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Adopt a Trail (7/04)

BY SUE GIROUARD, Burlington Section Trail Adopter Coordinator

Did you ever wonder who keeps the trails you hike in such good condition? Who clears away the branches and trees that blow down every winter? Who heaps up dirt and stones to divert water, so heavy rain doesn’t turn the trails into fast-flowing streams? Well, it’s us - Burlington Section members.

The Burlington Section provides TLC to a major portion of the Long Trail and side trails from Route 2 in Jonesville to Route 108 in Smuggler’s Notch. (The main club maintains the trails above tree line from Butler Lodge Trail over the summit of Mt. Mansfield to Taft Lodge.) Basic trail maintenance is accomplished through work hikes organized by the Section as well as individual member efforts through the GMC Trail Adopter Program. There are now 21 Burlington Section trail adopters.

Volunteer trail and shelter adopters contract with the GMC to accept the responsibility of basic trail maintenance. Each adopter agrees to visit his or her section of trail 3 times a year (spring, summer and fall) to assess the trail’s condition and perform maintenance. Basic trail maintenance includes cleaning out leaves and debris in drainage structures (waterbars, dips and ditches); keeping the trail clear of blowdowns, brush and annual vegetation; maintaining well-defined paint blazes; and making an assessment of the condition of the trail including the condition of all signs. The Long Trail from Jonesville to Butler Lodge is covered by Burlington Section work trips every spring, so the principle LT adopter responsibility is in the summer and fall; they coordinate with the Section Trail Chairs for spring work.

Adopters fill in Trail Maintenance Reports and send them to club headquarters in Waterbury, briefly describing the work done as well as problems that require additional attention or manpower. Most of the time, problems can be addressed by the Section; however, the main club is available for additional assistance when needed. (For example, GMC crews can remove trees too large for an adopter.)

The following trails are currently in need of adopters:

  • a part of the Long Trail from Bolton Valley’s Eagles Nest Trail to the summit of Bolton Mountain
  • Hell Brook Trail – This steep and challenging trail starts on Rt. 108 in Smuggler’s Notch and continues for 1.5 miles to Long Trail in Eagle Pass.

Some above-treeline trails are also available for adoption, and some current adopters would like temporary extra help in maintaining their trails. GMC provides a workshop on alpine trail maintenance to teach new adopters everything they need to know.

Please contact Sue Girouard at or 644-5941 for information.