we wouldn't be hiking on them. Money isn't the only way to support trails though either. Others on this thread have found creative ways to support hiking/backpacking on trails, which they deem worthy, in non monetary ways. I've also witnessed Boy Scouts, homeless, hunters, fisherman, birders, botanists, cyclists, equestrians, southerners, yankees, historians, recovering addicts, Grandmothers/Grandfathers, children, and all manner of volunteers, etc, sometimes all working together, to support the trail simply by cleaning out fire rings and lean-tos, picking up trash, doing trail construction and maintenance, etc. To say supporting trails is about tax dollars or money and leaving it at that is missing the point on how trails exist. It misses the point on how the AT exists. In some ways it's disrespectful and unappreciative to all those who support the AT and maintain trails. I can't find that within me to do that to people who support all of us in our hiking and outdoors endeavors. I feel I'm part of a community part of a tribe. I feel the desire to give of myself unselfishly back to that community. It's not just about me. When I witness people getting out of their cars, walking down a trail into the wilderness, noticing their smiles and that something that happens to them that opens up their world taking them away from their TVs and computers and I KNOW that maintained trails are part of the reason why that's happening I know I'm doing the right thing by supporting trails.

John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, and one of the most important conservationist and naturalist in U.S. history, although desiring wilderness in it's purest form, often hiked on trails in northern Cali, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, Inyo National Forest, Ansel Adams Wilderness, probably in Scotland as a boy, Wisconsin, Canada, and on bits of trails in his 1000 mile walk from Indiana to Florida. He certainly didn't have a complete disdain for maintained trails. From what I've read of his views, it seems he thought maintained trails could be an entry door into Nature. I read nowhere where he said Nature, conservation, preservation and maintained trails had to be mutually exclusive. The Sierra Club states that they intend to stay true to the original goals of John Muir. They obviously support hiking and MANY trails - maintained trails - in MANY locations.

Bronk
02-22-2014, 14:53
More funding would cause more problems. What little can be done by volunteers and donations is enough. Money is seldom the real root of most problems.

4eyedbuzzard
02-22-2014, 20:22
Well, 18 of the 67 posts on this thread are from donating members to White Blaze, which costs $10 a year. Clearly people don't feel a huge obligation to give back voluntarily, let alone by being required to do so.You guilted me into donating (again - I haven't in a few years). Feel better now? ;)


Hey now! It's not truly philanthropic if you self-congratulate. :pMe: Thank you for donating Buzzard!
Me: Why you're quite welcome. And thank you for "giving back" to the trail as well.
Me: Damn, I'm a self-congratulatory trail philanthropist.
Me: Is that a Dx in the DSM?
Me: No, but having a conversation with yourself on an internet board is.


Well I didn't donate, I paid $10 so I can have the edit button.AND be able to ignore people and threads. Interestingly, while you can't put yourself on ignore (I looked/tried), but you can ignore threads that even you started (as in, why did I ever ask). The latter could prove handy . . .

Drybones
02-22-2014, 21:42
More funding would cause more problems. What little can be done by volunteers and donations is enough. Money is seldom the real root of most problems.

Agree....if they had the money the trail would be asphalted.

Another Kevin
02-22-2014, 23:25
Me, I feel a little guilty about not getting out to do trail work, but right now I'm in physical condition only to hike (slowly!) and the maintenance work is backbreaking. I do pay my dues to four of the clubs that maintain trails, and when I hike, I seldom leave the woods without a bag of other people's trash. I clear waterbars, move brush, and so on as I go. It's surely not enough to pay back, but at least it's something. Maybe in retirement (I'm of an age when I can count the years to retirement without taking my boots off) I'll have time for more.

Bronk
02-23-2014, 15:28
I seldom leave the woods without a bag of other people's trash. I clear waterbars, move brush, and so on as I go. It's surely not enough to pay back, but at least it's something.

I disagree. If everyone did what you describe, fixing what needs fixing as they go along then there wouldn't be much need for organized maintenence. I think that is plenty enough.

Sly
02-23-2014, 15:43
Me, I feel a little guilty about not getting out to do trail work, but right now I'm in physical condition only to hike (slowly!) and the maintenance work is backbreaking. I do pay my dues to four of the clubs that maintain trails, and when I hike, I seldom leave the woods without a bag of other people's trash. I clear waterbars, move brush, and so on as I go. It's surely not enough to pay back, but at least it's something. Maybe in retirement (I'm of an age when I can count the years to retirement without taking my boots off) I'll have time for more.

Sounds awesome to me.

handlebar
02-23-2014, 21:34
I disagree. If everyone did what you describe, fixing what needs fixing as they go along then there wouldn't be much need for organized maintenence. I think that is plenty enough.
You're wrong here, Bronk. While, it certainly is helpful to throw deadfall off the trail and to kick open water bars and drains, you don't just casually remove large trees blocking the trail. There are a lot of things you can't just fix as you go. I've been on trail crews doing rehab and I can assure you people would not carry the tools necessary for rehab as the go along. Given the traffic in an area like Mt. Rogers, the trail really needs to be hardened. Some of the necessary tools to place water bars, check steps, and staircases include: rock bars (about 18lbs), pick-mattocks (about 8 pounds), saws, loppers, fire rakes, pulaskis, blaze paint and brushes, etc. These aren't the sort of things you just casually carry on a hike in the woods.

lemon b
02-24-2014, 00:00
NO WAY. That type of action might cause some who give away right of ways to the trail to rethink their decision. They gave and now someone wants people to pay for their gift. That could cause some legal issues.

mfleming
02-24-2014, 01:06
NO WAY. That type of action might cause some who give away right of ways to the trail to rethink their decision. They gave and now someone wants people to pay for their gift. That could cause some legal issues.

Legal issues??? Folks were paid for the land unless they wanted to donate it

shelterbuilder
02-24-2014, 19:46
As a long-time maintainer, I know just how much work is involved in maintaining the footpath, the side trails, the shelters and privies. I volunteer my time out of a sense of profound gratitude for the efforts of those volunteers who went before me and created a trail for me to enjoy. I can NEVER repay these people, but I CAN "pay it forward" to the next generation of hikers and maintainers-to-be. There is no sense of guilt on my part that motivates me. It's been said that, in any group, 10% of the people do 90% of the work. Well, count me in that 10% - that's just the way that I am. I'm fortunate that I live so close to the trail (Reading, Pa.), and was able to join a maintaining club (BMECC) with such a long history of "making a difference". All of us will do as much or as little as we feel led to do, and that's okay.

BillyGr
02-25-2014, 17:05
And, even though you hiked the AT, that doesn't mean that you couldn't "give back" to hiking trails in a more general sense.

For example, someone who hiked the AT but lives in the Western US might volunteer to help with one of the other trails out that way, as they would be able to get there more easily and help more often.

Also, perhaps there is a local trail or park area that needs assistance - often times these kind of places get less attention and help and can use it even more than the more well known trails.

LIhikers
02-26-2014, 01:06
shelterbuilder reflects my feelings too. Well put.

Teacher & Snacktime
02-26-2014, 18:32
Legal issues??? Folks were paid for the land unless they wanted to donate it

Trail of Tears

Another Kevin
02-26-2014, 19:28
I disagree. If everyone did what you describe, fixing what needs fixing as they go along then there wouldn't be much need for organized maintenence. I think that is plenty enough.

If you ever built rock steps or water bars, or regraded a switchback, or cleared mature hemlock trees that fell across the trail, or dug a section out from a mudslide, or mucked out a privy, you'd surely know otherwise. And if you've ever seen a two-hundred-year-old herd path, worn into a gully six feet deep and flooded whenever it rains, you understand why the waterbars, steps, and regrading are necessary!

Bridges don't just build themselves, and they wash out with distressing regularity. And the steppingstones that you so often use to rockhop across a creek likely weren't placed there by Mother Nature, either.

Trail volunteers take care of all those things and more. I've done them before, and likely will again, but right now I'm still just barely in good enough physical condition to hike and backpack, and would likely do myself an injury if I were to attempt heavy trail maintenance. I'm just a couple of years back into weekend hiking after far too many years as a sofa spud, and conditioning comes agonizingly slowly at my age.

Heck, I can't even always manage the trashing out. I really felt guilty when I left a shelter that had a whole pile of decaying abandoned gear out back, but the waterlogged XYZ-mart rectangular sleeping bags and canvas packs were surely more than I could tote for the five miles that it would have taken to get to a road. There must have been ninety pounds of junk like that. I bless the maintainers who got rid of it. (I hope my dues to their club were enough at least to pay for having the stuff hauled away once they got it out of the woods!)

LIhikers
02-28-2014, 01:24
And then there's the maintenance that no-one thinks about, like boundary monitoring on the AT's land parcels.
But that being said, I don't think hikers should be required to give back, but hopefully they'll be inspire to give back.

mak1277
02-28-2014, 09:07
And then there's the maintenance that no-one thinks about, like boundary monitoring on the AT's land parcels.
But that being said, I don't think hikers should be required to give back, but hopefully they'll be inspire to give back.

For the uneducated among us (me, at a minimum), can you explain what boundary monitoring entails?

Teacher & Snacktime
02-28-2014, 13:02
I can't swear to it, but I think it involves uzis

bamboo bob
02-28-2014, 13:14
I have hiked many trails that I live no where near. I also help maintain two local trails. I learned that if trails are not maintained frequently the blow downs and washouts soon take over. Around here if it's ignored for four months it's a big mess. BUT since I like to play outside it's really no big deal to do.

If it was required "to give back" I would do it but I would complain and whine and be a sourpuss about it.

Sierra2015
02-28-2014, 13:21
I have hiked many trails that I live no where near. I also help maintain to local trails. I learned that if trails are not maintained frequently the blow downs and washouts soon take over. Around here if it's ignored for four months it's a big mess. BUT since I like to play outside it's really no big deal to do.

If it was required "to give back" I would do it but I would complain and whine and be a sourpuss about it.
... Would??


;)

Sly
02-28-2014, 13:28
For the uneducated among us (me, at a minimum), can you explain what boundary monitoring entails?


The Boundary Programís purpose is to protect the publicís investment in the lands that surround the Appalachian Trail. To ensure the continued protection of the Trail corridor, volunteers from A.T. maintaining clubs work with the ATC to monitor and maintain more than 1,500 miles of the corridorís exterior boundary, from Tennessee to Maine.To monitor, volunteers walk the tracts and boundary lines of lands acquired for the Trail and assess them to ensure their continued conservation. To maintain, volunteers repaint Blazes and brush out the line, keeping it well-marked and easy for our neighbors to identify.

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/what-we-do/trail-management-support/boundary-monitoring-maintenance


ALDHA will be hosting a boundary maintenance work trip late April out of the Blackburn Trail Center. You can sign up on Facebook if it appeals to you.


ALDHA work trip- Corridor Monitoring, in northern Virginia.
April 23 to 25th 2014, Wednesday -Friday. we will stay at the Blackburn Trail Center. Corridor work will be Thursday & Friday.
Boundary work involves locating surveyed monuments, re-painting blazes and maintaining a clear line of sight. Corridor monitoring is an important aspect of protecting the Appalachian Trail.

https://www.facebook.com/events/247511492072146/

Sly
02-28-2014, 13:34
A better title would be, "Should people be obligated to give back to the trail?" IMO, if they've thru-hiked, or are section hiking, yes.

Giving back to the trail can be as small a gesture as picking up liter, to volunteering with or membership in the ATC to full time trail maintenance, etc.

Lone Wolf
02-28-2014, 13:38
A better title would be, "Should people be obligated to give back to the trail?" IMO, if they've thru-hiked, or are section hiking, yes.
give back how, specifically? it seems most just do "trail magic" (feeds) and that's not helping the trail

Sly
02-28-2014, 13:43
give back how, specifically?

See above (added after original post). Also, it's just an opinion you don't have to agree. However, I agree with you, hikers feeds in no way are giving back to the trail.

Lone Wolf
02-28-2014, 13:48
See above (added after original post). Also, it's just an opinion you don't have to agree. However, I agree with you, hikers feeds in no way are giving back to the trail.
i agree with your above post

Sly
02-28-2014, 13:51
i agree with your above post

In that case next beer is on me. :D

Dogwood
02-28-2014, 14:36
I suggest all who wish to support the monumental task of maintaining the AT also look at becoming a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The ATC IS NOT just a place where hikers stop have their pictures taken for their scrap books. The ATC is also heavily involved in maintaining the AT corridor, which includes monitoring what's being proposed on lands adjacent to the corridor, which is a monumental task. This includes legal challenges(Attorneys, law offices), geology, watershed issues(hydrologists), engineers, foresters, view shed issues involving developers(housing developments), energy operations(like windmills), mining, road construction/improvements, etc. Think about what happens when the legal challenges that maintain the AT aren't financed - Mt Olgethorpe?

Teacher & Snacktime
02-28-2014, 14:41
give back how, specifically? it seems most just do "trail magic" (feeds) and that's not helping the trail

The "Trail" refers to more than the beaten path. All that the AT encompasses, the culture, the people, the history, the geography; all this is the "Trail". Trail Angels & Trail Magic, whether or not you approve, are certainly a part of it. These things help the mystique.

Lone Wolf
02-28-2014, 14:59
The "Trail" refers to more than the beaten path. All that the AT encompasses, the culture, the people, the history, the geography; all this is the "Trail". Trail Angels & Trail Magic, whether or not you approve, are certainly a part of it. These things help the mystique.
ok. i'll respect how you feel

bamboo bob
02-28-2014, 15:23
... Would??


;)
SOrry I'm too dense to get your joke. if its a joke.

Teacher & Snacktime
02-28-2014, 15:28
ok. i'll respect how you feel

It's not necessary, Wolf. I know how you feel about these things, and that opinion/viewpoint is as valid as my own. I wasn't trying to dispute or prove a point, just presenting a thought on the broader "idea" of the trail.

Sierra2015
02-28-2014, 15:36
SOrry I'm too dense to get your joke. if its a joke.
Don't worry about it, it was lame.

dmax
02-28-2014, 15:39
Not quite sure if I understand how this works. ..

Donate to a club
then volunteers go out and do the work for free and don't get paid
Ive been told that all the tools for the clubs are tax deductible

So where does the money go?

rafe
02-28-2014, 15:41
Required? That's a bit strong. I can't really donate time, so I donate generously to ATC, MATC, and related organizations. All I can do for now. I'm hoping to do more when I retire in a few years.

skybrew
02-28-2014, 17:37
There's no such thing as a free lunch: volunteers & paid staffers maintain, protect, preserve, and improve the Trail for our collective use and enjoyment. Where does that money come from? As part of the Dept of the Interior, the National Scenic Trails program receives a small portion of the Dept's annual budget of US$2.6B (I could not find what % goes to the Trails). There are 138M taxpayers in the US. So using the entire budget of the Dept of the Interior - not just the much smaller Trails budget - and assuming that taxpayers cover the entire budget of the Dept., on average (and it's a skewed average to be sure), an American taxpayer contributes about $19 for everything that the DoI does: natl parks, forests, monuments, seashores, etc. So a very small amount from each taxpayer goes to the AT. Probably way less than small cup of cheap coffee. What's the Trail experience worth to you? Keep this in mind when the ATC, the AMC, or the trail maintenance groups seek a membership or contribution. Every bit helps.

LIhikers
03-01-2014, 00:14
Not quite sure if I understand how this works......
So where does the money go? Just to name a few things, liability insurance, rent on office space, copy machine paper, internet service, web site hosting, coffee for the office, employee pay, materials to repair shelters, privies, and bridges, tools no volunteer might have....and more

LIhikers
03-01-2014, 00:40
For the uneducated among us (me, at a minimum), can you explain what boundary monitoring entails?

Mark, the US government owns much of the land the AT runs though, and those parcels have been surveyed and survey markers put in place. Some are round, aluminum monuments while others are paint blazes. The boundary monitors check the markers, touch-up the painted ones, and generally checks for problems or changes any place on that parcel of land. It involves a lot of bushwhacking as well as map + compass work.

Wilson2016
03-01-2014, 04:00
Don't think you are not going to pay for it. Really? Does anyone believe that all that each of us puts into just thinking about achieving any goal associated with the AT isn't paying . I'm paying and I haven't stepped foot on the AT yet.

4eyedbuzzard
03-01-2014, 14:21
There's no such thing as a free lunch: volunteers & paid staffers maintain, protect, preserve, and improve the Trail for our collective use and enjoyment. Where does that money come from? As part of the Dept of the Interior, the National Scenic Trails program receives a small portion of the Dept's annual budget of US$2.6B (I could not find what % goes to the Trails). There are 138M taxpayers in the US. So using the entire budget of the Dept of the Interior - not just the much smaller Trails budget - and assuming that taxpayers cover the entire budget of the Dept., on average (and it's a skewed average to be sure), an American taxpayer contributes about $19 for everything that the DoI does: natl parks, forests, monuments, seashores, etc. So a very small amount from each taxpayer goes to the AT. Probably way less than small cup of cheap coffee. What's the Trail experience worth to you? Keep this in mind when the ATC, the AMC, or the trail maintenance groups seek a membership or contribution. Every bit helps.Where to start? :-? What makes it difficult to put an accurate finger on is that trail funding is usually part of larger budget items and comes from many different spending bills to many different agencies (Interior - NPS & BLM, Agriculture - USFS, etc.) and you would have drill down through each Dept.'s budget right down to the individual operating units (such as NPS's GSMNP budget) to get a definite number, and even then it might be difficult due to accounting classifications. Some funds that affect trails are from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (aka Omnibus bill), some from Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), some from Transportation and Infrastructure bill, and there are others. The largest line item expenditures are generally for land acquisition for trails that are being built, which predominantly come out of LWCF funds. Operating budgets are typically in the Omnibus Bill. All things considered, total appropriations for trails of all types (hiking, rails to trails, biking, mixed use, scenic, historic, yada) is probably in the $150 to $200 million range based upon what I have figured by reading from a lot of sources, with the largest portions going to land acquisition for building new trails and protecting existing ones; and then infrastructure and operations. But it gets even more muddied when you throw in co-operative funding measures where trails are funded by fed, state, local, and private sources. But, no, trails ain't free. But conservatively, overall trail expenditures by themselves probably amount to less than $1 per citizen per year, and more likely 50 to 75 cents.
Just to name a few things, liability insurance, rent on office space, copy machine paper, internet service, web site hosting, coffee for the office, employee pay, materials to repair shelters, privies, and bridges, tools no volunteer might have....and moreNope on the two highlighted items. The federal government does not have insurance, they are "self-insured". Typically, coffee costs are paid for by federal employees, and the cost almost never comes out of taxpayer's pockets in any federal office I've ever been in. Generally, the only time this is allowed is for meetings, travel, guests, etc.

shelterbuilder
03-02-2014, 11:28
I don't know how other clubs do it, but BMECC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a few dollars invested (money that came from the "fair-market" sale of lands (to NPS) that the club had acquired to protect the trail during the 30's, 40's and 50's). Every year, we get a (modest!) return on that investment, and that money helps to fund stuff like equipment purchases (chainsaws, brush-cutters, loppers, etc.) and repairs, maintenance of shelters and privies, paint for blazing, and so on. As a maintaining club, we receive no money from the Feds for any of this stuff. And, yes, we always gratefully accept donations to help defray those costs - but most of the time, we can use the donation of people's TIME even more! As for "coffee for the office" - THAT gets donated by the members who drink it!!!

Cosmo
03-02-2014, 13:36
Amen, shelterbuilder.

People are our greatest resource. Even if the money dried up, we (volunteers) could still keep the AT in Mass ready for hikers--some facilities might revert to a more primitive state, but there would be a trail to hike--cleared of brush and well blazed--and places to camp.

Earlier in this thread, several posters mentioned they don't feel they have the physical condition to get out and help, even though they may live near the trail. Most of the 'usual suspects' on our projects are well into their 60's, and we still see some 80 year olds out clipping brush and painting blazes. Not all trail projects require long hikes to the ridgeline, or moving massive amounts of dirt and rock. Some do, and we leave that to the youngsters and those with the time to stay in shape.

Also, your club has a leadership group--they are always looking for people to step up and share the fun. It's not that hard to learn what needs to be done, and on-the-job training is pretty much a regular occurrence. You'll be welcomed, get plenty of support and advice--both from within and outside the club, and experience a great sense of satisfaction in contributing in a real concrete way to keeping the AT alive and thriving. Yes, you have to go to some meetings, and read more e-mail--but our meetings in Mass are generally preceded with a visit to the local purveyor of food and drink, so it actually turns into fun. Don't be bashful, the most important step is showing up.

Cosmo