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Re: [at-l] exhaustion and WMNF/AMC signage
"...Sorry about the signage on your hike. (in the White Mountains) I guess I
never noticed it too much. I was just looking for white blazes," reports Papa
I hike mostly in Maine, but I wander into the Whites quite often, and I agree
with Papa Bear. I've never found it difficult to know where I was or where to
go in the Whites. Certainly in 1993 I had no difficulty that I can remember.
As for the contrast between Maine and the AMC efforts, Maine has a two-prong
approach to trail management.
Unlike the Whites, where the AMC has a trained trail crew to augment
volunteers, the basic maintenance in MATC territory is done by volunteer
maintainers. Someone is assigned to maintain every section of trail between
Grafton Notch and the Katahdin summit. These are all volunteers who mostly have
to work for a living and who have other responsibilities. When a wind storm
blows down trees it may be days before the maintainer learns of the event.
Jobs, families, personal responsibilities can interfere with prompt response.
And from time to time there are no volunteers available to maintain a section.
I, for instance, have two vacancies among the 23 volunteers needed to maintain
the Whitecap district between Monson and the Jo-Mary Campground road that I
oversee. (enquiries are welcome!)
Maine also hires experienced trail people to work with volunteers on special
projects, mostly erosion control, safety matters, campsite construction, rock
steps, etc. These are exclusively long term "capital" projects, not routine
blowdown removal of brush cutting. We advertise for the volunteers nation-wide
to spend a week or two in Maine. Most summer weeks we have two crews working
simultaneously on these major projects.
Back to sloetoe's original comment. The problem with the Whites is that AMC
management of the trails long predates the Appalachian Trail, and AT hikers
make up a very tiny percentage of the trail users. New England hikers think
about doing the "Crawford Path." They do not think of the path as a section of
the AT. They do the "Presidentials" not another AT section, though their route
is mostly one and the same.
I agree improvements could better guide thru hikers through the complex maze of
White Mountain trails. But money, volunteers and resources are always scarce
and they tend to go to help the most users, not a tiny minority of AT lovers.
Weary, who has returned early from his exploration of the Gaspe and Canada's
Maritime Provinces, thanks to a false alarm.