Leaves and Drainages: A Muddy Mix

It’s fall. That time of year with crisp air, shorter daylight hours, crunchy apples… and what else? Falling leaves! This vibrant foliage settles in voluminous quantities onto the ground in our yards. And the A.T. isn’t immune to this annual jettison of foliage either. But on the A.T. it can create problems with water drainages if not addressed. When it rains the leaves wash into these drainages where they often accumulate in the narrow or flatter locales, essentially damming the flow of water. Where’s the water to go now? In the trail! Water is ruthless and will find its way around and over obstacles if its designed flow path is interrupted, and either erode the trail, create a mud hole, or perhaps ruin the drainage structure itself. What’s a trail maintainer to do? Grab your favorite hoe and go for a nice walk on your trail section, combing the drainages and their outflows of leaves. Don’t think you are out of the woods if your trail section is mostly non-deciduous trees. Needles shed from softwood trees can cause the same issues! It’s a great time of year to be in the woods, so please consider purging your drainages of leaves, and needles, to keep water off the trail!

Trail before drainage cleaned- muddy…
Drainage full of needles and leaves
Drainage after it was raked out.
Trail after drainage cleaned- no more pooled water!

Posted in Announcements, Work Trips.