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[ft-l] Trail Manual for the Florida Trail System available on the web
In a message dated 12/8/2001 9:39:52 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> The trail manual was updated
> to reflect the progress and the learning that the Florida Trail Association
> has made concerning the trail over the past several years. This latest
> version of the trail manual reflects and builds upon the earlier editions
> of the manual and the many years of experience of FTA's wonderful trail
> builders and maintainers.
I took a look. A couple of points. I'm particularly interested in blazing,
as it seems that we as chapters do a lousy job in training the folks who
blaze the trails. First thing I did was go to the index. It says that
blazing is covered on page 27. When I waded through the manual, instead I
found that it was on page 33. So it looks like the index hasn't been updated
as the manual has.
Second, I found the coverage on blazing to be a bit too cursory. If, as the
write-up suggests, problems with blazing are the number one source of
complaints about the trail, then I think a more thorough job of explaining
blazing techniques. In practice, there appears to be wide -- and sometimes
very confusing -- discretion applied as to when a double blaze is called for.
Also there is no mention in the manual of the confirmation blaze, which is
used in concert with the double blaze. Since the double blaze tells the
hiker to be alert for a change in direction, trail surface, or intersection
with other trails, it is important that the double blaze be followed in short
order by a single blaze that tells the alerted hiker that this is the route
the trail follows. It is extremely frustrating when a double blaze is not
followed by a confirmation blaze visible from the location of the double
blaze (or as soon as feasible thereafter).
The other type of blaze is the confidence blaze, which is mentioned in the
manual, but is described only briefly.
The section on blazing is a start, but I think needs improving. It
especially needs to tell chapter leaders to train work volunteers before they
start applying the blazes.