The Trailkeepers are a group over 20 volunteers who work independently to monitor and provide basic maintenance of over 19 miles of blazed trails and woods roads. Each volunteer reports to the Trailkeeper Coordinator four times a year, (March, June, September, and December), on the condition of a trail and blazing. Their trail reports address the trail tread and corridor, blazes, and other conditions needing attention (e.g., severe erosion, trash accumulation and potentially unsafe conditions like leaning or dead trees close to the trail). If they are near a forest regeneration site, they assess the condition of the fencing.
Trailkeepers maintain their trail sections in several ways. First, they make sure the tread is clean and clear by “brushing” the trail. This involves trimming branches and pruning bushes and removing whatever will get in the way of a hiker. For a narrow hiking trail, this represents a rectangular passage or corridor free of vegetation 2 to 3 feet on either side of the trail center line and to a height of 8 feet. Trash pickup and repainting the blazes are also included. Some Trailkeepers also address minor erosion problems, for example, unclogging blocked culverts or channels to keep water running beneath trails and preventing erosion. Problems that cannot be remedied by a Trailkeeper are brought to the attention of the Trailkeeper Coordinator and SMC Chair. If warranted, other Conservancy resources get involved, or the County maintenance staff is notified.
We are always looking to involve more people in the Trailkeepers program. Sometimes local community groups and environmental clubs have taken on Trailkeeper responsibilities. Contact Dennis Percher , Chair and Trailkeepers Coordinator, if you or your group is interested.
The Trailkeepers meet once a year as a group on a Saturday morning each March for a breakfast. They discuss plans for the year and obstacles they have encountered, and work on a common trail project. Check the somocon.org calendar for the date. If interested in attending and learning more about the program, contact the Trailkeepers coordinator.
For a list of the current Trailkeepers and their assignments, click here.
For a list of the detailed Trailkeeper responsibilities and the report form, click here.