The National Park Service has issued guidelines that allow us to resume our trail and campsite maintenance as well as boundary monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is great news! However, there are a few tasks to complete before heading out, and guidance to work within while on the trail so that we remain as safe as possible.
Volunteers need to watch a video and complete an on-line acknowledgement form to demonstrate that you have read, acknowledge, and agree to follow actions to improve safety found in the COVID-19 JHA (Job Hazard Analysis) and training. This means that before you can work on the trail, campsites, or boundary, every maintainer and monitor needs to go to ATC’s “Volunteer Protocols During COVID-19” page (https://appalachiantrail.org/get-involved/volunteer/safety/covid-19/) and:
- View the 17-minute on-line training video
- Read and be familiar with the guidelines and links including the one-page reference chart
- Complete the online “Re-Engagement Acknowledgement – COVID-19” form
This is required not only ourselves, but any person that goes out on the trail, campsite, or boundary with us.
If you are not comfortable performing your maintainer or monitor duties in these conditions, you are under no obligation to complete them. Please let us know so we can adjust.
Campsite maintainers: Please use the revised campsite maintainer tip sheet for campsite tasks (https://www.matc.org/assets/Campsite-Maintainer-Tip-Sheet_COVID-19.pdf). Please do not perform the following:
- Privy maintenance
- Lean-to maintenance
- Trash clean-up
If you are going out by yourself or with someone from your “household” to maintain the trail, campsites, or boundary then it is a little easier to make sure you are safe. If you have someone from outside of your “household” accompany you, which is recommended in general, then you become a “trip leader” and have to take some additional precautions. These include:
- No sharing tools
- No carpooling
- No sharing food or drinks
- Maintaining social distancing
Please contact your Overseer with any questions.
Thank you for your dedication to the AT!