Our Trail System Depends On Trail Maintainers
Anyone who hikes the Mason-Dixon Trail (M-DT) can help with maintenance. You can Patrol the M-DT while you hike and use our Online Reporting Tool when you find major issues. While you're at it you can also clear small limbs and other debris from the trail and if you're really motivated you can hike with hand pruners and clip the small branches and leaves that have grown into the pathway. You can also bring a trash bags along for a litter removal hike.
The essential role of maintaining the M-DT is performed by the Section Maintainer who assumes overall maintenance responsibility for one of the sections of the M-DT which average about 2 miles in length. The Section Maintainer ensures that their section is Patrolled and Cleared. Trail Clearing is performed with loppers and/or hedge shears to cut back branches and vegetation growing onto the pathway as well as folding saw to cut small branches (1-4 inches in diameter) that are too large for loppers and possibly a bow saw for branches larger than that.
Click here to volunteer as a Trail Section Maintainer
Maintaining a section usually requires two trips a year for 4-6 hours of work on each trip. Some Section Maintainers will squeeze the work into one 8 hour day while others prefer to spread it out over 3 or 4 trips. The Section Maintainer may encounter problems that can't be addressed with these hand tools and require the use of power tools like a string trimmer or chain saw.
If the Section Maintainer has been trained and certified in the use of these power tools they can tackle the problem themselves. If not, they can contact the Trail Coordinator for their section to arrange for a work crew to tackle it.
Signs similar to this are present on the Mason-Dixon Trail in areas where Section Maintainers are needed.
We keep an online database of trail sections and their status of needing a maintainer or not. You can view the complete database by Clicking Here
If you're not looking to become a permanent volunteer Trail Maintainer you can always join us on our weekly trail
work trips. Every Thursday morning (weather permitting) we get together with members of the York Hiking Club and work on a particular trail section or project. If you'd like to be put on an email list when we announce the details of each weekly work trip, fill out our Contact Form and let us know. If you're unable to join us on Thursday mornings we occasionally hold weekend work trips. Some of these work trips are in support of other trail organizations or local parks. Keep an eye on our Upcoming Events page or follow us on Facebook to find out what projects are on the calendar.
If you're one of our official trail maintainers you can request to have access to some of our tools and we will also provide you with paint if you'd like to put some fresh blazes up along the trail. We almost always use paint for blazes but we've also used plastic blazes in some places such as Susquehanna State Park, MD.
We share many of the same maintenance standards that are used to maintain the Appalachian Trail. You can purchase this very helpful pocket-sized fieldbook online at the Ultimate Appalachian Trail Store.
If you spend any time working on the trail as a maintainer it is important that you
send an email to your local trail coordinator so that they can keep records of the work and time put in by our volunteers. Below are the email addresses for our three trail coordinators.