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mattyknacks
12-20-2006, 22:15
Hi, I am curious to know if someone can give me a quick rundown on what the duties of a trail maintainer are. Was wondering how long the average section is and how often are you expected to be there. What other obligations must be met? And will they help you if you get in over your head?

I would like to know some of these things before I get in touch with the NY/NJTC and show them that I haven't a clue.

Thanks in advance.

Matty in NY

STEVEM
12-21-2006, 00:47
Matty, I'm a member of NYNJTC, but have never participated actively in any club activities. The Trail Walker newsletter which is mailed to members every few months has a help wanted section for volunteers and also offers a variety of programs for people interested in trail construction and maintenance. The link below may also have some information for you.

There is also a member here by the name of Kevin A. Boyce who seems to be very involved in trail maintenance. You could send him a PM.

When I hike I typically carry a small trash can liner and pick-up any trash I see (there usually isn't much). Thats not much, but if we all did that it would make a big difference.

http://www.nynjtc.org/volunteers/index.html

emerald
12-21-2006, 01:19
I encourage you to get involved with your local trail maintaining club in whatever way you can, even if you only support it through your annual membership dues. If you can give them some of your time that is better still.

There are likely many ways in which your could contribute. If they are wise, they will find a way to put you to work immediately in a way that works well for both of you.

I've always thought a volunteer should be put to work at the first available opportunity. I expect your local club thinks like me.

rafe
12-21-2006, 02:05
Hi, I am curious to know if someone can give me a quick rundown on what the duties of a trail maintainer are. Was wondering how long the average section is and how often are you expected to be there. What other obligations must be met? And will they help you if you get in over your head.

I don't think it's organized quite like that. I met and chatted with a couple of maintainers at Sunfish Pond last September. I doubt that any single mile has a single maintainer. But this is a very heavily traveled section, so it may be targeted for extra coverage.

mattyknacks
12-21-2006, 08:11
I doubt that any single mile has a single maintainer.

That is one of the things I was curious about. From reading other posts, it seems like people are assigned a "section" that they work on. I was wondering if it was a big section or a small one.

MOWGLI
12-21-2006, 08:35
Hi, I am curious to know if someone can give me a quick rundown on what the duties of a trail maintainer are. Was wondering how long the average section is and how often are you expected to be there. What other obligations must be met? And will they help you if you get in over your head?

I would like to know some of these things before I get in touch with the NY/NJTC and show them that I haven't a clue.

Thanks in advance.

Matty in NY

From one New Yorker to another, :welcome to Whiteblaze.

There are all sorts of different jobs available for volunteers.

Corridor Monitors walk the boundary of a certain segment of trail to ensure that no one is logging or building or doing anything improper on NPS land.

Maintainers keep the trail free of brush and fallen trees, and deal with erosion issues, both proactively and reactively. A certification may be required if you want to work with a chainsaw.

One project the NYNJTC is seeking volunteers for is the trail relocation at Bear Mountain. This is a HUGE multi-year project that will require many volunteers. I encourage you to get involved.

mattyknacks
12-21-2006, 08:49
From one New Yorker to another, :welcome to Whiteblaze.

There are all sorts of different jobs available for volunteers.

Corridor Monitors walk the boundary of a certain segment of trail to ensure that no one is logging or building or doing anything improper on NPS land.

Maintainers keep the trail free of brush and fallen trees, and deal with erosion issues, both proactively and reactively. A certification may be required if you want to work with a chainsaw.

One project the NYNJTC is seeking volunteers for is the trail relocation at Bear Mountain. This is a HUGE multi-year project that will require many volunteers. I encourage you to get involved.

That is a fantastic idea!!! I am gonna join and see what I can do to help.

Old Hillwalker
12-21-2006, 09:11
Just a little bit more information: I am the maintainer for two sections of the AT in Western NH. One section is about two miles of very wet and boggy trail, and the other is a five mile section of trail running up a ridge in heavy woods to the summit of a pretty little mountain with a open fire tower and an old ranger cabin. I'm the only maintainer assigned to these two sections, but I can and often do receive help from the officially responsible trail club.

To legally use a chain saw or crosscut saw within the AT Corridor you must be trained and receive an AT Sawyer Certification from the USFS certifying authority. This certification provides liability coverage, and possibly free PPE (personal protection equipment) when you are actively engaged in trail work involving saw use. There are three levels of certification; "A" "B" and "C". "A" level sawyers must work under the supervision of "B" or "C" sawyers. Essentially "A" sawyers primarily do "Bucking". "B" level sawyers are "Fellers" (not necessarily guys):p. "C" level sawyers are classified as advanced Fellers and Instructors.

In addition to my maintainer duties, I also am the AT Corridor Monitor for an approximately eight mile perimeter around South Moose Mountain near Hanover, NH. Along with the aforementioned annual walks of the perimeter. You find and record each of the buried or imbedded aluminum AT Boundary markers located approximately every 500 feet or so along the boundary and wherever the line changes direction. You also repaint the yellow surveyors' blazes when needed. The biggest part of the job as I see it is keeping the brush cut back away from the boundary "sight line". I use a power brush cutter (Whackzilla) for this, and you usually only need to make the cut once in five years or so. Doing this solo, generally takes me about one hour per five hundred feet of boundary. That is, painting, brushing, and tossing the cut brush off the line. My favorite part of this volunteer involvement is the Monitoring. Walking through the woods twice a year locating the monuments is like being on a treasure hunt. I usually do this when there are no leaves on the trees, and before the bugs emerge in the spring or in the fall when they are gone. Bushwhacking up and down through open woods is a great way to wipe away the mental cobwebs. (PTSD RVN 68-69)

You might ask how I find time to do all this. It's called RETIREMENT:sun

Kevin A. Boyce
12-21-2006, 11:28
Matty... Welcome to WB!

You can contact the NY/NJ Trail Conference folks to officially get a section of the trail to maintain, usually sections are short, 1-3 miles maybe? Not exactly sure how they cut up the trail for maintainers... They also offer classes geared to new maintainers and you should try to go to one to see what exactly is required of you.

Also depending on where you are in NY, if all the sections are filled currently, you should look into the AMC chapters in CT & MA to see if they need help. Even though it might be a far distance for you to get to a section in MA, you do only need to get there a few times a year, so it might be a good excuse to get out and make a whole weekend of it, instead of a few hours. And even if sections are filled, there are always work parties and work weekends that you will be more then welcomed too. You will find that trail maintainers are a hearty bunch and hold on to sections for a loooooong time. There are a few, I hate to use the term 'old guys and gals'... but yes, a few old guys and gals that are maintainers in the NY area, and some have been maintainers for many, many moons... They take a lot of pride in their sections and probably will work them right up until they can no longer do it.

Plus remember that the NY/NJ TC also maintains hundreds of miles of trails all over, so even if you cannot get a spot of the AT to maintain, there are plenty of other places for you to help out.

While I am not a member of the the TC, they do great work, I do a lot of trail work with the Dutchess/Putnam branch of the TC, hench the reason I always mention the RPH Shelter, or Shenandoah Mountain area. We have a group of folks that does a lot of larger projects, and then we help out some of the official NY/NJ TC Maintainers on their sections or projects. This past year for instance the maintainer for the Shenandoah had not gotten a chance to get out and brush back their section so during our larger work weekend a crew of us went and took care of that for them.

Keep an eye out here on WB for my trailwork postings, I usually advertise here when we have a work party going on. This upcoming Spring we will be having a few of them since we are working on a fairly large project; replacing the bridge out behind the RPH Shelter, and we will be looking for many hands to work on it. We are planning on having a few weekends over the Spring to do site prep work and start the project, with the main work weekend will be July 20-22 right after the ATC Conference.

Welcome again Matty, hope to see you on the Trail!

KevBoy

K-Man
12-21-2006, 12:41
Matty,
I am also a NYNJTC member and had similar questions upon first joining. Take Trail Maintenance 101!! You will learn all you need to know there and they can assign you a section of trail. It is my understanding that there is a wait list for an AT section, but there are PLENTY of other trails in our area that need a maintainer. Most sections are 1-2 miles long. I maintain the Will Monroe Loop in Norvin Green State Forrest which is about 1 mile long. Don't be nervous about feeling stupid when contacting the TC. Everyone is super nice...

Cookerhiker
12-21-2006, 12:50
I've only been a maintainer (technically called an overseer) for about a year-and-a-half with the PATC and I can tell you I have absolutely no special skills. In fact, I'm not chainsaw certified and don't intend to be. That said, my duties include weedwacking in the summer, clearing waterbars in winter and early spring, and removing limbs which thus far I've been able to do with my bow saw - one took over an hour. I'll probably freshen up the blazes this Spring. By the way, I had never used a gas-powered weedwacker before so I learned something new.

I don't know what constitutes a "typical" section. Mine is 2.2 miles including 1.5 miles uphill (900' contour gain) to HighTop Mountain, the highest AT point in Shenandoah NP's southern section thence .7 miles to the side trail to HighTop Shelter. With that elevation, I have lots of waterbars. Weedwacking is required about twice a season, particularly in the first 200 yards near Skyline Drive where the lack of tree cover produces much undergrowth.

My advice is: just do it. If you're still hesitant, ask the Conference if you can co-maintain with someone else until you get your feet wet.

mattyknacks
12-21-2006, 19:23
Matty... Welcome to WB!

Keep an eye out here on WB for my trailwork postings, I usually advertise here when we have a work party going on. This upcoming Spring we will be having a few of them since we are working on a fairly large project; replacing the bridge out behind the RPH Shelter, and we will be looking for many hands to work on it. We are planning on having a few weekends over the Spring to do site prep work and start the project, with the main work weekend will be July 20-22 right after the ATC Conference.

Welcome again Matty, hope to see you on the Trail!

KevBoy

Thanks to all for the info. I am joining NYNJTC and make arrangements to start helping out on the trails here in NY and NJ. I am pretty excited actually.

And Kevin, I want to be involved in working with you on the RPH shelter stuff. My girlfriends parents live five minutes from the shelter and we are up there often.

Take care,

Matty in Brooklyn

rafe
12-21-2006, 19:29
Thanks to all for the info. I am joining NYNJTC and make arrangements to start helping out on the trails here in NY and NJ. I am pretty excited actually.

And Kevin, I want to be involved in working with you on the RPH shelter stuff. My girlfriends parents live five minutes from the shelter and we are up there often.


I have one serious request for you RPH maintainers. Put a freakin' trash can there, OK? Please? I had to carry a pizza box for the next six miles. There are occupied houses on three sides of the shelter, so what's the problem?

Kevin A. Boyce
12-21-2006, 21:24
TT... Don't you know that the RPH Shelter is carry in / order out? :D :D

All kidding aside, for most of the year between the official maintainer, myself or about a half a dozen locals that help keep an eye on the shelter, you could have left that box and we would have gotten it within that day or the next morning. We all try to keep the garbage issue to a minimum so folks will not have to carry along their trash if we can take it from them. Not only do we feed folks, give them some goodies to snack on, we almost always always ask for trash just because we know it can be a hassle.

As for a trash can, the biggest issue that some folks, not hikers, will use it for hoursehold trash and the like. Plus we try to keep the animal nuisance problem down, and even with folks leaving their trash hanging from the front porch, we have been lucky on that front.

BUT... I will bring it up at our next shelter meeting which will be in a few weeks.


I have one serious request for you RPH maintainers. Put a freakin' trash can there, OK? Please? I had to carry a pizza box for the next six miles. There are occupied houses on three sides of the shelter, so what's the problem?

rafe
12-21-2006, 21:32
TT... Don't you know that the RPH Shelter is carry in / order out? :D :D

LOL. No, I didn't know that, then..


BUT... I will bring it up at our next shelter meeting which will be in a few weeks.Thanks. Seriously. I'm not one to leave my garbage lying around. If I'd given a moment's thought to the box-carrying problem, I'd probably have gone without that %$#@ pizza.

bascomgrillmaster
02-25-2007, 00:32
Bascomgrillmaster here,
We have been working down at RPH Cabin for the last nine years.This year we are replacing the 25 year old bridge behind the cabin.Dates for 2007 are: July 20,21,22 .The web site is timtrek.mikentim.com More info can be found there.Thank you for helping out this coming summer.E mail me for more details. bascomgrillmaster@yahoo.com Thanks again.
Later Bascom:welcome