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  1. #1

    Default What is your ratio of hiking to trail maintenance?

    Typically for every eight to twelve weekends I spend hiking, I spend one day doing some sort of volunteer trail maintenance. (That doesn't include hiking out other people's trash I see when hiking, that I do almost every time I hike)

    I know some people who spend more time doing trail maintenance then hiking. And I know other hikers who do zero trail maintenance.

    What do you think is a good ratio? So that everyone shares in the burden and we get to have the trails we love.

    How much trail maintenance does a thru-hiker owe the trail?
    Love people and use things; never the reverse.

    Mt. Katahdin would be a lot quicker to climb if its darn access trail didn't start all the way down in Georgia.

  2. #2
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    WB is not a 'Thru' exclusive site, so this question should be addressed to ALL of us. In '13' I've only spent 22 days on the trail. 1 of those days was spent doing trail work. Clearly not enough, I will get out again....but when?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by coach lou View Post
    WB is not a 'Thru' exclusive site, so this question should be addressed to ALL of us. In '13' I've only spent 22 days on the trail. 1 of those days was spent doing trail work. Clearly not enough, I will get out again....but when?
    Thanks for your response.

    I agree, it is addressed to all and whiteblaze is not thru exclusive.

    I thought I had multiple questions in there, but I guess it wasn't clear.

    1) what is your hiking to maintenance ratio.
    2) what do you think is a good ratio
    3) how much does a thru hiker owe the trail

    BTW -- I don't think one needs to necessarily do trail maintenance on each trail they hike. If you do trail maintenance on the PCT 'cause you live in CA, but hiked the AT, that balances out.
    Love people and use things; never the reverse.

    Mt. Katahdin would be a lot quicker to climb if its darn access trail didn't start all the way down in Georgia.

  4. #4

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    It would be nice if every thru-hiker got on one of the ATC trail crews for at least a week. That's what I did!

  5. #5

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    Hikers that follow behind me rarely find sticks or loose branches in the trail as I flick them to the side with my poles. Keeping sticks off the trail is a never ending job.

    They will also rarely find a branch sticking out into the trail which could poke thier eye out. If my face brushes up against something, I stop and get rid of it. I may start to carry a small pair of prunning shears when I hike, it would make minor brushing jobs go quicker.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Try to get in 5 days of trail work a year (a work week basically). Many times, it is local open space projects. Could always do more, though.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    Also, hikers need to do the right thing when they encounter maintainers working on the Trail. A good friend of mine who has maintained in Tennessee for years told me that many hikers walk right by trail workers without so much as a "Hello!", never mind a "Thank you!" or stopping for a few minutes to talk. And the number who ask the workers if they need help with anything or an extra set of hands for a little while is such a tiny fraction of hikers so as to be non-existent. So please, if you see men and women out digging, building walls or staircases, moving logs or boulders.......if you're in too much of a hurry to offer them a hand, at least offer a smile or a word of thanks. Your trip and your Trail would not exist without them.

  8. #8

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    I wonder how you would compute this guy's ratio. I remember seeing him in 2006, kind of curious to see exactly what the ATC did with his data.


    BTW, he did get Volunteer of the Month



    http://www.appalachiantrail.org/get-...d3d3-234936393

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    Also, hikers need to do the right thing when they encounter maintainers working on the Trail. A good friend of mine who has maintained in Tennessee for years told me that many hikers walk right by trail workers without so much as a "Hello!", never mind a "Thank you!" or stopping for a few minutes to talk. And the number who ask the workers if they need help with anything or an extra set of hands for a little while is such a tiny fraction of hikers so as to be non-existent. So please, if you see men and women out digging, building walls or staircases, moving logs or boulders.......if you're in too much of a hurry to offer them a hand, at least offer a smile or a word of thanks. Your trip and your Trail would not exist without them.
    Thank them but don't be too profuse about it! It becomes embarrassing for the ones doing the trail work. At least it does for me.

    (1) Current year ~10-15 days hiking and 30 mornings for 10-15 days of maintenance. I've been lucky to have extra time this year.
    All time: I'm way behind on maintenance.
    (2) A good ratio for me is working at least a few days per year at a minimum. That minimum should be raised if there are any trail issues that need work.
    (3) Goodness. That's hard to say. A lifetime of good trail stewardship and outreach with trail work a few times per year, every year.

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    I bet this thread doesn't go 10 pages with everyone stating ALL THE TIME they devote back to the trail or hiking!

  11. #11
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I bet this thread doesn't go 10 pages with everyone stating ALL THE TIME they devote back to the trail or hiking!
    Justa Touron brought up a good point.If all hikers would simply just clean-up after themselves and stick to LNT guidelines this would help a lot.Seems more and more these days some hikers still leave unneeded clothes,gear and trash at shelters.Others abuse facilities with graffiti and someone had burned the wooden trail markers on Max Patch.IMO just a lot of folks with an entitlement problem.( I hiked all the way up here and I can do what I want,screw everyone coming behind me).I'm still finding trash bags left on the bear cables,hikers who leave half empty fuel canisters and food at shelters because it's their last day and someone will use it(too lazy to carry their stuff the final miles of a few days hiking) I made 4 trips packing a chainsaw to cut firewood for hikers hiking in the late spring snows at 2 shelters.Most of them were very thankful but I did meet a few so concerned with trying to hike 20-30 miles just to get to a town or hostel they didn't care who I was. Well I've ranted enough and maybe others can add to this thread with positive ideas....

  12. #12

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    It would be awesome sitting at a road crossing cooking some burgers with ice cold soda and when a bunch of thru-hikers approached say, "sorry for work crew and trail maintainers only."

  13. #13
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    Also, hikers need to do the right thing when they encounter maintainers working on the Trail. A good friend of mine who has maintained in Tennessee for years told me that many hikers walk right by trail workers without so much as a "Hello!", never mind a "Thank you!" or stopping for a few minutes to talk. And the number who ask the workers if they need help with anything or an extra set of hands for a little while is such a tiny fraction of hikers so as to be non-existent. So please, if you see men and women out digging, building walls or staircases, moving logs or boulders.......if you're in too much of a hurry to offer them a hand, at least offer a smile or a word of thanks. Your trip and your Trail would not exist without them.
    Jack, I must say that that was not my experience at all, back in June. Now I only worked that one day, maybe 5 hours on 3 miles of trail, but every single person that past us thanks us for our work, most of the thrus said they would make some plan to do some work in the future.
    I like Slys idea. I would also think that those folks that were silent, were so out of embarassment.
    ^^^^^^, the weeks work, but the cross road cookout is cool to.

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    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    It seems that HYOH is all most want to hear.How about HOOH (Help Out Other Hikers).Not everyone can do trail work,but little things like pick up some extra litter,move a few limbs off the trail or leave a little firewood for others on a cold & wet day.This spring's Norovirus outbreak could be even worst next spring if it does appear. Seems like more hikers seem to be more concerned with hiking more miles with less gear.The AT is a great experience, let's try to keep it that way so that other generations can enjoy it too...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cleaner View Post
    It seems that HYOH is all most want to hear.How about HOOH (Help Out Other Hikers).Not everyone can do trail work,but little things like pick up some extra litter,move a few limbs off the trail or leave a little firewood for others on a cold & wet day.This spring's Norovirus outbreak could be even worst next spring if it does appear. Seems like more hikers seem to be more concerned with hiking more miles with less gear.The AT is a great experience, let's try to keep it that way so that other generations can enjoy it too...
    Awesome Post!! I agree!!

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    I always thank trail maintainers, but I have been almost ignored by them too while thanking them before.

    Perhaps they were just tired, or perhaps after cleaning trash out a privy, their perception of hikers was temporarily affected.

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    Nice posts JT and The Cleaner. I decided om making an impromptu stop for a day in NJ in 06 during my AT thru to help build a log bridge over a small muddy stream on the AT. I make it my duty to show appreciation and respect to the maintenance croos and individuals who make it possible for me to continue doing one of the things I love - hiking. I donate about 7 days per yr doing trail work, usually in Hawaii and NJ/NY. Sometimes, I just go out impromptu style by myself and clean up hiking areas.

    As I'm typing this and looking down at my scratched and chigger bitten legs I'm really feeling the urge to carry small bypass hand pruners on my next hike to cut some of the overgrowth along trails especially brambles and thorny branches. I get real satisfaction knowing that I'm giving back to a community that has been so good to me and countless others. This attitude has taken my hiking, and life, to a greater level!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sly View Post
    It would be awesome sitting at a road crossing cooking some burgers with ice cold soda and when a bunch of thru-hikers approached say, "sorry for work crew and trail maintainers only."
    Haha. Especially in Maine. Those work crews do amazing work in an awesomely rugged area.

  19. #19
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    I'm out at least three times a year, the past three years for volunteer maintenance on a 2.2 mile section. The amount of time each visit varies greatly. Never thru'ed but hike it and other area trails weekly. A GREAT long weekend on the LT in the Mad River area last weekend!

    As others have said, take care of it as you go. That wrapper or empty bottle is a lot lighter now than when it was carried in. I like the idea of leave it better than you found it. But the more I am out there the more the AT looks like a pseudo socialism, some give, some give and take, some just take.
    -My feet are my only carriage so I've got to push on through-

  20. #20

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    Currently I'm of the opinion that all backpackers should carry a pair of hand pruners and clip out the trail as they hike. Why not?

    Beyond this, I have many trails I backpack which are my favorites and they never seem to get maintained so occasionally when I pull a normal backpacking trip I will bring pruners and a Corona folding saw and do extensive trailwork myself. The hardest part is putting on the pack 20 or so times a day while I range up the trail to work and then return back to the pack.

    On a recent 18 day trip into the Slickrock wilderness I spent 7 of those days doing trailwork on the the Nutbuster of the Upper Slickrock Creek trail. See trip report---

    http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpa...4982&k=q6Tp89X

    And then on this next trip I did many days of trailwork on most of the lower portion of Slickrock Creek and all of the Cold Spring Gap trail #149 in the Citico wilderness. See---

    http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpa...2244&k=GQCMVDd

    I just returned from a 16 days trip where I spent 6 days on a 6 mile trail and completely cleared it---the North Fork Creek trail in the Citico.



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