(Photo by Robert Barossi)
by Robert Barossi
Trail maintenance is one of the most common tasks practiced by environmental volunteers. Everywhere there are trails through the wilderness, there is likely an environmental organization or community organization that maintains those trails. And most of that work is likely performed by volunteers, who go out and cut down branches, remove fallen trees, fix water bars and keep the trail safe and accessible. Volunteers get involved in this kind of work for many reasons. For example, one volunteer I met was a passionate bike rider. He loved to ride through the wilderness and was part of a mountain biking group that did a lot of trail maintenance. He had even taken some classes to become a “Trail Boss.” He was passionate about wanting to make sure that the public had access to those trails and wanting the public to know that mountain bikers were out there protecting the trails, and nature, not destroying them.
In this story out of Washington state, there’s a similar group trying to rebuild an historic wilderness trail. Daniel Probst is leading the effort to rebuild and restore a trail that was once part of a famous race, the Mount Baker Marathon. The route has become treacherous for runners still trying to make the journey, or anyone else attempting to simply enjoy the path through the woods. Along with the forest service and volunteers from the Washington Trails Association and Cascade Mountain Runners, the effort is on to clear the trail. The hope is that some time soon, the trail will be able to once again host an ultra-marathon as well as hikers wanting to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.