Adopting a hiking trail
My husband and I adopted a hiking trail. If you are looking for something to do that would get you out into the great outdoors, and would allow you to help improve our environment, I’d suggest becoming a trail maintainer.
There is a park near us, the Black Rock Forest, which consists of nearly 4,000 acres of forest. It also has a biological field station and two green buildings. A non-profit organization manages the property, conducts research and educates more than 13,000 students each year. They also accept trail volunteers.
As a trail volunteer, we “adopted” a trail. This means we are responsible for maintaining it. The requirements are actually quite simple. We need to walk the trail a few times a year at a minimum. We clip any plants that are overtaking the trail. We report on any conditions we cannot fix. We paint the trail blazes that have deteriorated, and help ensure any rock, stone or other walkways are clear. We pick up any garbage we might find, and that’s it!
We went out on our first maintenance hike this past week. There are two parking areas on different sides of the park. Both require us to walk about 1.5 miles to get to one end of the trail. The trail itself is about 1.3 miles. Well, on our first trip we spent 3 hours on the trail and only finished about half “our” trail. And how did we do?
- We learned we are not supposed to put up signs (so the one I’m holding below did not get used!)
- We learned that we need to figure out a better way to carry paint. I put some in an old salad dressing container because it had a wide mouth and could be closed securely. I still got paint all over my hands, my jacket. Geez.
- We learned that Mountain Laurel grows very fast. There was a lot more of it than when we took a stroll in that area a few months ago.
- We learned that gnats love paint and the underside of baseball caps.
- We learned that this was a fun way to spend part of our day.
And the last bullet is the reason I’m writing this post. If you are looking for something relatively easy to do, that will not only help you stay healthy but will allow you to help our environment, you too should find a local forest, and see if you they will adopt a trail. Being a trail parent is fun.