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Trail Building FAQ
Do I need to sign up?
It is important to have people sign up for each work event in order to properly plan the crews and order enough lunches. While drops in are welcome, we cannot guarantee that we will have enough food or tools to make your experience as worthwhile as necessary.
Meeting locations will depend on the section of trail being built. Also, do not leave items of value in your vehicle.
Because we’ll be working with hand tools in terrain that is sometimes rough, work-appropriate clothing is required for your safety: gloves, long pants and boots. We also recommend a hat and long-sleeved shirts for protection from the sun. We’ll have some extra gloves, but not enough for everyone, and not as comfortable as your own might be.
You should bring water and a snack if you think you’ll get hungry before lunch. We’ll have some water and will provide all tools, as well as lunch at the end of the work session. A small pack to carry water bottles, sunscreen, eye protection, wallet and personal items is a good idea.
Everyone will receive a safety talk before the work starts, and crew leaders’ first responsibility is to make sure volunteers are not risking injury to themselves or others. Crew Leaders will instruct you on safety procedures and First Aid Certified individual(s) will be at each work event. In addition, we will make every effort to have an EMT on hand at the larger work events.
How long will I be out there?
We'll work until lunch time, and then you can either go home or enjoy some lunch. We typically start early in the morning during the warmer months and a little later during the cooler months, and we'll work 4-5 hours.
Trail construction varies with the terrain. On flat or gently sloping land the work is primarily clearing a narrow path (about three feet) and pruning or removing vegetation. (Some vegetation will be replanted.) On steeper terrain, it is necessary to cut a “bench,” a small road, into the hillside. This is more labor-intensive, and requires the use of picks and pick-mattocks as well as digging bars to remove large rocks. Regardless of the terrain, you will not be asked to do any work you aren’t comfortable doing, and your strength, fitness and energy will be considered in work assignments. We want our volunteers to enjoy their trail building experience, and the amount of effort you put into it is up to you. You may find a crew leader recommending that you take a break or get a drink of water.
It’s possible, but not likely. Snakes, who may be out and about in October, March, April and May, don’t like to be around human activity, and will quietly move away to more peaceful surroundings. In our safety talks at the beginning of the work event we’ll go into detail about any possible hazards, and how to minimize your risk.
The most common tools used to build trails are the pick- mattock — a pick with one end that is flat and around three inches wide — and the McLeod, a firefighting tool that is like a wide hoe on one edge and a rake on the other.
We discourage dogs on trail work events. They need to be on a leash, and it’s not practical to hold a leash while building trail. In some places it’s possible to find a shady spot to tie a dog, in others it’s not. So please leave your dog at home, and bring it back to romp on the trail after it’s built.
Children who are old enough to help with the work are welcome to join in. Children must be 12 years of age, and must stay with a parent or guardian during the event.
You can sign up for any date. We are hoping to have sponsors for every date, and individual volunteers are welcome at all work events.
Work events have been reaching the limit as far head as three weeks, so if you really want a specific date register well ahead of time. At the latest you should sign up by Monday of the week before the event to allow planning and ordering lunches.
Unless it’s a downpour or lightning is present, work will go on. If there’s a chance of showers, bring raingear. It’s also a good idea to put a towel and spare shoes and socks in the car.