Trail Maintenance Tips
Appalachian Trail Conservancy On-line Newsletter
This chart is intended as a guide and is not comprehensive. Common sense and awareness are the best tools for any task.
Basic safety equipment for all trail work includes a first-aid kit, boots, work gloves, long pants, and appropriate dress for the weather.
Water is a hiker’s elixir of life. But, it’s also a trail maintainer’s worst enemy, hence, the need for waterbars. Properly installed waterbars will channel water off the trail, preventing footpath erosion and hours of labor trying to rebuild the path. However, waterbars require annual maintenance to keep erosion at bay. Waterbars are rock or log barriers (preferably rock for longer life) that divert water off the footpath. The basic rule of placement is to channel the water off the trail as soon as it flows onto it. It has been mentioned that some maintainers are not cleaning out waterbars each year on the trails they maintain, which is probably due to a lack of training. The MATC doesn’t regularly conduct training workshops. So, here’s a tip from Julian Wiggins of the Master of Forestry Program at the University of Maine at Orono. He has provided a dowloadable sketch and instructions entitled, “Tips for Annual Waterbar Maintenance,” which shows how waterbars should be cleaned:
Tips for Annual Waterbar Maintenance – PDF File