By Peter Roderick

Like highways that we travel on in motor vehicles, trails require upkeep and maintenance. Every spring, AMC volunteers work to protect trails from damage from erosion and other natural occurrences. No special skills are necessary, just a willingness to get a little dirty.

AMC Maine Chapter volunteers, aka the “bug net gang,” enjoy some time well
spent in the Maine woods doing some much needed and very satisfying trail work.
Kristen Grant photo.

Spring trail work involves removing accumulated debris from drainages or water bars. These ditch-like “structures” force water to follow the path of least resistance off the trail. Along with providing trail protection, drainages are excellent at catching and holding fallen leaves, silt and small stones. Cleaning water bars is a prime spring-time activity for trail work volunteers. We also trim back encroaching plant growth and check that trail blazes are easily seen. Once these fundamentals are attended to, improvements such as bog bridging or stepping stones may be added to consistently wet areas and other higher-level projects are assessed and scheduled.

Sound fun? Please consider volunteering with us! Trail work yields immediate, easily-seen results. It’s quite satisfying. Spring trail work trips are posted in this edition of Wilderness Matters and on the Maine Chapter website, We’re also looking for members to join the Trail Committee team. No prior trail work experience is necessary. If you love Maine trails and you want to help protect them and grow the trail team, consider joining this committee. Contact Phil Coyne, Trail Committee Chair, at to learn more.