Posts Tagged: trail maintenance

Trail Blazing, Trail Stewardship

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

Trail Blazing, Trail Stewardship – Painted trail blazing (paint marks on trees that mark the path of a trail) along the White Mountains trail system is an endless complaint among outdoor enthusiasts. Either the trail is excessively blazed or not blazed enough. I don’t mind the trails that have little trail blazing, but I'm not a fan of the excessive trail blazing.

Proper trail blazing protocol seems to vary among the trail maintenance organizations, but the ending result is the same. Most of these organizations agree that a standard trail blaze is a two inch by six inch rectangle placed about head height on trees. No painting of arrows, only a single vertical blaze, should be painted on a tree. For more information on blazing see the Randolph Mountain Club’s trail blazing protocol page.

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Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship

Franconia Notch State Park - Trail ladder along the Hi-Cannon Trail. This trail leads to the summit of Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA.
Traditional Ladder – Hi-Cannon Trail, Cannon Mountain

Trail Ladders & Stairs, Trail Stewardship – Today’s blog article focuses on a keyword search term. I chose one search term, trail ladder, and searched my image archive to see what imagery I have available that represents this area of trail stewardship. And because staircases and ladders are often considered to be one and the same among some hikers, I have included trail staircases.

Here in the New Hampshire White Mountains, we have some steep trails. And if it wasn’t for trail ladders we would have a heck of a time hiking up and down some trails. Can you imagine ascending or descending the Six Husbands Traill or the Hi-Cannon Trail without ladders? Six Husbands Trail would be interesting.

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Davis Path, AMC Trail Work

Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness - Trail Reconstruction sign along Davis Path during the summer months in Hadley's Purchase, New Hampshire.
Davis Path Reconstruction – White Mountains, New Hampshire

Davis Path, AMC Trail Work – In July of 2012, I had the opportunity to hike into the Dry River Wilderness in the New Hampshire White Mountains to photograph stonework that is being built along the Davis Path. A professional AMC Trail crew, with the help of volunteers, is working on a trail project repairing heavy erosion damage along a section of Davis Path.

With the use of low impact practices and adhering to trail maintenance guidelines, this trail crew is doing an outstanding job repairing the trail. The stonework looks excellent, blends in well with its surroundings, and should last for years. The care being taken to conserve Davis Path is awesome. Kudos to the trail crew! 

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Repaired Trail Blazing, Trail Maintenance

Trail blazing along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. A proper blaze is a two by six inch rectangle. Spills and runs should be wiped away when applied, and once dried runs can be removed using proper techniques. See trail maintenance guidelines if you are unsure on proper blazing protocol. After a trail inspection by Forest Service in June 2012, they (FS) stepped in on the ongoing work. This dripping blaze has been removed by proper parties.
September 2011 – Improper Trail Blazing, Mt Tecumseh Trail

Repaired Trail Blazing, Trail Maintenance – Some of the issues along the Mt Tecumseh Trail in Waterville Valley New Hampshire have been addressed and corrected by Forest Service. I commend Forest Service for correcting issues along this trail. And it is satisfying to know they are taking the needed steps to improve the White Mountains trail system.

In 2011, while hiking the Mt Tecumseh Trail, I noted a trail blazing issue, so I reported it to Forest Service. The trail blazing was not per trail maintenance guidelines and ruined the overall beauty of the trail. The Ranger who looked into it and responded, via email, stated a bad can of paint was the cause. Included in this blog article are before & after photos of the trail blazing that was removed.

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