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Welcome to the Trail Volunteers Forum

For information on trail work parties and volunteer opportunities, check this forum often. As a PCT enthusiast and volunteer your efforts keep the crown jewel shining!

Moderator: North 350 Blades

Welcome to the Trail Volunteers Forum

Postby North 350 Blades » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:04 pm

Hello Postholer users. We would like to say hi on behalf of our volunteer group, the North 350 Blades.

The "Blades" are a PCTA affiliated group of volunteers that are helping to maintain the north 350 or so miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. This section of the PCT extends from White Pass / Highway 12 to the Canadian Border.

The Blades were formed in 2010 when the PCTA opened the North Cascades Region office in the greater Seattle area with a local regional representative. The regional rep is our liaison to the various Government agencies that manage the trail. He also coordinates us with the other volunteer maintenance groups (like Washington Trails Association and the Backcountry Horsemen chapters) and Government maintenance staff to insure an effective effort.

Trail crew is a rewarding way of giving back to the trail that gives so much to all of us hikers. Many of our volunteers have either thru hiked or are section hikers, so we appreciate having a quality, well maintained trail to hike, especially if you've had to deal with the opposite - having to clamber over or under countless blow down, or wading through miles of wet brush on a chilly fall morning.

For most trail crews, no experience is necessary. Experienced volunteers (and some times a paid staff person) provide all the direction needed. All tools and hard hats are provided. Typically, all the volunteer needs to provide for a day trip is themselves, properly dressed (long pants, long sleeves and sturdy boots) with a day pack and water / lunch for the day and the crew will have the rest. Priorities for any of our crews are safety first, having a positive experience second and as a distant third, getting some work done (not that we don't get a lot done).

For those who find a love for caring for the trail, there are opportunities for training and development in all aspects of trail crew. Classes are offered on everything from proper trail tread construction and repair, to proper brush clearing, signage, first aid / CPR and even saw certification, both the old school cross cut and chain saws, crew leadership and all the rest.

Up here in the north reaches of the PCT, our maintenance season runs from about early July through mid to late October. A typical day trip for us includes meeting at the designated spot around 8 to 8:30 in the morning. After a safety briefing, tool usage briefing and going over the agenda for the day, it's off to the work site. The hike in can be anything from only a few yards from the road to a couple miles. We'll work until about noon, then break for lunch. The afternoon's are often a bit more laid back and slower pace and we'll knock off in time to be back to the cars by 3 or so.

In addition to the single day trips, we've done 3 day weekend trips. So far, these have all be front country car camping near where the trail crosses a forest road. The PCTA provides food for these from dinner on Friday through lunch on Sunday for those that are there for more than a day. We've also had volunteer camp hosts / cooks to take care of much of the camp chores allowing the trail volunteers to focus on brush, logs or tread and not cleaning up after breakfast.

For 2013 we anticipate doing back country trips as well. These will involve hiking into harder to reach areas of the trail. Some of these trips will be fully supported with a pack string to bring in tools, food and common camp gear. Others may be a bit more hard core, with the volunteer carrying their own typical back packing gear, food and the tools they'll use on the trip.

We're looking forward to engaging the hiker community and hope to get more folks interested in the trail crew aspects of our passion. We all love to hike - we also have learned how satisfying it is to care for the trails we love as well. We hope you'll come and join our crew, or any volunteer trail crew for that matter (it's all good - ALL the trails need it).

North 350 Blades
North 350 Blades
 
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:15 pm

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