National Trails Day, White Mountains

National Trails day, hiker on the Appalachian Trail (Gulfside Trail) in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. Mount Washington is in the background. The Great Gulf is on the left out of view.
Gulfside Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

National Trails Day, White Mountains – Today is American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, an annual event held on the first Saturday in June. The intention of this day is to celebrate and create awareness for America's Trail system. It is also a day to recognize the work of all the volunteers who do trail maintenance along America’s trail system.

My photography work is mainly done in the New Hampshire White Mountains these days, and I see a lot of the work trail maintenance groups and the volunteers of the adapt-a-trail program are doing to better the White Mountains trail system. Unfortunately, I have also seen the destruction done to our trails when volunteers are not properly trained, but that is for another day.

A properly applied trail blaze along the Artist's Bluff Path in White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Perfect Trail Blaze, Artist's Bluff, White Mountains
 

Volunteers are the key to conserving the trail system for future generations to enjoy. And today's hikers notice when blowdowns are removed, brush is scattered off the trail (not left in a pile next to the trail), herd paths are blocked off, trail blazing isn’t excessive, stumps (trippers) in the trail are cut at ground level, and waterbars are cleaned; And any trail work done looks natural and adheres to leave-no-trace practices.

A freshly cut blowdown that has been removed with the use of an axe along the Greenleaf Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Blowdown Removal – Greenleaf Trail, White Mountains
 

What I just described are the basic trail maintenance skills that every adopt-a-trail volunteer is taught, and they are the trademark of a well-maintained trail. A trail that has all these characteristics implies that a volunteer takes pride in his or her adopt-a-trail responsibilities. And these are the volunteers who we all should thank because there selfless acts of volunteering are bettering the White Mountains.

Newly built water drainage ditch along the Mt Kinsman Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. Much of the trail work done along the White Mountain trail system is done by volunteers.
Drainage Work – Mt. Kinsman Trail, White Mountains
 

Most volunteers take time away from there families a few days a year to work the trails here in the White Mountains. And they expect nothing in return and don't want recognition for there selfless acts of volunteerism. These are characteristics of a true volunteer. Without these dedicated volunteers, our hiking trails really would be in shambles.

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image. And you can view more images of hiking trails here.

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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