Rob Burbank's Outdoors with the AMC: Hey, hikers: Get out, get dirty, give back

By ROB BURBANK May 05. 2017 6:37PM

Are you ready to get dirty?

If so, you can join an Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) volunteer trail crew and, as they say around here, "Get out, get dirty, give back," as you pitch in on trail maintenance.

Volunteer trail work opportunities are available throughout the region. One of the more visible efforts is National Trails Day, this year on Saturday, June 3. The National Hiking Society sponsors trail-related events and work parties across the country on that day, and recreation organizations participate in their local communities.

AMC is calling on outdoors enthusiasts to lace up their boots, put on their work gloves, and hit the trail on behalf of the region's trails on June 3. In New Hampshire, volunteer crews will be working on trails in the Crawford Notch area. Organizers have planned a celebratory barbecue for participants once trail tools are retired for the day.

The amount of hiking needed to reach work sites and levels of difficulty vary. Volunteers can choose their preferred crew. Basic maintenance, trail improvements, and a bridge-building project are scheduled. Skills will be taught, and experience is not necessary.

Trails targeted for National Trails Day include the Stewardship Trail, Saco Lake Trail, and Mount Willard Trail.

This free event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is open to AMC members and nonmembers alike. Participants are scheduled to gather at the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch at 8:30 a.m. Prior registration is required, and volunteers can register by calling (603) 466-8128 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or by emailing

More information is at

If you can't make it on June 3, there are many other opportunities to clear drainages, wrestle rocks, and perform other trail chores as part of a volunteer crew this season. Volunteer vacation opportunities are available for adults and teens in the White Mountains, Maine's 100-Mile Wilderness region, the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and Maine's Baxter State Park.

Coming up May 21-26 is the Lonesome Lake Hut Adult Volunteer Vacation, in which participants will work on trails in the Kinsman Range, while being based out of AMC's Lonesome Lake Hut.

Also featured is the White Mountain All-Women's Spike Volunteer Vacation, July 16-21. In this program, women aged 18 and older camp in the White Mountain National Forest backcountry, and perform such trail tasks as clearing brush, installing bog bridges, and building cairns.

Several one-week trail crew opportunities are offered for teens aged 15 to 17, including the White Mountain Teen Spike Crew. Teen volunteers camp in the backcountry of the White Mountain National Forest and perform various types of trail maintenance, which may include clearing drainages, installing water bars, and painting blazes.

Teens aged 14 to 18 can hone trail-tending skills as members of AMC's teen volunteer trail crews. Offerings include the White Mountain 2-Week Spike Teen Trail Crew with Leave No Trace training for teens aged 16 to 18 on June 18-30 and June 23-Aug. 4. Participants camp in the backcountry and perform various types of trail work aimed at combating erosion.

An extensive list of this year's volunteer trail crew opportunities for teens and adults can be found at

Rob Burbank is Director of Media and Public Affairs for the Appalachian Mountain Club ( in Pinkham Notch. His column appears monthly in the Sunday News.

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