Trail Crew FAQs

What Do Trail Crews Do?
Repair trails, remove brush and trash from trails, build new trails, re-route trails, remove invasive plants, and plant native tree & shrub seedlings. We will always have a variety of tasks available – please speak up if you prefer not to do a particular task.

Why Do You Do It?
Most of us do it to improve the health of the forests and to improve the walking experience though them. We believe that a walk in a natural setting is an enjoyable experience that needs to be preserved. There are many challenges to our forests including erosion and invasive plants. Protected open space in Marblehead is just over 3.5% of our total land – 9th lowest in the state. We want to maintain what precious little we have.

When Do Trails Crews Meet?
Normally on Saturday mornings (8:30-11:30am) and Wednesday afternoons (4-6pm April – October but in the winter we go out earlier as the daylight allows). Trail crew members can come and leave at any time during these hours. We ask that Trail Crew members come at least once a month, though we are open to all help at any time.

Where do Trail Crews Work?
Most of the time we work at one of the six Conservation Areas – Steer Swamp, Forest River, Hawthorn Pond, Ware Pond, Wyman Woods and Robinson Farm. We generally select one area for concentrated effort and go there most of the time. However on occasion we will go to one of the other areas as special needs arise. We post a notice and area map showing our location at the planned site. Trail Crew members are sent a monthly newsletter to let them know times and planned locations. By summer of 2008 our plans will be accessed through a link on the Marblehead Conservancy web site, www.marbleheadconservancy.org.

Are Trail Crews Ever Cancelled?
Rarely. Out of a possible 104 per year, we may cancel 5-7. The most frequent cause is steady rain. We’ll work in a light drizzle, but nothing heavier. Other reasons for canceling would be ice on the trails (but probably not snow), strong winds, and occasionally for a conflict – such as the annual Conservancy Perambulation of ways. If you don’t like the weather for whatever reason, don’t come. If you are unsure, call Don at 617 548-3745.

Who Can Come?
Any adult – at least 18 years old. Younger children can come if accompanied by an adult – tasks and tools may be limited to those considered appropriate for the age, strength and judgment of the child.

What Do I Need To Do To Be Prepared?
Wear weather appropriate clothing. Always wear long pants, shirts with long sleeves, shoes with sturdy soles, and a brimmed hat. A water bottle is also a good idea. We will provide all Trail Crew members with our own Pocket Trails Maintenance guide which features proper use of tools, invasive plant identification and trail building techniques. In addition we will provide a one hour training session to all new Trail Crew members.

Should I Bring My Own Tools?
It is not necessary. We will provide tools and training. Our tools are maintained and in good working condition – actually we prefer that you use them. In addition, we will provide light work gloves and we have a first aid kit. You may bring favorite tools, subject to the Trail Crew leader’s approval. Remember, safety is the first priority – if you aren’t certain how to do a task, PLEASE ASK!