They Bonded as the Pacific Crest Trail Burned. Now They Heal It.

He posted photos of himself on Facebook as he hiked hundreds of miles of the vast Pacific Crest Trail, masked in a bandanna to protect his lungs from the smoke of the fires that had closed down parts of it. She told him about the inner workings of NASA, where she was a college intern in Alabama. As the West burned a year ago, Mark Beebe, the hiker, and Tara Prevo, the...

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Best of the burden: Smokies mules make backcountry operations possible

In popular culture mules get a bad rap, cast as stubborn, ornery and even mischievous. But Danny Gibson, animal packer for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spends more time with mules than just about anybody around, and he’s quick to jump to their defense. “They have that notorious reputation of being stubborn, but they’re not really stubborn — they just don’t...

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Hiking groups do more than just hike

When people think of hiking clubs, they probably envision groups that lead hikes in the forests and mountains — and they’d be right. But Southern Oregon is home to a number of organizations that do a lot more than hike — they actually get their hands dirty keeping trails open, and in some cases they are building new thoroughfares in the backcountry. Gabe Howe, director...

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Public comment sought on trail improvement plan for Pisgah National Forest

Popular trails in the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County, North Carolina are included in a trail improvement plan for the Pisgah National Forest. “Each year, several million visitors come to experience the natural beauty and rich history of the Pisgah,” said Dave Casey, the head ranger for the Pisgah district of the...

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Pisgah Ranger District seeks public input on proposed recreation project

The Pisgah National Forest will be holding an open house on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. at the Pisgah Ranger Station to discuss a proposed project to increase the sustainability of recreation. “The project is not intended to address all possible improvements on the Pisgah Ranger District, but includes timely projects that consider the social, ecological,...

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Smokies Park Recruits Trail Volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced several volunteer workdays beginning April 5 through April 28, 2018 along heavily-used trails and nature loops as the park prepares for the busy summer season. These opportunities are ideal for people interested in learning more about the park and the trails program through hands-on service alongside experienced...

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Forest Service turns to volunteers for trail repair

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to double the workload of its volunteer helpers as it attacks a backlog of trail maintenance largely in Montana. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex’s 3,200 miles of trail arrived No. 1 on a Forest Service priority list for trail work. So did the Continental Divide Scenic Trail; its largest segment passes through Montana. And the Central...

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USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvements for Forest System Trails

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands. Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be...

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How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Mason Boring and Clayton Morgan held adjoining handles of a perforated lancetooth two-man saw, pulling the more-than-70-year-old piece of equipment back and forth. The two were clearing a fallen tree from Fodderstack horse and hiking trail in Cherokee National Forest. Boring estimated it had been five years since a crew came to clear the path. That’s what brought...

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Mountains to Sea Trail News Briefs

SIGNS Allen Poole, North Carolina’s Mountains to Sea Trail volunteer Task Force Leader on the Outer Banks, has been hard at work adding signs and blazes along the route there. On this stretch, it is challenging to know which beach access to use to come on and off the beach, so his work will be a big help to MST hikers. Meanwhile, the Trail Resource Manager Jim...

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Should people pay to play in Pisgah National Forest?

Patrick Scott walks 380 miles for work. It’s not every day, but that’s how many miles curve, dip and roll through the Pisgah National Forest. If laid end to end, those trails would stretch from Asheville, NC to Montgomery, Alabama, and Scott, the forest’s Pisgah District trail program manager, must oversee them all. The undertaking is daunting not just for the miles, but...

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Idaho Trails Association Seeking New Members

The Idaho Trails Association is conducting its annual membership drive. The ITA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2010 to promote the continued enjoyment of Idaho’s hiking trails. The ITA accomplishes this mission by conducting field projects to maintain or construct non-motorized trails and by teaching trail maintenance skills to volunteer workers. The...

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Conserving Carolina’s Trail Crew builds, maintains sustainable trails

Every Wednesday, the Trail Crew convenes to create and to improve Conserving Carolina’s extensive network of trails in the Hickory Nut Gorge, under the direction of Conserving Carolina’s trails coordinator, Peter Barr. “Our crew is now fondly called Conserving Carolina ‘Rock Crushers’ Trail Crew, because we hand made so much gravel,” says Peter. “We make gravel to harden...

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Have crosscut, will travel; Sawyers from Bitterroot National Forest aid hurricane recovery effort

Three sawyers from the Bitterroot National Forest of Montana are taking their crosscut saws to hurricane-ravaged Georgia to help clear trees in wilderness areas there. The three — Amelia Shields, Sierra LaBonte and Katherine Bicking — left the Bitterroot National Forest, where they worked all summer clearing trails. They expect to be available for work on the...

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Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation needs help maintaining hiking trails near Tucson. Monsoon 2017 has let up for now, but just weeks ago storms dumped lots of rain on southern Arizona. All that rain caused weeds and other plants to grow out of control. County officials are looking for trail stewards to make sure these trails continue looking good....

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Trail clearing on North Shore another example that public are future to public lands

Another spring work weekend on the Superior Hiking Trail reinforces a wider story: Some of Minnesota’s favorite footpaths are nothing without the sweat and commitment of volunteers. The morning woke up dry and with promise. It was warming fast in the early sun, which set the North Shore’s boreal tree line in sharp relief against an almost bluebird sky. It was...

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Forest Service seeks input on trail maintenance priorities

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region is inviting the public to help identify trails that will be part of an effort with partners and volunteers to increase the pace of trail maintenance. Nationwide, the Forest Service will select nine to 15 priority areas among its nine regions where a backlog in trail maintenance contributed to reduced access, potential harm...

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Labor of love in the wilderness

Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians who frequent the forests and mountain trails outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe perform a vital role as guardians of these recreational areas. Each year, groups from local clubs put in thousands of volunteer hours to keep the trails clear of vegetation, repair weather- and fire-caused damage or create new routes to enhance the...

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Volunteers key to making Appalachian Trail a success

The millions of people who enjoy the Appalachian Trail each year might not realize just what it takes to make its incredible recreational opportunities available to them. Though it features countless wonders of nature, the trail itself did not come about naturally. It took years of effort to achieve its completion, and in the nearly 80 years since then, it’s...

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Adirondack Hiking Trails Show Their Age

When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it...

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Collaborative Project May Impact Weekday Hiking on Pacific Crest and Summit Lake Trails

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience (ACE), the Truckee Trail Foundation (TTF) and the Tahoe National Forest are working diligently to set the foundation for a major work day involving over 200 employees from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). The project will reconstruct sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) north of California Old Highway 40 past...

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Appalachian Trail Volunteers Report Record Number of Hours During Federal Fiscal Year

For fiscal year 2015, a record-breaking 6,827 volunteers reported approximately 272,477 hours to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. Since the ATC began collecting reports in 1983, individuals have contributed more than 5 million hours to the A.T., resulting in a volunteer network that is recognized worldwide. The record number of...

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Wanted: Volunteers to adopt sections of Maine Appalachian Trail

With a hiking pole in one hand and pruning shears in the other, Ron Dobra picked his way along the Appalachian Trail, snipping overhanging branches and making note of eroding soil. For the past 20 some odd years, he has helped maintain the popular hiking trail, which spans from Georgia to Maine and is seeing more foot traffic each year. “The entire length of the AT —...

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Glacier’s popular Highline Trail gets a facelift

The first mile of the Highline Trail is unforgettable. It’s also heavily used. “The Highline is probably one of the most popular trails in the park,” said Denise Germann, spokeswoman for Glacier National Park. All that use is leading to some wear and tear on the trail, which is why it will be having some work done to it this fall. The Highline Trail...

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Trails Forever crew making progress on Alum Cave Trail

Perhaps you’ve hiked the Alum Cave Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the last few weeks. Then you know that The Friends of the Smokies Trails Forever crew is making progress on the restoration of this popular trail. The 11-person National Park Service crew is joined by 21 Conservation Corps members on Monday through Thursday. The trail work started in May...

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Smokies Trail Sections in the Forney Creek Area Closed Temporarily for Trail Rehabilitation

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of three trail sections in the lower Forney Creek Trail area for a trail rehabilitation project that will include work on the Lakeshore, White Oak Branch, and Forney Creek trails. Mechanized equipment will be used to significantly improve the condition and sustainability of these trails. The...

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Shovels up! Grooming hiking trails is a good deed and a good workout

While shoveling scoop after scoop filled with rocks, you wonder why anyone pays money to work out. If you want to do some heavy lifting, the good folks at the Washington Trails Association would be thrilled to have you. They’ll put you through the trail-work grinder for free — rain, cold or shine. Twenty-plus volunteers, from kids on up, arrived on a Sunday at Tiger...

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Trail angels keep Idaho Foothills trails in prime shape

A tan ribbon of dirt snaking across the landscape serves many functions. It gets us from point A to point B, whether on foot, bike, motorcycle or horseback, and often in an interesting way. How often do you find yourself walking a straight line in the Foothills? Not often. Part of that is the topography doesn’t allow it, but it’s also more interesting for a trail to...

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Volunteers Donate More than 200,000 Hours in 2014 to Maintaining the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has announced that for fiscal year 2014, 5,617 volunteers reported 241,936 hours to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. Since the ATC began collecting reports in 1983, individuals have contributed more than 5 million hours to the A.T., resulting in a volunteer network that is recognized...

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Sweating The Trail Details In The National Parks

Sweat and muscle for trail work in Rocky Mountain National Park comes, in part, in the form of Conservation Corps provided through the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. This past spring the Conservancy sent 36 conservation corps interns out into the field in six crews for an 11-week internship as part of its Conservation Corps Program. Half of this group worked in the national...

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Trail Building (And Other Interesting Facts)

There is an endless tug of war game being played between trail workers and hikers (the two groups often wear each other’s labels). Hikers erode the trail as they hike, causing it to literally move downhill. This is known as ‘tread creep’ in the business. The trail sinks and the slight leaning angle of it (which is actually an intentional design to keep water off of the...

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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...

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