Start this summer’s backpacking season by lending a hand. By doing so you can protect the resources in the wilderness from erosion, trash, and damage to a trail. The Forest Service budgets are shrinking, so trail maintenance is likely not going to happen this year. Here is where we, as users of the trails, can help. It is easy and doesn’t require any paperwork to sign up. Here are a few ideas for to help the Forest Service and protect the wilderness for future use. While hiking on the trail;
- Pick up trash. Yes, it is a bummer people toss plastic bottles, aluminum cans, or food wrappers in the wilderness. Sometimes it slips out of our bags or pockets and we don’t know it too. Either way, stopping to pick it up helps keep the wilderness clean and enjoyable for future users. In some cases picking up trash can also protect the wildlife.
- Clear the trail while you walk. Small limbs, rocks, or even pine cones can be found on the trail from last winter and springs runoff. Removing these objects will help users stay on the trail and, in some cases, will help preserve and maintain the trail corridor.
- Remove down trees. A tree down across the trail creates reroutes, which disturbs natural and potentially cultural resources. Pushing a tress off the trail helps prevent this from happening. It can take only a couple of minutes, but saves time, money, and resources down the road.
- Step onto then over fallen trees. Sometimes you cannot move the down trees off the trail, but stepping on and over the tree is better than creating a route around one. However, make sure you can safely do this without injuring yourself. Sometimes snakes hang out underneath fallen trees.
If every hiker would do some of these ideas each trip, the trails would be better for it. Of course, we recommend you only do this in a safe manner. It is not worth getting injured over. It is up to you to determine whether it is safe or not. Have a great weekend!