Welcome to the Fellowship of the McLeod!
You have joined—by your own choice!—our Fellowship.
You must be a current member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club before you can be appointed to the role of Trail Maintainer for any trail or trail section maintained by the PATC.
For many years, the construction and maintenance of many public hiking trails has been, and is being, accomplished by volunteers. Now, you have joined with us.
Funding cuts over the past years have limited our government partners capabilities. PATC and other volunteer organizations allow our government partners to focus on essential areas such as park management and law enforcement.
Depending on where your trail section is located, you may perform work on federal, state, regional, or local government land, or on property owned by the PATC or private landowners.
A trail maintainer must:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- A member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
- Physically fit enough to perform the tasks of the role.
- Execute a Volunteer Service Agreement with the Shenandoah National Park if assigned to maintain a trail or trail section in the Park.When you sign up to be a trail maintainer in the Park, the PATC Trails Coordinator will send you a copy of the form.
Your trail section should be a source of pride to both you and PATC. The best way to do this is to visit your trail regularly and perform the necessary maintenance to keep it in top condition. In some cases, this may require some unplanned visits on short notice to respond to storms damage. Please keep in mind—if you don’t get out and meet your responsibilities, the hard-earned reputation of PATC suffers.
We ask all overseers to perform the following basic tasks:
- Clean drainage structures, including waterbars, grade dips, and drainage ditches.
- Cut plant growth along the trail., including woody growth, such as branches, saplings, and blackberry canes, and soft annual growth.
- Remove fallen trees that block the trail.
- Renew or replace blazes, using only the minimal number needed.
- Check signs for damage; repair or replace as needed.
- Pick up and pack out litter along the trail and at overnight areas.
- Break up illegal fire rings, scatter the rocks and ashes, and pack out any litter.
- Eliminate shortcuts and walk-arounds.
- Remove loose rocks or roots from the trail treadway; bury solid exposed roots in the trail treadway to prevent tree damage, erosion, and tripping.
- Clean out water sources.
Your Maintainer Packet
The PATC Trails Coordinator sent you a Maintainer Packet when your District Manager assigned you to a trail section in the district. This packet contains:
- Welcome letter.
- Your Maintainer ID card.
- Volunteer Service Agreement (for SNP Trail Maintainers).
- PATC decals.
- PATC patch.
- PATC Trail Maintainer rocker bar.
- The PATC topo map for your district showing your trail section.
- The key to the PATC tools caches in your district.
- The Trail Maintainer Guidebook.
- Paper copies of the Trail Worktrip Report form.
SNP No-Fee Permit
If you work in Shenandoah National Park (SNP) and have executed the Volunteer Service Agreement, you receive a No-Fee permit from the Park that allows you to enter the Park without paying the entrance fee when you work on your trail section.
The Appalachian Trail Fieldbook (Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2003) and the Trail Construction and Maintenance Handbook (USDA Forest Service, 2004) are great references for trail standards (trail width, trail height, blaze size, waterbar construction, etc.). These handbooks can be provided to overseers free of charge. If you prefer a more thorough guide, check out the following:
- Complete Guide to Trail Building and Maintenance, 4th edition (Appalachian Mountain Club, 2008)
- Appalachian Trail Design, Construction and Maintenance (Birchard and Proudman, 2000)
- Lightly on the Land, the SCA Trail Building and Maintenance Manual (Student Conservation Association, Inc. 1996)