Volunteerism At Its Finest

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.

Map of Monadnock State Park showing the copious amount of trails leading to the summit.

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.

Wendy is the trail adopter for the Amphitheater Trail on Mt. Monadnock.

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 before look on the trail work of the White Dot Trail


The finished product on the White Dot Trail. two new box bridges/culverts including 100ft of raised turn pike.
Lou Shelley using a chainsaw to create benches.
New culvert on the White Dot Trail to help keep the water off the trail.
A group of Boy Scouts build a foot bridge by Gilson Pond.
Volunteers building a foot bridge on a new nature trail that will be complete with interpretive panels later this year.
Volunteers using a tool called a rock bar to create stepping stones along the nature trail.
It takes at 6 to 8 volunteers to move this 400-500 pound 10 foot beam.
Stone steps on the Pumpelly Trail.

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.

Click here for the information for Monadnock State Park!

Click here for the information at 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!


Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.