By:Brittany O’Neal, Interpretive Ranger at Monadnock State Park
Have you ever felt like you wanted to work for no money? Do you gain satisfaction when you contribute to a great cause? Does hard sweaty manual labor sound appealing to you? If you answered no to all of those questions, then stop reading this blog post. But, if you answered yes to all of those questions, then volunteering some of your time to the New Hampshire State Parks might just be for you.
Monadnock State Park has 40 miles of trails that are highly used by the 100,000 hikers that visit each year. We have not left the mountain to fend for herself from the impact of all those foot prints. There are some dedicated volunteers and trail adopters who work hard to keep the trails of the park in tip top shape.
Each trail on the mountain has one or two adopters that regularly hikes their trails to clean up trash, make sure the trails are not widening, and to update signage and blazes. These trail adopters also do trail work to insure the trails of Monadnock stay accessible and are safe to hike on.
Trail adopters are a small fraction of the volunteer work that contributes precious time to the Grand Monadnock. Over the past 5 years, not including this year, over 6,000 hours of volunteerism has embraced the mountain. The groups included in that figure are trail adopters, mountain patrol, trail work and park operations.
Along with the trail adopters, Monadnock State Park has an annual Trails Week Event that brings a dedicated crew of volunteers to the mountain to work on some big projects. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forest works together with the Monadnock Volunteer Coordinator, Lee Willette, to develop and implement these projects each year.
The list below shows the trails and projects worked on during this year’s Trails Week:
White Dot : culvert removal and replacement, trail turnpiking
Pumpelly : rock stairs and drainage
Dublin : brushing in braided/bootleg trails
Lost Farm : cleaning waterbars
Royce : 120’ trail reroute
Gilson Pond loop : footbridge stringer replacement
Nature Trail : new 20’ footbridge, rustic timber benches, rock step stones
This was the 12th annual year and our most well-attended Trails Week yet with 52 Volunteers contributing 744 hours of work. Work hours have been increasing since the event was introduced in 2006. Overall about 500-700 hours of volunteers have helped each year between 2006-2015.
The state park trails could use your help! There are some upcoming volunteer opportunities to help the trails of Monadnock State Park and Rhododendron State Park.
Hope you can make it!
We look forward to see you at the 2018 Trails Week Event! If you cannot help during Trails Week, simply picking up trash that accumulates along the trails and staying on the trails to prevent erosion will be a huge help. Thank you to all the volunteers that have put their blood, sweat and tears into the Grand Monadnock. I mean just the sweat part!