Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Apr 21 2007 - AT Trail Maintenance Workshop (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jerry Wright
Participants:Jerry Wright, Rich Burner, Ruwan Alwis, John Meagher

Write Up:
The project started with a short introduction to tools, their purpose, nomenclature and how to use them safely. After reviewing a couple of handouts on trail layout and construction, we went for the practical application portion of the day. Fundamentally trail work is easy, you just have to rearrange what is already there. We drained several wet areas of the trail leading to the shelter from Wolfsville road and put in several good sized stepping stones over places where drains had to cross the trail. Where the trail starts up the rock pile toward the powerline, we reconstructed about 50 ft of trail by strategically placing steps and filling some low places between rocks to provide better footing. In the powerline right of way we did some more drainage work and set several steps to stop erosion on an exposed clay bank. After the work session, we drove over to a creek crossing that I worked on last week with the Mountain Club of Maryland using a grip hoist and hiwire techniques. This was to show how show how substantial trail construction can be done yet the hiker thinks the stones are naturally there.

For wildflower lovers, blood root and hepatica were in full bloom over much of the section of trail we worked on; colts foot was in bloom in the parking area.

-Jerry Wright

Our leader summed up his years of trail maintenance experience into two brief mantras:
1. Water always runs downhill.
2. Be smarter than the rock.
If you can remember these two things, you should do ok (but it’s not as easy as it sounds!). After a brief introduction to the standard tools for trail work, the three of us headed down the AT trail near Wolfsville Road. First, we took on a couple of light projects: creating small drainage channels where runoff from rains was collecting. We took a lunch break at the AT shelter and chatted with a father and son pair, who were taking a break on their way up the trail.

We wrapped up the day’s work by repairing a couple of eroded parts of the trail. In the first section, we moved in some large stepping rocks and reinforced the surrounding trailbed with fill rock material. In the second section, we created sort of a raised berm and leveled it off again with fill material to try to channel the water from the hillside slope elsewhere.

It was relatively light work but the few hikers we saw that day seemed to appreciate it by giving shouts of “Thanks!”

On our way back home, we got to check out a real heavy duty trail maintenance project.

-Ruwan Alwis, attendee

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