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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

The Fundamental Importance of Trail Maintenance

A view of a trail curving into the distance, with a log that has been cut out of the way.

The Black Cache Crew took a trip down to the Jackson Ranger District to improve accessibility for several trails.

The first trail we were tasked with was the East Table Creek Trail. We traversed 3 miles before we lost sight of the tread and started our descent by crosscutting and lopping the corridor. The first mile of the trail was completely covered in brush and some of the tread needed tender, love, and care.

The second trail we worked on was an option between the Little Granite Creek, Granite Creek Highline, Swift Creek, and Shoal Falls. We chose to work on Shoal Falls because the streams in Little Granite Creek were supplied by hail storms, and dangerous to cross at the time.

Shoal Falls had a lot of downed trees on its three miles of switchbacks. Three of the six in the crew were brand new to cross-cutting and had plenty of opportunities to acquire a new skill.

While working on the trail there were a lot of hikers enjoying nature who stopped to give feedback and thank us for our work. An elderly couple mentioned age affected their experience, which was dependent on the clearance of the trail corridors. They stopped to chat and thanked us for helping to make their experience possible. Additionally, another couple of hikers mentioned they had to "bushwack" for miles ahead of Shoal Falls.

Reflecting on this hitch, the fundamentals of trail work allow us to make these trails accessible and safe for all people. As John Muir said:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."