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Old 09-23-2018, 06:45 PM   #1
webby459
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Anyone a volunteer trail steward?

As a result of another post and some subsequent research and emailing the coordinator, I’m considering volunteering to be a trail steward. FWIW I’m looking at some sections along the NPT, nearer route 28 and Durant.

Someone who is doing or has done it, can you offer some thought or advice about it? Things like: how many days at a time do you spend, how often in a year (I understand it’s two minimum) does that end up being enough? Has there been anything unexpected, anything easier or harder than anticipated? Are the tools reviewed in training (I may sign up for next session in oct) the extent of what’s needed?

TIA!
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:06 PM   #2
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I usually do my maintainance trips as an overnight. The l8cation of my section would make it tough to do as a day trip. Typically I will do one direction with hand saw and clearing drainages, and the next day on the way out in the other direction with hand pruners. If you can get someone (or 2-3) to help it makes it a lot easier. I bribe my helpers by cooking dinner at camp.
The hardest part, for me, is I am not chainsaw certified and my section is in a wilderness area, so the major blowdown just gets routed around until the understaffed DEC operations crew can get in there.
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:57 AM   #3
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Hey Russ, thanks for the heads-up. I was counting on them being overnights, I had considered blocking out 2-3 full work days per visit. The question I have is, is 2-3 day visits twice or so a year enough to give it the attention it deserves? I think the sections I'm considering are around 5-6 miles, and are somewhat close to the trailhead.

I do know it may be hard to generalize, and some years worse than others, but a generalization is fine.

-Will
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:10 AM   #4
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Usually it is enough.
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Old 09-24-2018, 06:46 PM   #5
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I like early spring for all the stuff that came down over the winter, mid-summer to hack back growth in open areas (goldenrod and grasses), and in the fall when a group of friends does an annual walk and I want to avoid complaints of any obstructions.
This weekend I helped with a reroute of a section of the Finger Lakes Trail in Tompkins County where we had to bench on a steep hillside. Of the seven people there, I think I was possibly the youngest at 52. Where are the youth to take care of these trails?
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:55 AM   #6
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Anyone a volunteer trail steward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banjoe View Post
Of the seven people there, I think I was possibly the youngest at 52. Where are the youth to take care of these trails?

You’d probably have to invent some sort of “trail maintenance challenge” and offer them a patch.

Last edited by JohnnyVirgil; 09-27-2018 at 02:49 PM..
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:34 AM   #7
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From the initial post I started looking into what it takes to adopt a section of trail. The ADK club has a list of trails in need of adoption on their website and a contact e-mail. The main requirement is to take a one day training with hands on trail maintenance. If anyone was kicking around the idea of being a steward the next training is October 6th on Blue Mountain.
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:48 AM   #8
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I was aware of the technical requirements of the work and the available positions, I wanted more anecdotal or personal reports of how this works out in real life. Thanks to Russ for filling some things in for me. I'm signed up for the Oct 6th workshop, looking forward to it.

FWIW, I'm less than 52. I think the age of the volunteers has more to do with stage of life and other commitments than much else. Prior to now, I've been busy working on business and career, caring for pretty young kids and all that goes with that. Now that the kids are a little older and have some interest in the outdoors, I feel I can more comfortably peel off time and do this. If I do, one or more kids will likely come with me (their choice), it will instill some values of volunteerism and environmental stewardship in them.

*We aren't badge or patch people, I actually feel that's an anachronistic vestige from a bygone era. All of our scouting badges languish in dusty corners of the house until they get thrown away-the memories of the trips still get discussed.
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Old 09-27-2018, 12:28 PM   #9
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You are lucky, I had to raise ugly young kids !
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:19 PM   #10
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Lol, I see what we did there!
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:57 PM   #11
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If I hadn't, there is a good chance Justin would have, and he'd have probably had a video clip, too.
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Old 09-27-2018, 02:53 PM   #12
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I was just kidding. The obligations theory makes sense. I wouldn’t have time to take it on right now, so I can sympathize. But on the other hand, when I was in college, I had a lot of free time during the summer while working part time. I guess I didn’t know it existed back then. I certainly spent enough time in the woods.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:57 PM   #13
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It seems like a lot of the time there are lots of college age volunteers, I've run into a big group of them a few times. I would so love to volunteer and help maintain trails... wish I could have done it when I was younger and not moved out of NY. I hope to move back in a few years after my son is off on his own, but not sure if I can commit in the meantime unless it happens to line up with vacation from work... the last few years since I've been single I've been able to come up a few times a year but mainly just in the summer and sometimes a shorter trip in the fall.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:17 PM   #14
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For awhile I was getting high school seniors to volunteer with trail work and cleaning up abandoned campsites, but they were too unreliable and difficult to coordinate to get critical mass to show up at the same time. Since they needed the hours to pass a civics class they would really pester me at the end of the semester and I'd feel guilty so have to venture out with one or two several times and do a half-assed job. Now the teachers of those classes come to me at the end of the semester and guilt me into taking on the hard luck cases so the kids can graduate.
There's also a one-shot event when the college kids want to do some project and we have gotten a nice trail or project out of that. This summer I was hiking in a local state park and a crew of college students were replacing some of the stairs during a particularly hot week. I noticed they were camping at the worst spot in the park, near a state highway. I hope that experience didn't sour them too much.
Hey, I like being the youngest in the crew. It reminds me I might still have 20-30 years left of what I enjoy most.
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:27 PM   #15
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While not trail maintainers, the college outdoor program I work with has adopted two lean-tos over the last 15+ years; although they are in the Catskills. Our first year doing this we did two shelters in the Adirondacks but the driving time was a killer. Since we're only 90 minutes from the trailheads for our current shelters, it's a lot easier to do each semester.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

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Old 10-19-2018, 03:52 PM   #16
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I’ve been maintaining the section from Piseco to Spruce Lake. It takes me three weekends in the spring to clear blowdowns using a chainsaw. First trip is day trip caching equipment at end of day. Second trip is weekend, walking in and setting up camp, picking up equipment and continuing blowdown removal, caching equipment at the end of first day then returning to camp and walking out second day. Third trip is usually day trip in at the Jessup River end to pick up equipment and finish clearing to Spruce Lake. The rest of the trips in (anywhere from 8-12) happen over the summer and fall and focus on side cutting taking out the odd blowdown that comes down over the summer. I’ve found the best time to work on drainage is right after a good rain when you can see where water is on the trail. I spend a fair number of weekends working on the trail but I have a pretty long section to maintain. This year we were able to sidecut the most overgrown section left between Fall Stream and Jessup River and we’re hoping to get on a schedule working from one end to the other over a period of 3-4 years.

Last edited by H. Hastings; 10-19-2018 at 03:55 PM.. Reason: Correct spelling
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:46 AM   #17
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Thank you all for the work that you do on the trials!!

Kath
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