Published on October 25, 2016

Sanctuaries Lead Professional Trail Workshop Series

In fall 2016, Mass Audubon’s Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries ran a three-part training series for professionals and volunteers from across Massachusetts. The training was aimed at people who work to build and maintain trails on public lands.

Trail training © Phil Doyle
© Phil Doyle
Trail workshop participants on river trail bridge © Phil Doyle
© Phil Doyle

“We wanted to help increase the ability of trail stewards all over the state to maintain and build trails that will last a long-time, decrease the negative impacts of trails on water quality and wildlife, and increase the visitor experience on conservation lands”, said Jonah Keane, the Sanctuary Director for Mass Audubon’s Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries.

The first training was held at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton and Northampton and focused on how to build new trails and bridges. The second was at Lynes Woods Wildlife Sanctuary in Westhampton and taught participants how to use large rocks to make trail structures like stepping stones. And the third training was at Graves Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Williamsburg and consisted of Levels 1 and 2 of Game of Logging chainsaw training. The instructors for all three trainings were professional trail builders and chainsaw trainers.

Participants represented state agencies, state-wide conservation organizations, regional land trusts, local land trusts and town conservation agents, conservation commissioners, and others, including the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Mass Wildlife, The Trustees, Mass Audubon, Kestrel Land Trust, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Buzzards Bay Coalition, Sudbury Valley Trustees, Bay Circuit Trail Committee, Wachusett Greenways, Friends of Blue Hills, and many other organizations and towns.

“This series was a real win-win” said Keane. “We helped build skills in people across the state and we accomplished trail and habitat improvement projects during the trainings.”

Funding for the training series was provided through DCR’s Recreational Trails Program.