Trail construction and maintenance is a niche specialty with a language all its own. There are a host of land management best practices, safety strategies, outdoor ethics and aesthetics to consider, and there are specialized tools and rigs required to hoist and split rock, remove obstructions, fell trees, and create erosion control structures. I wonder how many hikers and skiing enthusiasts actually comprehend the planning and sweat that goes into maintaining the trails they enjoy? Unless you’ve actually been involved in the process, it is a bit hard to fathom. So here’s a shout out to all the organizations and volunteers who make our trail experiences appear seamless.
Appalachian Mountain Club’s freshly updated Complete Guide to Trail Building & Maintenance is a wonderful resource for any organization considering a new trail project, or for seasoned trail maintenance groups who want to train fresh crew members or update their techniques. From AT and forestry professionals, to local scouting and volunteer groups, whatever the experience level – the information covered in the book’s 13 comprehensive sections will expand existing skills and provide a solid foundation for those new to the subject.
The new and revised chapters integrate the latest thinking about climate change and how it impacts trail resiliency and trail building methodologies. They also cover current best practices in “equitable, inclusive, and accessible trail design and crew management.” For those who’d like to understand more about handling group dynamics, and how to incorporate ‘leave no trace’ trail work strategies into their planning, a special chapter covers topics surrounding leadership, communication, equity and inclusion, and work environment safety considerations.
The guide also includes:
- A list of suppliers of specialized tools, equipment and materials for trail work
- A handy glossary of terms
- A guide to selecting and maintaining tools
- Easy to understand diagrams and illustrations by Aaron North that complement the text.
Press this guide into service as you plan your group’s next trail renovation or maintenance project. The book also makes a thoughtful gift for the outdoorsperson on your list.