Trail Building at Camp Tuscazoar
The Buckeye Trail crew successfully took more of the Buckeye Trail off road and back on trail-trail that they BUILT.
Trail Building is Hard Work
Tools of Trail Building
There are several steps to trail building. The first step is the mapping out of the trail. There there is both art and science involved in trail building. (The first step is actually getting all the permissions to move/build trail from all the involved regulatory entities, but that’s a blog post all by itself.)
There is consideration of the slope, you don’t want to exceed a certain grade. You want to the trail to be fairly level, the hiker doesn’t want to walk on a cambered area. There might only be a limited area that the trail can be built.
Big Stuff Out
First you clear big trees, and logs. Yep, the volunteers dug that tree completely out of the trail.The area might need to be brush hogged. Loppers are used to cut away vines and brambles. A leaf blower may be used to blow large loose debris and leaves off the area to be worked.
McLeod or Fire Rake
The fire rake is to rake all the vegetation off the area. We want to get down to dirt! You can also turn the fire rake sideways and hack away roots with the rake.
Some areas of the trail may need to be benched. A bench cut is the result of cutting a section of tread, or shelf across the side of a slope.
If you look at the side profile of this cut it looks like a bench, hence the name. Every rock, stump and woody plant must be thoroughly dug out, and the ground leveled off, with just enough slope that water can drain off.
What is everyone doing? Digging out every root and rock in our way!!
Our new section of trail leaves the woods and goes thru the power line. In this section, we were removing the heavy vegetation to get down to the dirt. This was harder than benching! We quickly became aware of a certain plant that grew in clumps that would require several whacks with the Pulaski or mattock to get it out of the ground.
The finishers are the volunteers who follow the benchers and rakers to you guessed it “finish” the trail. They rake any big berms of loose soil off the trail so the water won’t pool on the trail. They might remove roots and rocks. There are many different opinions on what the “finisher” should do.
What Do You get for your Effort?
Besides tired legs and an aching back? The satisfaction of seeing trail that you created, you built! A sense of pride when you hike through the woods, knowing this trail would not have existed without your hard work.
Next time you are out hiking in the woods, pause and admire the trail that volunteers built!