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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, 
kwimmer@fs.fed.us writes:

> 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.

Happy trails,

Solar Bear