The Trailkeepers is a group of a dozen 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, starting in 2009, nearby forest regeneration sites. 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). For the Forest Regeneration sites, 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 looking to involve more people in the Trailkeepers program. Starting in 2009, some local community groups and environmental clubs have begun taking on Trailkeeper responsibilities. We are always open to this type of community engagement. Contact Andrew Joyce, Trailkeepers Coordinator, if you or your group is interested.