TRAILBUILDING 101

TRAILBUILDING 101

The art of trailbuilding is based on hundreds (or even thousands) of techniques specific to each type of geology in the world and on various secrets known to each trailbuilder. However, 3 fundamental practices must be respected first, in order to create durable and safe trails:
  1. Manage water so that it drains and/or does not contaminate the trail.
  2. Avoid soil erosion following the passage of water.
  3. Remove any unstable objects (dead wood, rotten stumps, rolling rocks aka Babyheads , roots detached at one end, dead leaves, garnottes , etc…).

​It is therefore essential to teach these basic practices to new people ( Green ). Leaders and Captains must explain, offer and supervise tasks related to these fundamental aspects, in order to create sustainable and safe trails . Dozens of techniques allow water to quickly leave the trail (sloping surface, raised center of the trail, parallel channel upstream, culverts, pipe installations, “waterbars”, etc.), but here it would take too long to explain them all. Dig It draws on the collective knowledge of Leaders and Chapter Operators so that these basic techniques are prioritized in all Chapters.

To illustrate this aspect and to simplify the explanation to Greens , use the example of a golf ball taking the trail . By “thinking like a golf ball rolling down the path”, it becomes easier to imagine the trajectory of the water in the path and to imagine its course under the influence of gravity. This strong image makes it possible to better visualize this concept and make it more easily understood by the volunteers present. It therefore becomes obvious to build a trail that will easily drain water for anyone new to trail building .

In order to increase the efficiency of chores and promote volunteers’ sense of accomplishment (and their long-term retention), Leaders must always take into account the abilities of the volunteers present, by suggesting tasks that respect their skill level. and knowledge. A Leader on the lookout for this ultra-important detail will create a positive feeling of belonging towards trailbuilding, which will encourage the volunteer to continue their community involvement in the long term.

When all of these premises are taken care of and settled, the experienced trailbuilder can then use their creativity, experience and personal style to improve the layout by adding features . In such a context, the trailbuilder uses his or her own range of knowledge and techniques based on the surrounding geology and natural resources present nearby to create a durable, unique and pleasant trail to travel.

Always ensure that the technique used matches the surrounding ecosystem (certainly not all techniques work everywhere). If in doubt, do not hesitate to refer directly to other Leaders  or other Chapter Operators .