Official Website of the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society

Help The Trail

All you ever wanted to know about trail maintenance…but didn’t know who to ask…

Work HikeHave you thanked a trail maintainer today?
The value of time donated by persons maintaining trails for nonprofit organizations is valued at roughly $16.00 per hour. The NCBTS donated over 1000 hours of actual trail time in 2007. This means NCBTS saved the US Forest Service (whose recreation and trail budgets have faced reductions to near-critical levels) over $16,000 in this year alone.

Although many people contribute to the smooth operation of a trail club by producing newsletters, managing websites, and doing many other volunteer jobs, we realize that without the trail maintenance team keeping the storm-damaged trees and brush cut away and removed, as well as sprouts and saplings removed on an annual basis, the trail would be overgrown and unpleasant to hike in 3-4 years.

In order to maintain the Bartram Trail in the best walking condition, the BTS organizes monthly workhikes. Most are held on the second Saturday of each month. There is a Google-based listserve form at the bottom of this page where you can to sign up for email notices of these scheduled workhikes. Currently the BTS trail maintenance team consists of retired attorneys, firefighters, college professors, businesspersons, naturalists, computer programmers – to name a few, and from many other walks of life. We welcome persons of all skill levels who want to join a workhike, experiencing nature while making a contribution to a good cause.

Work HikeWe will work safely or not at all
Safety is vitally important so each workhike begins with a brief safety meeting to identify any hazards of the day. At various times of the year, trail maintainers attend skill workshops that feature tool safety as well as certification classes for chain saw operation with the USFS. Trail maintainers are asked to keep their first aid and CPR certification current as well. The BTS often participates in training sessions sponsored through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

How may we serve you?
The trail maintenance crew is also available to assist small groups in planning community service projects. If your scout group , college group, or church group , would like to arrange a day of trail work, please contact the club and someone will contact your group about the dates and type of work best suited to your group. The BTS provides the necessary work tools and safety supervision for the trip. There are varying levels of work to accommodate different skill levels of volunteers, and volunteers with diverse talents, interests and experience levels may all participate in trail maintenance activity.

We’ll level with you… here’s what’s available:
Harrison Gap Steps Work HikeLight work level: For beginners that so choose, light pruning along the trail with hand held loppers offers a good chance to participate. Typical workhikes include light work such as clipping and lopping small branches, raking leaf duff and raking leaves and small stones in order to clear drainage water bars.

Medium work level: Some workhikes feature heavier work such as digging trail tread, dragging brush or removing downed trees. Usually these workhikes are fairly close to a developed parking area and last from 9am to 4pm.

Heavy work level: These workhikes often involve walking 2 or more miles to the worksite, use of a chain saw (requires prior certification by the U. S. Forest Service) to remove large storm damaged trees and brush , moving at a steady pace all day and then hiking out that afternoon. It may also involve brushcutting for most of the day to remove vegetation from the trail. Some groups are looking for a physically challenging experience, where they can work up a sweat, get “down and dirty,” and have sore muscles for days afterwards. The BTS can arrange those as several sections of trail need some aggressive trail maintenance attention.

Contact the club to discuss your interest in one of these specialty workhikes.

College Work GroupThings to do before graduation
The BTS also actively seeks college-level student workgroups. The club has had very successful workhikes with Warren Wilson College (Asheville), Western Carolina University (Cullowhee), Brevard College (Brevard), and Piedmont College (Demorest, GA). These student work groups always report back to the BTS of their enjoyment of their workhikes! It is a win-win-win situation for young, energetic students to be exposed to the out of doors and to appreciate the need for natural resource protection. They will be working along side a seasoned work crew of trail builders who gladly shares trail stories and experiences.

Boy Scouts of America LogoOn my honor I will do my best
Scouts from 16 to 18 years old may wish to arrange a half-day or full-day work hike on Saturdays. Age-appropriate tasks might be raking leaf duff, moving small branches or helping to do trail blazing could be arranged.

Bartram’s Butterfly Gardens
For Bartram enthusiasts wishing to help restore habitats in a wild butterfly and hummingbird garden type project, a program called Bartram’s Butterfly Gardens provides the framework for gardeners to help reestablish locally native perennial wildflowers in areas that would provide both nectar and pollen to the wild critters as well as color and beauty for trail visitors. Monarch Waystations have been established both on the Little Tennessee Greenway in Franklin and near Winding Stairs Trailhead on the Nantahala River. This can be a great opportunity for like-minded individuals to fellowship, especially if they are unable or uninterested in doing the more strenuous trail work.

The Bucket List
View From Rabun Bald Many seniors today actively seek out weekday workhikes with other seniors in order to have similar skill levels, to work at a comparable pace and to share in related interests such as learning tree and wildflower identification. These hikes are often from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and thus allow flexibility in scheduling.

Ladies Loving the Land
Specialty workhikes with ladies’ groups seeking occasional light to medium level of work difficulty can be arranged, with the BTS providing the tools and a crew leader to help set up and supervise the work hike.

For the Beauty of the Earth
Another specialty workhike available is for church groups who have an interest in learning about the importance of protection of the beauty of our natural forest’s treasures and resources. The tasks will be matched to the skill level of the group and provide the opportunity for fellowship and enjoyment working as stewards of the land.

Give me three good reasons why to “Adopt A trail section”
Jones Gap Falldown Among the three main reasons folks adopt sections of trail are:

1) as a way of “giving back” for the trail enjoyment they’ve had in the past

2) for a sense of accomplishment from fulfilling a pledge and doing it well

3) as a great way to get good exercise while performing minor trail maintenance in a great natural setting in the clean air of our national forests.

Who may adopt trail sections? Families, individuals, school/youth groups, scout troops, church and service organizations and businesses.

Adopters generally pledge to make an initial trip to their adopted section in the spring and to perform some of the tasks below: to help clear overgrown brush by pruning small limbs from the trail corridor before the heavy hiking season begins; to report on the condition of waterbars and drainages or help to clean them; to assist in maintaining the painted or nailed blazes; and to help in maintaining bulletin boards and trail signs, etc. But primarily the adopter serves as another “pair of eyes” by communicating the condition of the trail, reporting vandalism, trail hazards or safety issues to the maintenance team so that work hikes may be scheduled appropriately. Volunteers should wear protective gear such as gloves and safety glasses and perform all tasks with safety in mind. No motorized equipment should be used on the trail unless it is with an established club work crew.

If your group would like to “adopt” a particular section of trail, thus taking on responsibility for reporting on its condition and perhaps providing periodic light maintenance of the section, contact the trail maintenance crew with the Bartram Trail.

Section 6 Bridge WorkGo Vols!
There are many other opportunities to help the trail club thrive. A few ideas: report the trail conditions of the NCBT after a hiking or backpacking trip; help to promote the club in your hometown by encouraging other hiking enthusiasts to visit the club’s website and then plan a hiking trip on the BT; and support the club by helping generate new annual and lifetime memberships.

Contact the club to discuss your interest in any of these specialty projects.