Skills & Techniques

Everyday Trail Maintenance

Guest - September 4, 2017

Madison, WI: When we think of trail maintenance, we often think of experienced workers, with large packs and larger tools, hiking in many miles with everything from McLeods to pick mattocks. But you don’t have to be an experienced trail crew member to help keep our trails nice and tidy. Here are some tips and tricks on how to help your local trail crews when you’re out on a hike:


1. Get Dirty

After snowmelt or wet spells, those muddy or waterlogged trails can prove hard to travel – but earning that trail and the dirt that comes with it is half the fun! Come prepared with shoes appropriate for the trail conditions, and then be sure you’re walking through any water or mud, not around. This helps preserve the plants on the side of the trails, and helps maintain the trail’s integrity for drier times to come.

2. Clear the Path

Coming in after a storm or adverse weather? Is the path clear, but littered with branches and other debris? Help trail crews keep the trail clear by setting twigs and branches that you can safely move off to the side of the trail. For natural obstacles that are too big to safely move, make sure you stay on the trail by going over, under, or through them, rather than going off trail to avoid them.

3. Clean Up

Tired of seeing trash along your favorite trails? Turn collecting trash with friends and youngsters into a game! Bring a small trashbag along on your hike, and give yourself a point for every piece of trash you pick up. Play competitively, and see who’s collected the most trash by the end of the hike. Wager a snack or a pint to make the game more interesting!

Each of these actions helps out your local trail crews, so they can focus on larger projects – and making new trails!

We hope you enjoy maintaining your trails, and Enjoy Your World!

–Amanda and Junaid, Team East Central

Leave No Trace’s Amanda Jameson and Junaid Dawud are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Klean Kanteen, and Smartwool.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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