NHC Trail Crew Orientation

Orientation Information for Nantahala Hiking Club (NHC) Trail Maintenance Crew Members

Below are some web-based information sources for the Nantahala Hiking Club (NHC) Trail Maintenance Crew members (Aka, the “Trail Crew”), particularly those that are “new” to the NHC and trail maintenance work. While a great deal of the knowledge and skills required to maintain a hiking trail are learned heuristically, these sources will facilitate the acquisition of those skills and explain the structure within which the Trail Crew works.

The sources listed below discuss the Appalachian Trail (AT); the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC); orientation for the new trail maintainer; trail maintenance; trail crew safety; privy maintenance and sanitation; and other associated topics. While in the aggregate these information sources may have some “overlap” in their contents, each source presents some unique information.

An overview of the entire AT (2,190 miles) can be found at: https://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/explore-the-trail

Information about the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the organization that oversees the entire AT, can be found at: https://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/about-us#ATC

The NHC website with general information about the NHC and specific trail and social events and activities is at: http://www.nantahalahikingclub.org

The history and organizational structure of the NHC can be found below:  

The NHC also has a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/nantahalahikingclub/

Information for the new trail maintainer can be found in the video at: https://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/volunteer/welcome. The video mentions a “Volunteer Service Agreement”, which is the “top level” agreement the NHC has with the USFS /Nantahala National Forest.  Our VSA is with the Nantahala and Tusquitee Districts of the Nantahala National Forest. A “Personal Injury Packet” is in every first aid kit that each crew carries on every work-hike. The “Volunteer Roster” refers to a list of the NHC volunteers working in the Nantahala National Forest that is provided by the NHC to the Nantahala and Tusquitee District Offices.  Any time a new volunteer joins the crew, their name is added to that list.

Additional information for the new trail maintainer can be found in the ATC Volunteer Leadership Handbook at: https://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2016-atc-volunteer-leadership-handbook-(no-appendices).pdf?sfvrsn=6defb1a0_0

The United States Forest Service (USFS) notebook, ”Trail Construction and Maintenance”, describes techniques used to construct and maintain trails. It is written for trail crew workers. Numerous illustrations help explain the main points. The notebook was originally printed in 1996 and has been revised during three re-prints. This current edition has rearranged and consolidated information throughout the guidebook. Trail construction techniques and references have been updated.

The notebook can be viewed/downloaded at: https://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/php/library_card.php?p_num=0723%202806

In addition to the maintenance/repair/creation of the AT “tread”, the NHC Trail Crew services and maintains a moldering privy at each of the 10 shelters on the NHC- maintained section of the AT (approximately 59 miles). The ATC Backcountry Sanitation Manual addresses the management of human waste in the backcountry. Proper management of human waste protects hikers, the environment, and trail maintainers. The manual can be viewed/downloaded at: https://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs/trail-maintainers-corner/backcountry-sanitation-manual-2-0-august-2014.pdf?sfvrsn=

ATC sponsored training resources can be found at: https://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/volunteer/training

Two more resources, if you care to purchase a hard copy, are:

AT Design, Construction and Maintenance by Bob Proudman and the AT Field Book, Maintenance and Rehabilitation. Both are available from the ATC Store online: http://www.atctrailstore.org/

Any questions concerning the material in this “Orientation” material may be addressed to the NHC Trail Crew Leader.