By Savannah Steele
On September 29th the Maine Youth Trail Stewardship Coalition (MYTaSC) hosted a productive fall trail work day. 28 people (and a dog) from across the state came together to do some much needed trail maintenance on Mt. Abraham’s summit – the second largest alpine zone in Maine! Mt. Abraham towers above the historic AT Community of Kingfield. The trail stewards packed out bags of trash, much of it roofing material from the old fallen fire tower. Additionally, the stewards got to reconstruct stone cairns that guide hikers where the trail surface is harder to identify. Cairns minimize impact on the
sensitive alpine ecosystem by concentrating hikers to one path and keeping boots from damaging high elevation trees, shrubs, lichens, and moss.
Although cairns are cool and fun to build, stewards learned that they should only be constructed where they will help trail users navigate and generally under the trail manager’s discretion. Building cairns on beaches or at waterfalls, for example, takes away from the experience we look for when visiting such pristine natural places.
Special thanks to the MYTaSC leaders who organized the event: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Maine Conservation Corps, Mahoosuc Pathways, Maine Huts & Trails, and Unity College. Also special thanks to Kingfield’s Mountain Village Farm Bed & Breakfast for letting the youth and leaders camp in the field the night before! Be on the lookout for MYTaSC’s Spring Skills Summit
2019 where trail leaders teach valuable techniques for building and maintaining recreational trails.
Savannah is the Trails Manager for Maine Huts & Trails and a great friend of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust!