STEWARDS OHV VOLUNTEERS MAINTAIN
TRAILS FOR ALL
It all started in 2003 with a dream to encourage trail users to
put one or two days a year back into the trails they enjoy.
Stewards of the Sequoia Executive Director, Chris Horgan
recalls, “when I initially talked to people about Trail
Appreciation Days, I was told I would be the only one to show
up, but against all odds I decided to organize the project
anyway. It was just word of mouth, but we had a very good
turnout. On the first Trail Appreciation project motorized
volunteers donated over 500 hours of labor. When Forest Service
head office found out they were very interested as to how we had
gotten so many volunteers, especially when it was apparently the
worst time of year historically for volunteer participation. I
guess it was fortunate I was so naive, had I known about the
obstacles, I would never have attempted the project”.
|Stewards of the Sequoia
have added to the initially unexpected volunteer success
with continued unexpected success. Horgan notes, “it was
pretty clear Forest Service thought we were going to
burn out or loose interest, but the next year our
motorized volunteers donated even more hours and we have
continued to build on that”.
Stewards have provided over
$1.3 million in Community and Environmental benefit through
their volunteer program. Since starting the Trail
Appreciation program in 2004 Stewards of the Sequoia OHV
volunteers, working under Forest Service supervision,
have volunteered over 18,000 hours performing
maintenance on over 3300 miles of Multiple Use Forest
trails. These hard working volunteers deserve a big
Thank You from both Motorized and Non-Motorized trail
users alike. The Trail Work consisted of installing over
3000 water bars to reduce erosion, removing over 3900
downed trees from the trails, cutting back overgrown
brush from miles of trails and general trail maintenance.
Volunteering on the Trail Appreciation Day Project
Stewards of the Sequoia have adopted
eighteen Multiple Use trails and work on them, as well as many others,
in order to keep the land healthy and Multiple Use trails in good
condition for everyone. It is especially gratifying to see large
improvements in trail conditions from the multi year efforts.
Our Stewards Trail Appreciation project days are a great way for volunteers, especially
kids, to learn and practice Tread Lightly ethics.
Stewards recently cleared miles of brush to reopen Whiskey Flat and Tobias Trails. We also spent over 400 hours helping to build two miles of new trail in the Kern Canyon.
Some Stewards volunteers drive 6-8 hours round trip from their
homes, staying for the weekend to work on local Forest trails.
Their dedication and sacrifice is appreciated.
Horgan comments, “when you spend a lot of hours working on the
trails, you realize every form of recreation has impacts and it is
not so much the type of recreation which causes trail damage,
but lack of trail maintenance. Some people may be surprised to
find that an overused or poorly maintained hiking trail, will
exhibit similar kinds of impacts as an overused or poorly
maintained motorized trail. The key to keeping trails
sustainable is to avoid concentrated use by keeping more trails
open. Stewards of the Sequoia are pleased to have been able to
do so much for the trails, which will minimize the impacts of
every form of recreation on the trails”.
In addition the 500 Native Pine trees Stewards volunteers helped
plant to speed reforestation in the McNally burn area,
have responded well to their 2006 summer volunteer weeding and
watering program. Horgan notes, “Forest specialists warned us
most of the planted trees would die, so it is very encouraging
to see so many surviving due to our efforts”.
For more information visit our
Events Page to find out how you
can become a part of Stewards of the Sequoia Trail Appreciation
are needed to help support Stewards programs to keep your trails open
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