Did you think about how that amazing trail you love hike stays so clean and not overgrown?  Volunteers spend countless hours keeping our trails in a good hiking condition. Have you ever thought about volunteering to do that work along with others? Ambassador Lori talks about her time volunteering on trail maintenance. 

Many years ago, when I walked the trail with my dad, I’d be lucky if I saw another person on it. Those days are gone. In BC, Canada where I hike a day doesn’t go by where I see no one on the trail. Some of our trails are so popular that if you’re not there at dawn chances are you will not be able to even park without adding many kilometers/miles onto your trek. Hiking has become very popular. With that, keeping the trail clean of debris’ is important in everyone’s safe return home.

Trails are different in every part of the world, but one thing is certain. Trails require pruning, building and dead-fall removal. It is impossible for park rangers to do this alone. That’s where volunteers are greatly appreciated, not just by the park rangers but by all the people who walk along the twisted trails day after day. Being in nature whether it’s hiking with friends, picking up garbage, building or trail maintenance is a rewarding day in nature with like-minded people.

I just recently signed up and stepped completely out of my comfort zone. I had no idea what the trail would be like. Would it be steep or exposed? I’m kind of a Scaredy Cat. In the end I was able to help prune the bushes back. It was a little tough in some sections keeping up, but I made a difference. The one thing I noticed was not many people had signed up. Then I realized perhaps a lot of people don’t know that you can volunteer. I needed to change that.

To do trail work or maintenance you don’t have to be skilled just willing to work. There’s a job for everyone. There’s moving dead-fall, building bridges, adding trail signs and pruning bushes and trees. To volunteer you must bring your regular hiking pack with you with the ten essentials. On top of that you’ll need food, water, gloves, and possibly clippers of some kind to cut away the branches.

Perhaps it’s a few days on the mountains working in the day and tenting at night or maybe it’s just a day hike. Either way it’s a day of paying-it-forward. You’ll make new hiking friends. It will be rewarding and satisfying. There are lots of dates already scheduled to volunteer at your favorite park. Grab a few friends and sign up. You’ll be happy you did!

And to you I say, thanks for doing your part to keep our trails safe for the people who will walk them daily…

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