View Full Version : Maintenance in northern MA?

04-19-2023, 13:56
Just hiked royalston to Northfield and there were multiple sections where there was so much tree fall it was unpassable. Other sections where I could find a discernible trail despite being well blazed.
Some really gorgeous sights though! Richardson-Zlogar site is amazing.

04-20-2023, 11:31
Its been a tough winters in New England, drought and insects did their work over time that shows up as a lot of deadfall. Perhaps a good time to reach out to the local ATC group that does trail maintenance and see if they need a hand. Work parties are being assembled every weekend that could probably use an extra hand or two for a short time.

04-20-2023, 12:32
Thank you Spring.Bear for letting us all know and Traveler is 100% right on with his advice. I'm a local trail maintainer for my county park system (I live a little far from the AT) and not only has it given me new appreciation for a well built trail when hiking/backpacking but it also feels great to be able to help build or maintain trails that we all use and the trail clubs are almost always looking for volunteers. Help as little or as much as you can.

Ear Drum
04-20-2023, 13:16
...Richardson-Zlogar site is amazing.

That was one of the highlights of the NET for sure!

04-21-2023, 07:21
This is the NET but I know trail maintenance is hard work and I have so much respect for those who do it.
What stuck out to me wasn’t just the tree fall, but the sections where there was no discernible trail other than blazes.

Also, I expect the AT won’t be that tough by the time I get on it in June but are there any sections that are notorious for being rough or under maintained?

Pastor Bryon
04-22-2023, 16:10
Following this. I'm planning to hike that section mid-May. Can you share any specific places for me to prepare for?

04-23-2023, 11:19
The section from 32 to 78 was mostly pretty rough, with sections with blazes but no path or trail. Everything just looked like any other spot in the woods. Not even what I would call a deer trail. Lots of tree fall and bushwhacking. My phone clocked it as 2 miles more than the map said. (Also current paper map is outdated. New one releasing in June. Use the map on their website).
Mt. Grace was easy. Some tree fall but it’s travelled enough that desire paths were made. The shelter was very close to the road. Much closer than the map makes it seem. Up and over took little time, even out of shape as I am!

After crossing Northfield rd. you leave the more travelled section and it gets rough again. This section almost always had a discernible trail, though it was faint at times, but tons of tree fall and thick underbrushy woods made it hard to get from one blaze to the next. Again clocked 2 extra miles on my phone (which seems to be very accurate when hiking in more familiar areas) between Mt Grace shelter and Richardson Zlogar. The Richardson property from around Alexander Hill rd. was in better shape. Again some tree fall but manageable.
The following day it took us over 4 hours to get 3.2 miles to Gulf Rd due to rough trails and hiking around tree fall. My phone read 5 miles for that section - either poor measurements on the map, or all the extra hiking around tree falls.

Even the more well traveled and “cleaned up” areas, we were still dealing with loose scree on steep inclines, flooded trails with no bridge, or broken bridges over area no longer wet, thick dry leaves on steep inclines slipping under our feet (I fell twice slipping on leaves), and some tree fall from one or two years of neglect.

By comparison, we hiked Greylock the weekend before with slushy snow and up to 2 ft snow in places. We made 9 miles in 8 hours with a long hot lunch break (and the next day 5 miles in 4 hours) and my phone recorded that we hiked 9 (and 5) miles, matching the map and signs.

I love a good romp in the woods and exploring and adventure but when you’re trying to time getting to shelters before dark and there’s such a big discrepancy it gets pretty discouraging. We made it to Grace shelter 15 minutes before dark and were worried we’d have to call someone to bail us out in the hours leading up to it realizing how much longer it was taking than estimated. Give yourself an extra hour or two per 10 miles.

One Half
04-24-2023, 15:14
AMC handles trail maintenance in that area. There are standards they maintain for trails and a program where you can volunteer to be a maintainer. They also have a class where you can learn the maintenance standards and what you as a maintainer can and cannot do. I did not see a place to report trail conditions. It used to be that if a tree needed a chain saw to be able to remove it from the trail they had "specialty crews" for that. Trail adopters used to have to commit to a certain number of visits per season, preferably 1 early in the season and some others.