Sterling Section

                        of the Green Mountain Club

Trail Work
Useful Stuff

"The Long Trail is an invitation - Mountain high and tree embowered - A free open and easy path that begins where Vermont begins . . . "

- James P. Taylor Founder of Green Mountain Club, 1910

men tightening cables on suspension bridge woman lifting large rock men hammering on roof woman painting blue blaze
Top: Volunteers help build suspension bridge over Lamoille River.
Second: Volunteer creates stone structures on the trail.
Third: Volunteers put a new roof on Beaver Meadow Lodge.
Bottom: Painting a blue blaze.
(photos by Greg Western, top; Zyla Nuite, second; Smith Edwards, third; and Bobby Usher, bottom.)

Trail Work

We do a lot of trail work, and we like it.

Some people say building the Long Trail is like building a cathedral - centuries of effort will be required, with skills passed from parent to child as each stone and timber is placed by hand . . . foot by foot . . . mile by mile.

Others say it's like playing in a big sand box for grown ups.

Either way, it's a good time and all are welcome!

The work takes many forms. A variety to suit all tastes . . .

Every spring we spend a couple of weekends doing a walk through of all the trails - aka "the cruise." The first job is to cut out all the blown down trees that have blocked the trail over the winter. We also clip back the brush that grows into the trail each year. Finally, we keep an eye out for any larger special projects we might want to come back and spend more time on.

In the summer we have a slate of ongoing projects. The folks who are interested in them keep in touch with each other and chip away at the projects on their own schedules. Sometimes these ongoing projects are quite large (reroofing a shelter or building a bridge) and sometimes they are smaller (like repainting trail blazes.)

Finally in the Fall we have a couple more large group weekends doing heavier jobs - digging erosion control dips on the trail, building stone stairs, etc.

In addition to the trails, we also maintain the shelter sites . . . which leads to the most heroic act performed by GMC members - dealing with the outhouses, or as we prefer to think of it "safe and effective implementation of backcountry sanitation."

"Work Parties" are convivial events and are moderately paced. You don't have to have any great strength or advanced skills to make a difference. We are always happy to teach new people.

On the other hand, if you are already an experienced builder or woodsperson and are looking for a chance to really "sink your teeth" in a project - we've got lots you might enjoy as well!