Volunteers help build a better Appalachian Trail

Visitors from across the country and throughout the world make the journey to Maine to hike the Appalachian Trail, and they have volunteers from just as far afield to thank for the trail’s upkeep.

“If you are hiking, you’d rather not have mud up to your ankles every step you are taking,” stated Ron Dobra, a sort of volunteer district manager for a sixty mile section of the AT. “You’d rather not be falling down in this slop.”

Dobra, who also volunteers to maintain his own three mile section of trail for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, is helping to oversee work being done by a trail crew on the trail towards the summit of Barren Mountain.

“These guys are hardening the trail so that it doesn’t wash away anymore than it has,” he explained. “A lot of people have never done this kind of thing at all, and it is tough work up there.”

The trail crew, which consists of a couple paid seasonal staff and a team of volunteers, will spend three weeks on this section of trail, building steps to keep hikers from having to trudge through mud.

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club helps protect and maintain 267 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The all-volunteer organization helps coordinate several trail building projects each year with the help of nearly 400 volunteers.

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