“Who creates the trail?” I asked at lunch time to a veteran BTA member. What I meant, in that badly worded question, was, who was in charge of mapping out with flags the new section of trail that we were building. “You are” he replied. Why yes, I WAS a trail creator! How cool was that!
The section of trail we were building was to take the Buckeye Trail off Route 22, a very busy road beside Piedmont Lake. There was a whirlwind of activity when we arrived, chainsaws, rototiller, weed whackers firing up. In no time people were in front of me, all seeming to know what they were doing. I began with loppers, to cut down small trees, branches, vines. The pink flag is in the middle of the trail. We were to clear about three feet on either side. (I could be wrong on this statement.) I was given a good tip of advice “throw your debris downhill, all downhill”.
The guys felled a big tree at the beginning. In a few minutes, I understood what they were doing with it.
There was a steep bank where the trail needed to go. I didn’t see the work go into it, as I was farther down the trail lopping, but voila! It looks like this log and trail were always there!
It was amazing to be in the front, where it was just a rough little trail where the first guys had gone through with a chain saw, and then look back. People with rakes, axes, shovels, pickax, were building a trail right behind me!
This is hard work! We took breaks and lunch time. More than once someone would remind us to work as much as you wanted, you’re a volunteer. Make sure you drink water.
It turned into a warm day in the Piedmont area, nice if you are sitting and eating lunch, a bit warmer if you are building a trail.
I became familiar with using a mattock in the afternoon to cut into the hillside to build the trail. This was tough work! After our afternoon break, I went back to lopping multi flower rose bushes, that was a bit easier.
It is extremely satisfying to walk back over a trail that simply didn’t exist six hours prior. What a difference team work can make!
We signed in on a worksheet first thing in the morning. The sheet wanted your round trip mileage, and I was astounded to see 200, 300, 500 mile round trip that volunteers came out to work on this section of trail! That is dedication! At 54 miles roundtrip, I was a close “local”.
The work was not ending on Saturday. This was a four day work party, so volunteers were getting back at it for three more days. I wished I could have committed more days, but was happy to get this one day of work in.
If you are interested in volunteering, it’s not all building trails. There are many opportunities available in the Buckeye Trail Association, from adopting trail, manning a booth at a fair, leading a hike, fundraising, public speaking, just visit the volunteer page on the Buckeye Trail Association.
Have you built a trail lately? Let me know!