The Call of the Trail

Being a trail steward, there are times you can hear the call of the trail, beckoning you to check your section.

Right after the snow begins to melt, you wonder if its weight has brought down any trees and branches across the trail. This is usually my first walkthrough of the trail section I take care of.

Then, there are April showers that bring May ... knotweed, Japanese rose, garlic mustard, and all kinds of weeds that are hungry to eat the trail and dampen your dry socks after the morning dew or spring rain. Fortunately, that steward sense kicks in and you remember that rain plus sunshine equals growth, so it's probably time to walk your section again with the string trimmer, knocking back the weeds 2-3 feet from the trail while at the same time taking care to avoid mayapple, trillium, and many other native plants.

Did you see and hear that? Yup, storm season is next. If you're like me and enjoy watching a good storm from the window or back porch of your house, you will know depending on wind strength you probably should check on your section. It's well known that if a tree falls in the woods, 90% of the time it'll go for any trail within its reach.

Then there is that loud calling in the weeks leading up to the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge and Baker Trail UltraChallenge. You can bet at any given time you'll find a trail steward hard at work getting the trail ready for the big event!

After that, as long as Mother Nature is nice, you only have to go out few more times before the leaves start to fall and, soon enough, the snow again.

After a few passes on your trail section you'll be familiar enough to notice areas where problems such as erosion are occurring and where improvements can be made, in order to make the trail safer and even more enjoyable for walkers, hikers, and runners.

I think I speak for all trail stewards when I say that seeing people getting their feet on the trail is the biggest sense of joy for us! And while you're out there, if you happen to encounter a problem please report it to us at

As always, happy hiking!


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