Do Some Outdoor Good: Trail Maintenance

"WTA VIP 6" by Mount Rainier National ParkHiking is a heck of a lot of fun. But what isn’t so cool is when there’s a nasty storm and all kinds of debris covers a trail. Pushing off the downed branches to the side and always packing out your trash is the right thing to do when you’re out and about on hiking trails but there’s more you can do to maintain trails. Trail cleanups are a great way to keep your favorite trail in good condition and open for all to use.

Truth is, there’s a lot more to trail maintenance than moving brush to the side. There are whole theories about trail maintenance and how to properly keep trails open and cleaned up. Signs need tightening, ditches need to be opened, switchbacks needs to be rebuilt with logs, invasive species need to be removed, and erosion needs to be mitigated. There’s a lot to do on a trail when it comes to maintenance!

So what can you do to help out? Joining in a trail cleanup is a great idea and good way to make sure your favorite trails are around in the future. Check your favorite outdoor organization for trail cleanups or contact the City of Fayetteville or the Arkansas State Parks to find out how you can adopt a trail and be part of a larger effort to preserve our wildlife areas.

Next time you’re on the trail, try following these tips to make sure your favorite hiking trails will be around for years to come:

  • Always stay on the established trails to prevent destruction of habitat and wildlife.
  • Never leave trash behind and pick up what you find that doesn’t belong along the way.
  • If there is debris on the trail, like fallen tree limbs, move it to the side of the trail that is below the over. This prevents the debris from being pushed back onto the trail again.
  • Walk trails often to keep them open and free of vegetation but don’t cut it back unless you’re instructed to do so. Enough people walking trails routinely is usually enough to keep vegetation at bay on many trails in Arkansas.

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