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Time to take care of the trail

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

Time to take care of the trail

Postby North 350 Blades » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:20 am

Welcome to mid March. As the Class of 2014 is getting ready to depart the southern terminus, those of us who enjoy taking care of the trail are spooling up for (or already started) the 2014 maintenance season. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it's all training as the snow continues to pile up on the trail, but further south, the work has already begun.

Speaking of training: There are a lot of upcoming training events - from the Cascade Locks Trail Skills College at the end of April, to the various saw and tread skills classes, up and down the trail. Now is the time to recertify on First Aid / CPR / BBP and to get your saw certifications, and to learn the nuances of how to construct a proper drain dip or refresh an old school water bar.

For the North 350 Blades crew (the PCTA affiliated volunteer crew between White Pass / Highway 12 and the Canadian Border) our 2014 season will be our most ambitious yet since we got started in 2010. We'll start off with log out projects as soon as the snow allows - typically in mid to late June. We'll work north of Stevens Pass, then log out south of Snoqualmie Pass. As August rolls around, we'll have a stock supported crew out for a week in the Big Crow Basin (between Government Meadow and Chinook Pass), then the following week a crew out for 4 days working on tread between Pyramid Peak and Blowout Mountain. The weekend after that is our now traditional Cascade Crest 100 3 day weekend near Stampede Pass where we brush and fix tread just in time for an ultra marathon that uses part of the PCT as the course (and of course, cheer on the runners as they pass right through our camp). We also see quite a few thru hikers that weekend as well, as by August 25th or so the leading edges of the Class of 2014 are rapidly passing through "our" part of the trail. The first couple of weekends in September, we'll head back to Stevens Pass with 3 back country crews (for the hard core trail crew volunteer - no horse support, so it'll be carrying tools in addition to your typical backpacking kit) working on either side of the pass on tread, drainage and brush.

Another exciting prospect for our crew - we'll introduce Trail Adopters / Stewards. Do you want your own piece of the trail to take care of? Now that our crew and the fine folks at Washington Trails Association have whipped much of the 30 miles south of Snoqualmie Pass into shape, it's time to pass the on going upkeep of this section off to individual Stewards. We're looking for folks to take on between 2 and 5 mile pieces of the trail. You'll need to be out there every season, performing annual maintenance such as cleaning out the drainage structures, fixing minor tread issues and keeping the brush at bay. If qualified, you can also log out your own section. If you aren't an experienced trail maintenance volunteer yet, don't worry - you'll be able to co-adopt / co-steward with an experienced volunteer (or join our regular crews) until you're fully trained and ready to take on your own piece of the trail.

As is always the case, safety is the top priority. After that, having a positive volunteer experience is the next highest priority. Having done those two things, quality work will naturally get done. All tools are provided. No experience is necessary - skilled volunteers will train you in the day's tasks as you go, and advanced training is available for our regular volunteers (as noted above). Its always work at your own pace as work, as noted above, is the distant third priority after safety and a positive experience. Projects are also available for all fitness levels - some of the North 350 Blades projects will start right at a road crossing and consist of relatively light work, like brushing. At the other end of the spectrum, we'll also have projects for the very fit, as we'll cover 5 miles of trail, working as we go (doing some heavy duty tread work), with a full backpack kit on, for 2 or 3 days.

Interested? Send the PCTA volunteer coordinator an e-mail: and they can hook you up with the crew closest to your location, be that ours at the north end of the trail, or the Trail Gorillas at the south end, or anywhere in between.

We hope to see you out on a crew this summer.

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

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