View Full Version : Giving Back to The Trail

Former Admin
09-03-2002, 20:01
How do you give back to the trail? Do you have any ideas on how other hikers can give back to the trail? I'm sure there are a number of ways to give back to the trail, lets see how many we can come up with.

SGT Rock
09-03-2002, 20:33
I contribute every year to the ATC. While i'm on the trail I also try to help clean up. I also try to educate people I know about the trail. Amazingly few know about the AT.

Someday, when I retire, I want to do trail maintenance.

09-04-2002, 17:35
After using the Trail for 5 to 6 months, we all have a big obligation to give back. The AT is largely maintained by volunteers.

At the very least, all of us should join the ATC. But the real work along the trail is done by the maintaining clubs. So, at least join a local club so they have some money for tools and equipment.

Better yet, give your time. Adopt a section of trail or a shelter.

If you don't live near the AT, then get active in whatever trail club is nearby.

Myself, I am long time members of a couple of maintaining clubs. And I'm very active with planning and organizing the upcoming biennel meeting of the ATC.

10-03-2002, 11:07
I recently decided that it was time to "give back to the trail", so I contact the AT Trail Committee of the Berkshire AMC. I'm still waiting to be assigned a section to monitor or maintain, but I did have an opportunity to attend a "Corridor Monitoring Workshop" last weekend. Thought you all might be interested in hearing about it.

The workshop was run by Matt of the Lyme, NH ATC office and Chris, the ATC staff member in charge of monitoring and marking boundaries along the entire trail. Volunteer corridor monitors walk the boundaries of their section maybe twice a year looking for encroachments by neighbors, illegal dumping of yard waste, or anything inconsistent with NPS policy on the trail. They are reporters rather than enforcers, though sometimes friendly chats with neighbors can avoid enforcement and bad feelings. At the workshop we learned to read survey maps. There are actually 3 types of maps required to find and follow the boundary lines - topo maps, survey boundary maps which pinpoint monuments and give compass angles for each boundary line, and a not-to-scale map which identifies the three "witness trees" marked around every monument. We had a chance to use map and compass to locate some monuments and boundary lines in the workshop. Also visited 3 sites where boundary encroachments have been discovered, though sometimes the resolution can be a drawn-out legal affair.

10-03-2002, 14:42
I chat with people I meet about the AT and haul out trash when I can. I should probably do a bit more, but it is a little hard when I live 350 miles away from the AT.

10-03-2002, 17:01

Being 350 miles away from the AT makes it hard to give back to the AT, but at the very least, you can support them financially by joining the ATC.

Beyond that, I gotta beleive that there are trails and areas near where you live that need help. So, if you can't give your time to the AT, then support some other trail or outdoor orgainization that is more convienent.

10-03-2002, 18:17
I'll join the ATC sometime soon as I am no longer a poor student (when even $5 is a big expense). I'm still looking for trails in my area that have some maintenance needs. All I've hiked on are big, wide, and well travelled. No blow downs, erosion, etc. I think after the winter there will be more things to do. Until then, I've been busying myself picking up trash during my weekend hikes both on trails and in parking lots. Once I've thoroughly explored the area, I'm going to look into doing something more official.

The Weasel
10-03-2002, 20:39
Chris ---

Ways "a poor student" can help the Trail (or anyone else, including those at a distance!)

-- Send a buck to the ATC. That's more than they have now.

-- Read the ATC website about hot topics, such as political issues along the trail where letter-writing can make a difference. Write such letters.

-- Email some of the trail-sponsoring organizations and ask if there are ways you might help.

Anyone else have ideas?

The Weasel

10-04-2002, 08:20
When I was a student, I didn't have a buck to give anyone. After writing the above post, I broke through my laziness (now) and joined the ATC.

Uncle Wayne
10-04-2002, 08:33

I've been a member for 10 years. The magazine you'll get is informative and has some down to the trail stories you'll enjoy. It also enables you to buy AT books, gear and maps at a reduced member rate. And our money is used by an organization that tries to take care of the AT. I haven't always agreed with some of their decisions but my wife and don't always agree either! You did good.

SGT Rock
10-04-2002, 14:50
If your workplace participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) the number for the ATC is 2303. I just did my annual contribution.

10-04-2002, 18:36
I try to do a few work hikes a year as my part of giving back to the trail.

You haven't worked until you've slung a pulaski all day. I'm telling you that is hard work!! There's people who do work hikes every week.

Those type of people have all of my respect.

10-21-2002, 02:49
Work hikes? Tell me more about this critter please. I was my happiest in the Army with a heavy pack on my back sloggin through jungles and swamps headed nowhere doing nothing. Work hikes is somehting I'de do for very little pay... hell I'de do it for room and board period... and love every miserable blister causing back aching minute of it.

10-21-2002, 07:53

Sorry, it should be called Work For Free HIke. These are different activities scheduled by the individual ATC clubs. You could be swinging a pulaski all day, or digging water bars or pruning with a nipper. Or you could be maintaining a shelter or building a new one.

Jack Tarlin
10-22-2002, 13:50
1. Join the ATC!! (www.atconf.org)

2. Join ALDHA (www.aldha.org)

3. If you live near the Trail, join and support a local Maintaining group, and take care in their activities as your time and schedule permit

4. If you have any specialized knowledge, i.e., you've previously thru-hiked, or done long sections, or if you have particularly extensive knowledge of a certain area, then take part in sharing your experiences and knowledge with others---take an active part in Forums, Planning/preparation sites, Mailing Lists

5. Register to vote, and take the time and trouble to study the environmental record of candidates running in your area, especially if you're lucky enough to live in one of the Trail sites. And this crosses party lines, by the way. It doesn't necessarily mean you'll always vote for the Democrat! And also, if you get the chance to meet candidates or elected officials in person, let them know how much you, your family, and your friends feel about these specific issues---land use, protection, cell phone towers, funding for National parks and the Outdoors, etc.

6. If your income level permits, your money is as useful as your time. Consider donations, in any ammount, to the ATC or to the small, local maintaining clubs; they always need help with equipment, constuction material, printing and mailing costs, etc. Also, not to be morbid, but consider these organizations in your will, so your support of the Trail will outlive you.

7. If you're lucky enough to thru-hike, take some time DURING your trip to give back: If you come across a maintaining group at work, drop your pack and give em a few hours. When you get to Harper's Ferry, there is always something to do at the ATC office, even if it's just folding T-Shirts or assembling information packets. Anything a volunteer does as opposed to a paid staffer inevitably helps the organization, and the Trail.

8. Get involved and STAY involved with the Trail after your hike.

9. Oh, and you can always do the "Trail Angel" thing, and assist hikers during their trip---surprise em with food, give em rides, whatever. If you live near the trail, considering "adopting" that part of the Trail and help out the hikers that you see out there, in whatever way you feel comfortable. But keep in mind, the other stuff I mentioned above is more important. Spending a few bucks and throwing a hiker cookout is great, but giving that same ammount of time or money to the ATC or a maintaining club will go a lot further.

10-22-2002, 14:59
Funny story from this past years thru hikers. I think it was at Woody Gap, or close by there. There were 2 "Trail Angels" that felt that was their "spot" to give "magic". Well, from what we were told there was almost a full blown out fight over who's teritory it was!!
One guy was labeling all the stuff he was giving out with his name and
address on everything. Two years ago I had 3 hikers in the store, an
old guy drives in. One hiker recognized him as the "Angel" from Unicoi Gap who would drive hikers into Helen for $5.00 donation to his church. The one hiker was waiting for the local cab, as he was getting off the trail. This old dude came in and hands all of us a copy of his ATC membership card, then proceeds to ask if anyone needed to go anywhere. One girl was staying here, the other was just resupplying and getting back on the trail. I asked the man to please leave my store. He turned to the hikers and said "Did you hear what she said?" The all said yes. He kept on. I asked him again to please leave my store and that if he wanted to do trail magic to do it at a trailhead not at a place of business. He ranted alittle more,then left. All 3 hikers were laughing at him and said he really had alot of nerve.
For those of you not familiar with the Trail in this area, Unicoi Gap
is 54 trail miles from us here at Wallace Gap. And about 60 road miles. This guy was definitely out of his "territory" LOL:D

walkin' wally
02-25-2004, 12:50
I think an easy way to give back to the trail is to carry out what you carried in. Why leave a mess for someone else to see?
As a maintainer I see lots of discarded material such as ponchos, other clothing, glass containers, all sizes of propane or other fuel containers, tuna cans and metal silverware (that will not burn in the firepit), plastic soda bottles, and worn -out hiking boots. Just my opinion.

Walkin Wally :)