Success Story


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.
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 Days

Donations are needed to help support Stewards programs to keep your trails open


 Three Generations Volunteering on the Trail Appreciation Day Project