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  1. #41
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Here's a big for all the maintainers of the AT and all trails that suffer from erosion , blowdowns and the like.

    You guys & gals deserve lots of credit . I'm seriously thinking about contacting my nearest chapter and volunteering one weekend a month.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAT View Post
    ....Next time you sit on a privy that does not have poo all the way to the rim,,,,,thank a maintainer (yes one of the dirty jobs we do).......
    Thanks to you and the CMC Rat. On my October 2004 section hike from Allen Gap south to Wallace Gap, I had noted that the Groundhog Shelter privy was nearly full. So as I'm hiking south the next day - another drippy, foggy, drizzly, & damp-cold day - who did I meet but 4 guys from the CMC enroute to the Shelter to dig a new privy. I thanked them at the time, I thanked them in my journal, and I thank them now.

    Personally, I signed up for Trail Maintenance of a SNP section 4 years ago as a very belated way of giving back for all the pleasure of 30+ years of hiking in the Park. Regretfully, I had to give it up last month due to my relocation farther away from PATC-land. Anyway, the section was only 2.2 miles but with a 900' ascent in 1.5 miles (numerous waterbars) and lots of sun exposure (requiring 2-3 weedwackings per year), the need for maintenance was critical.

  3. #43

    Default Trail Crews and other volunteer opportunities

    Trail crews provide a great opportunity for doing volunteer work on the A.T. if you don't live close by. There are six crews that do work on every part of the A.T., with base camps in TN, Virginia, PA, Vermont, and Maine.

    You not only get the satisfaction of giving back and the opportunity to make a piece of the A.T. your home a week, but you often learn trail-building or rehab skills you can take back to your local area. And you earn a really cool, prestigious t-shirt you can wear with great pride!

    (This is not directed at CookerHiker, who I know has already paid his dues :-))

    Thru-hikers (because they are strong and tough) are especially welcome on Trail crews, and are particularly sought after for the S.W.E.A.T. crew in the Smokies (which requires a big climb with heavy tools before the work even start).

    For volunteer opportunities of all types, check out our new on-line searchable database at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/volunteer (click on "SEARCH for volunteer opportunities on the A.T.") Volunteering on the A.T. is not all about heavy tools and muscle power. Some jobs require brain power, computer skills, people skills, or an interest in science--whatever your interests, there's probably something for you to do.

    Laurie P.
    ATC

  4. #44
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    I went on an overnighter from Carvers Gap to 19E and spent the night at Doll Flats. I tried paying close attention to the work that has been done on the trail. I also did this hike with some who has helped make and maintain a trail.

    First off I would like to thank everybody for their hard work that they put in on the trail.

    It was sure nice that my toes didn't slam the front of my shoes on the down hill walk to Stan Murray Shelter. I met a few of the maintainers on their way to work on some more relocation. I guess that was to help out with the remaining steep part. I was worried about running into TN Viking. I wanted to shake his had but figured I'd probably get tied to a tree and have honey poured all over me.

    Well, anyway, Thanks for all your hard work!!!

  5. #45
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    Here is the only picture I got of the maintainers camp. Too bad they all couldn't have been there for a picture.
    Attachment 6553

  6. #46
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    nor do I like hauling out other people's trash. Only one person, that I noted said anything about trash. In WV the rivers and creeks in the hills flood fast and frequently. Yeah, when the trail follows the water, this results in erosion. But it also means that the trash from the Bozos property 50 miles upriver who doesn't give a crap about the trail washes onto the trail. Everyone can, and should, be a trail maintainer. Bring along a small bag and pick up a bit of trash while you walk.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    Thanks to you and the CMC Rat. On my October 2004 section hike from Allen Gap south to Wallace Gap, I had noted that the Groundhog Shelter privy was nearly full. So as I'm hiking south the next day - another drippy, foggy, drizzly, & damp-cold day - who did I meet but 4 guys from the CMC enroute to the Shelter to dig a new privy. I thanked them at the time, I thanked them in my journal, and I thank them now.

    Personally, I signed up for Trail Maintenance of a SNP section 4 years ago as a very belated way of giving back for all the pleasure of 30+ years of hiking in the Park. Regretfully, I had to give it up last month due to my relocation farther away from PATC-land. Anyway, the section was only 2.2 miles but with a 900' ascent in 1.5 miles (numerous waterbars) and lots of sun exposure (requiring 2-3 weedwackings per year), the need for maintenance was critical.
    You are very welcome, I am sure I know those guys ! Thanks for volunteering.

  8. #48
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmax View Post
    I went on an overnighter from Carvers Gap to 19E and spent the night at Doll Flats. I tried paying close attention to the work that has been done on the trail. I also did this hike with some who has helped make and maintain a trail.

    First off I would like to thank everybody for their hard work that they put in on the trail.

    It was sure nice that my toes didn't slam the front of my shoes on the down hill walk to Stan Murray Shelter. I met a few of the maintainers on their way to work on some more relocation. I guess that was to help out with the remaining steep part. I was worried about running into TN Viking. I wanted to shake his had but figured I'd probably get tied to a tree and have honey poured all over me.

    Well, anyway, Thanks for all your hard work!!!
    I wouldn't do that. lol But thats a good idea for trail vandalizers.

    When did your group hit Stan Murray Shelter? We were just 50 feet from the trail.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 07-21-2009 at 14:20.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer
    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

  9. #49
    Storyteller
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    That is ki0eh cutting brush on the Mid State Trail in Pa. That is what a trail looks like after just a few months of not being maintained. You need trail maintenance because trails through nature are not natural, they are man-made. If not cared for, they go away.

  10. #50
    Registered User russb's Avatar
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    Before I respond, I have done my part (and continue to do so) of trail maintenance, albeit not on the AT.

    That said, I believe I understand the spirit of the original question and my answer is because of people. The more any type of thoroughfare gets used, the more damage caused by those using it and thus requires more maintenance. There are many "trails" that I hike which are no more than a historical footpath used for centuries and have zero maintenance. In many cases you cannot see the path. This is not a bad thing, the concept of a travel route was not a specific line x-feet wide that must be foolowed, it was a general course to get from A to B. Obstacles encountered are intended to be walked around. Beaver activity, floods, rock-falls, downed trees do not block the path, they simply reroute it. These are not blazed, except for possible other human signs along the way; a historical campfire circle for example.

    The AT and many of the other trails are not this type, nor can/should they be. The amount of traffic they see requires a more "durable" surface. These trails are also blazed so that people know where to follow to avoid obstacles. etc...

    Even within our paved surfaces we have different levels of maintenance due to traffic volume. There are dirt roads, some with little if any signage, all the way to 8-lane highways with lighted signs.

    As an aside, a neat thing to do is look at the old topographic maps which have trails marked and then look at the newest and see which ones no longer exist. These are fun to re-explore. Be warned, you will not be following a maintained trail, but you will discover some neat places rarely visited as they are literally off the beaten path.

  11. #51
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    russb is precisely correct in all that he says.

    There is a legitimate point of view, however, that the AT may be over-maintained in some cases. Blazing is perhaps more extensive than is necessary, especially since the trail tread is pretty obvious. Some of the reroutings aren't always necessary (they may be nice, and even useful or easier, but not necessary) and perhaps the goal should not be as much to encourage people to walk it as to permit them to do so. If, for instance, the AT (and other trails) exist to help people appreciate nature and its wonders, downfalls are part of that, as are fords and washouts. Many (if not most) National Wilderness Areas do not permit trail maintenance, which makes them feel wilder and more delightful. I'm minded of a 500' hillside washout in Otter Creek Wilderness Area (in WV) which meant two things: First, that you had to follow the naturally-created reroute down, along, and up; and second, that not only people, but nature too, changes our planet.

    Yes, the AT needs maintenance. Perhaps some trail clubs will consider whether some of it can be reduced a bit as a way of enhancing the AT.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  12. #52
    Registered User SassyWindsor's Avatar
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    Remove the whiteblazes from the trees while you're at it. Won't need'em without trail maintenance.

    In a short while an AT thru-hike will take 2 years to complete, if then. And you'll continually run into S&R folks trying to find lost hikers.

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by SassyWindsor View Post
    Remove the whiteblazes from the trees while you're at it. Won't need'em without trail maintenance.

    In a short while an AT thru-hike will take 2 years to complete, if then. And you'll continually run into S&R folks trying to find lost hikers.
    Well that was sassy.
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

    http://www.wizardsofthepct.com

  14. #54
    Registered User Dances with Mice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    There is a legitimate point of view, however, that the AT may be over-maintained in some cases. Blazing is perhaps more extensive than is necessary, especially since the trail tread is pretty obvious.
    ...in summer.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    Some of the reroutings aren't always necessa) exist to help people appreciate nature and its wonders, downfalls are part of that, as are fords and washouts.
    Yeah, a lot of relos are just done by the maintainers for grins and giggles, fun and exercise.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    Many (if not most) National Wilderness Areas do not permit trail maintenance, which makes them feel wilder and more delightful. I'm minded of a 500' hillside washout in Otter Creek Wilderness Area (in WV) which meant two things: First, that you had to follow the naturally-created reroute down, along, and up; and second, that not only people, but nature too, changes our planet.
    And how much of the AT is in a National Wilderness Area? Serious question. The GA AT passes through several wilderness areas that limit maintenance to hand tools (no chainsaws or string trimmers). But on a steep sidehill with a blowdown there is no way I could agree that impromptu routes would help rather than hurt the area. Nope. Been there, seen that. Flat areas, maybe so maybe no.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    Yes, the AT needs maintenance. Perhaps some trail clubs will consider whether some of it can be reduced a bit as a way of enhancing the AT.
    Yeah, hell, after all most of them are just out there looking for ways to stay busy.

    Besides, chicks dig it.
    You never turned around to see the frowns
    On the jugglers and the clowns
    When they all did tricks for you.

  15. #55
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmax View Post
    No, you have no idea where I'm coming from. And I don't think tourist are ignorant. Do you?

    If you say something like certain areas of trail wiil erode after 25 years of neglect and will sink 3 feet, I can deal with that and understand. But I don't mind walking down a trail when its raining and having a steam come down it. Its raining.

    I also didn't know the gov sets standards.
    Nor do I. I maintained bits of the AT in the so called "100-mile-wilderness" in Maine for 35 years or so. No government inspector ever called.

    My overseer -- a volunteer like myself -- complained occasionally when I did a sloppy job. And when it became my turn to oversee, I occasionally told some of my 23 maintainers to shape up.

    But government never once intruded. Many miles of the trail in Maine wouldn't meet any rational criteria for steepness, had government intervened during the two decades that two-thirds of the Maine section of the AT was being relocated. Well government played a small role. Congress had offered to finance a protected footpath along the ridgeline of the Appalachians, and set a date certain for a permanent location.

    MATC took note of the deadline and the word "ridgeline" and determined that by gorry the AT in Maine would follow the ridgeline as best we could manage it. Where do you think the expression "PUDS" originated?

    Besides, the logging roads that Myron Avery usurped when he found some peaks were too rough for him to handle, were wanted by the landowners that needed them for hauling pulp wood.

    So we designed a trail that followed the summit ridges. Government didn't even complain when we crawled a trail over Moody Mountain, though when I first saw the trail over Moody 20 years ago, I said to myself, "Someday this trail is just going to fall right off this mountain." It did. A couple of years ago. We are still figuring out a plausible alternative.

    Weary

  16. #56
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    Dances ----

    I don't think the snarky attitude is necessary. I'm very grateful to the women and men who do trail maintenance, and since I'm not able to be involved in their decisions (or the ones that are made for them), I'm not criticising them. But my point here is appropriate: Trail maintenance is necessary and useful, but in some cases, more than necessary. Frequently? No. Sometimes? Yes.

    For instance, in a graded trail going around the side of hills and small valleys, where the treadway is obvious in summer OR winter (because the only alternative is to climb up a hillside or down it), there isn't a need for blazes constantly. Equally, white blazes aren't ideal in winter (as many have noted elsewhere now and then).

    My point about Wilderness Areas wasn't how wonderful it is for trail maintainers (it's not, since lack of power tools makes the same work harder) but to show that there are legitimate ways to reduce some maintenance. As someone else above notes, there really isn't anything wrong with leaving a downfall for some to go over, others under, and most to create a small re-route. That's part of the charm of trails.

    And while most reroutings make sense and are even essential, there are parts of the AT that have been rerouted that change some of the nature of the trail. A post elsewhere in the last few days tells me that Albert Mountain's climb is now gone; I valued that moment of getting to the top. Now it's gone. Perhaps it was essential, but perhaps not. There are other places where I've gone past obvious re-routes and seen them rejoin the trail, to avoid steep climbs or other situations that weren't really problems. Perhaps - perhaps - those could have been left as is.

    Much of it is sort of like the "Field of Dreams" problem: If you build it, they will come. If you make it easier, more will come. If you want more, then, make it easier or more accessible. But then it's not the same trail. That may not be bad, or good; it IS different.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  17. #57

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    Nice thread.

    Trails may quickly become so "overgrown" they are no longer trails.

    That said, I have seen some real hatchet-jobs on otherwise very beautiful trails.

    Yes, hatchets were used.

    When I went out, I had my handy tree limb "lopper". It is a "professional lopper" with a deep anvil hook.

    It looks a lot like this one: Corona 36 inch Heavy Duty Professional Bypass Lopper Model No. WL 6481

    Maybe a little longer and slimmer.

    I carried it in a leather rifle scabbard, because East Slope Backcountry Horsemen have a contract with the U.S. Forest Service for trail maintenance there, and so, I had to go horseback.

    Between the hardware store owner, and I, we trimmed small "wet" overgrowth off one entire trail before lunch.

    We also had to trim bigger stuff (e.g. limbs, branches) overhanging another trail.

    Between the "green saw" (cuts on the pull stroke) and the "lopper" we took turns and neither one of us had a backache at the end of the day, or the next.

    I have these tools, because my family history includes "tree dressers".

    I happen to think a tree likes a little pruning, when it needs it.

    I also happen to think "people are part of nature".

  18. #58
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    My role in life these days is mostly to encourage people -- especially young people -- to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Most people need maintained trails and good maps before they will venture into the hills and woodlands.

    So since mid July I've lead groups that moved 100 4" by 6" by 8' timbers (weight 60 pounds each) to build bog bridges, and a wooden path around a beaver flowage. We've also cut the brush that had obscured three miles of trails.

    I've also published a tabloid size guide to the 31 miles of hiking trails in my town, prepared new maps, built a trail head map box, and persuaded 40 high school students to spend a half day in the woods with loppers clearing brush.

    The work is continuing. This evening I'm going to order another 32 bog bridge timbers from a one-man saw mill up the road. We still have many miles of overgrown trails.

    Why all this work? People who study such things say most people need to experience trails by their teenage years, or they never become interested in preserving what little wildness that remains.

    It's important to make trails attractive. Though not everyone agrees. When a new sign went up directing walkers to a wild lake and adjacent trails, a land trust member complained, "I hate to see that area become a thoroughfare. It's so pretty and isolated now."

    I know the feeling. I also at times "hate" what I'm doing. But it's important to continue, nevertheless.

    Weary

  19. #59
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Great post Cabin Fever!

    The (Only) time Trail maintainence got out of control was when they used a micro stone chip to the top of a hill in Lancaster, my dog's feet got cut up. I thought the "Longwood Gardens" crew had spruced up the hill.


    The Trail maintainers are most appreciated in all that they do.... I notice the hard work and I am impressed when I travel trails all over Pa,Md,NJ,NY.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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