It may be hard to imagine using grub hoes, rock bars, and loppers to build and maintain a hiking trail from Boston to Denver, but that distance—about 1,800 miles as the crow flies—is equivalent to the number of trail miles AMC volunteers and staff maintain every year.
Think about that: all the way from the Bay State to the edge of the Rockies! I’m not proposing we create another long-distance hiking trail. Our organization’s focus is on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, after all. I’m just trying out a bigger-than-a-breadbox comparison.
Throughout our history, AMC’s accomplishments on behalf of the trails we cherish have been impressive. Trail stewardship is in our DNA. Just look at the legacy of such early AMC luminaries as J. Rayner Edmands, whose Edmands Path remains a shining example of exquisite trail construction in the White Mountains. Or the work of Warren Hart and volunteer crews, whose trails were more ruggedly constructed but provided new access to spectacular places.
We can also look to our current trail adopters and volunteer trail crew members who have had a hand in maintaining trails all around our region: stellar resources such as the Grafton Loop Trail in Maine, the Bay Circuit Trail outside Boston, the New England Trail, and the Appalachian Trail, to name just a few.
We’re excited to be building new trails near our Maine Wilderness Lodges, working with partner organizations and community members to provide more opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking in the 100-Mile Wilderness region.
Our pro trail crew will have its hands full this summer, repairing extensive damage to the Nineteen-Mile Brook Trail wrought by Tropical Storm Irene, and rebuilding sections of the Fishin’ Jimmy Trail and the Osceola Trail in the White Mountains.
They also have their sights set on trail work elsewhere in the Whites and in Massachusetts—but those projects are contingent on our receiving adequate funding.
The trails you count on for trips to summits, family outings, weekend escapes, and countless other journeys rely on your support. Trails always need maintenance, and AMC crews need dollars to make the work happen. With limits on federal, state, and municipal resources, the role of organizations like ours becomes ever more critical as we work to maintain the trails that connect people to the outdoors. I thank all of you who support the trails, whether as a volunteer or through a gift to our annual trails campaign. It helps us, year after year, serve our mission by providing stewardship to the trails we all love.
CALL TO ACTION
National Trails Day is June 6! Find AMC-led hikes and trail projects near you.
John D. Judge