It seems that the Forest Service may have found a solution to the two problems of lack of funds for trail maintenance and the misbehavior of some of the forest visitors:
requiring people to do trail maintenance with a trowel!
either that, or I experienced an experiment in how far you can get people to go.
This past year I volunteered as a "Wilderness Steward" for the Mt. Hood National Forest.
This is a useful and rewarding job that requires that you:
I also volunteer to help the USFS people when they need an "extra hand" on a hike or the like.
Recently, I helped Mary Ellen with a trail inventory of the Paradise Park trail. It seems that the PTB (powers that be) have a "goal" of inventorying the state of one trail each year. I guess this is to find out just how bad of shape the trail is. The team measures the distances and records the state of the "features" of the trail like switchbacks, bridges, signage, etc., collects some pictures of interesting trail artifacts, and captures some GPS waypoints for reference.
I helped with the Paradise Park trail: we started at Timberline Lodge, hiked to the top of the trail at Paradise Park, hiked down about 3000(!) feet to do the top half of the trail
One of the features we inventoried was a small bridge over a small creek.
Now, the west end of the bridge was graded a bit off. It seems the trail went up from the bridge and a curb log on the down hill side not only kept the trail in place, it funneled any runoff onto the bridge.
Funneling runoff onto a wood structure is not the best of ideas: it carries water and silt onto the wood onto the wood which makes it rot quickly. Bad idea.
So, Mary Ellen noted that we really needed to change the drainage but we didn't have any tools.
What to do???
I noted that I had the required "leave not trace" "pooper scooper" (dispose of human waste properly!). As a result, I ended up grading the drainage so the water ran off the trail and not on to the bridge with:
my "pooper scooper trowel"!
Lessons to be learned"
1) "Leave no trace" by carrying a small trowel to "dispose of waste properly", and
2) don't let Mary Ellen know you have it or you'll end up doing trail maintenance with it!!