Six Reasons to Thank Your Local Trail Maintenance Team

thank-your-local-trail-teamIf you like to explore local trails, there’s some­one you need to thank: your local trail main­tain­er, or more often, trail main­te­nance team. These peo­ple put in a lot of time and ener­gy into cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing the trails that allow you to get out and explore. The next time you hit the trails, take a moment and say thanks for a few things:

Keep­ing You Safe
Trail main­te­nance involves clear­ing haz­ards and build­ing bridges and oth­er struc­tures over poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous areas like rush­ing rivers. Trail main­tain­ers also do upkeep on these bridges and structures.

Stay­ing On Track
It’s no fun being lost, and we can thank our trail main­te­nance teams for doing their part to keep­ing us on the right track. From installing signs to tying route mark­ers along a trail, they’re in charge of mark­ing trails so that you can get from one point to anoth­er with­out get­ting lost in the woods.

Pro­tect­ing the Environment
It’s a tricky bal­anc­ing act: we want to get out there and enjoy nature, but we don’t want to tram­ple over it and destroy it. Well-main­tained trails keep peo­ple on the right path, avoid­ing unnec­es­sary ero­sion to the ecol­o­gy. That means that we can have our cake and eat it, too. On that note, remem­ber to stick to the trails that the crews work hard to maintain—don’t be a trail DIYer.

Clean­ing Up
It’s an unfor­tu­nate real­i­ty that some trail users leave more than just foot­steps. Trail main­te­nance teams do a great job gath­er­ing all the garbage some peo­ple leave behind on the trails. You can make their lives eas­i­er by pick­ing up trash that you encounter dur­ing your hike.

Find­ing Oppor­tu­ni­ties to Explore
Trail main­tain­ers cre­ate por­tals that allow peo­ple to access areas of nature they might not oth­er­wise be able to see. It’s easy to take for grant­ed a trail that leads you to the very top of a moun­tain with rel­a­tive ease. Remem­ber some­body designed that trail, and many peo­ple were involved with build­ing and main­tain­ing that trail, like­ly in the face of chal­lenges such as wind­storms, heavy rain, and fall­en trees. It kind of makes you want to climb to the top of a moun­tain to sing their praises.

Pick­ing the Route
The next time you head out on the trail, take note of the strate­gic ways it was built in order to nav­i­gate around nat­ur­al obsta­cles. Observe the switch­backs that allow you to climb up high with­out total­ly wear­ing your­self out. Notice the chains, ropes, and oth­er fea­tures that were added to help you get an extra boost where you need­ed it. All of these ele­ments were care­ful­ly designed to help you get the most out of your trail expe­ri­ence. So, if you hap­pen to cross paths with a trail main­tain­er, be sure to give them a high five and a “thanks” for enabling your expe­di­tion. Even bet­ter, ask them how you can get involved.