Trail Work

By Sue Freeman

Aghhh, sounds like work doesn’t it? Well, maybe, some of it is. But, trail work also entails camaraderie, great exercise, and the feeling of contributing to the benefit of society at large and to generations who follow. The ever increasing network of trails in the greater Rochester area are primarily built and maintained by volunteers. Consider joining their ranks by becoming a trail worker.

Many trail volunteers contribute in ways that don’t break a sweat and don’t even necessitate setting foot on a trail. They write articles for newsletters, document history, organize fund raisers, man (or woman) booths at festivals, design and update web sites, create newsletters, take notes at meetings, write grant applications, publicize events, attend meetings on behalf of a trail group, present slide shows to promote trails, design brochures, etc. As a specific example, the Finger Lakes Trail Conference is looking for phone callers – people with free long distance service, who can make phone calls to check data for publications, welcome new members, or remind members who haven’t renewed their membership. The list of opportunities is almost endless and utilizes the diverse talents that people bring to the table.

Of course, there’s a huge component of physical trail work to be done also. Sweat-inducing trail work includes picking up litter, clipping trees and bushes along trails, clearing brush, painting blazes, leading hikes, designing and building bridges and boardwalks, posting signs and painting barriers. You can join a trail crew to hit the trail once per week for year-round trail work or join a trail crew for a single short term project.

For instance, this year Victor Hiking Trails has several bridge building projects scheduled. If you can spare a few hours, they’d love to hear from you. The Finger Lakes Trail Conference schedules Alley Cat Crews each year for week-long trail building/improvements in the summer and fall. Each crew has a specific assignment such as building a bridge, shelter or boardwalk, clearing sections of particularly overgrown trail, or improving trail with waterbars or steps.

Physical trail work is a great way to spend a day or week-worth of vacation time. You’ll get exercise, work with like-minded folks, and leave with a real sense of satisfaction for a job well done. In many of today’s office jobs it’s hard to point to something and say “I accomplished that.” With trail work you can certainly point to the bridge, shelter, or segment of trail and say with pride, “Look what I did.”

To get involved with trail work – both the physical and the non-physical, contact these folks:
Finger Lakes Trail Conference, Howard Beye,
Victor Hiking Trails, Dave Wright,
Ontario Pathways (Canandaigua), call 585-234-7722
Crescent Trail Association (Perinton), Dave Schaeffer,
Friends of Webster Trails, Rich Morrill,
Friends of Genesee Valley Greenway, select Volunteer at
Macedon Trail Committee, Pete Henry, (315) 986-2289

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