SIERRA VISTA — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking for volunteers to maintain trails within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) in a new Adopt A Trail program.
According to Jody Barker, park ranger with the BLM San Pedro Project, the BLM is looking for help along 10 miles of 28 miles of trails in the SPRNCA at least twice a year. The Adopt a Trail program will be an ongoing program and requires a continuing committment.
The Adopt A Trail program is open to all. Volunteers can be, individuals, families and organizations, he added. As long as there is a lead adult, youth groups are also welcome to participate.
Volunteers can select a trail to maintain and then agree to manage it. It is also up to volunteers to provide regular updates to BLM staff regarding any issues or changes in maintenance.
“BLM will provide all training of proper vegetation maintenance,” said Barker. “We’ll work with the groups on the first workday. Not only do we want the experience to be enjoyable, we also want it to be safe. This project is an opportunity to teach a safe work ethic to young and old alike. Safety does not spoil the fun, but accidents do.”
The type of maintenance needed on each trail varies, even weather can determine what work is necessary, he explained.
Generally, the work includes removing small rocks from the path, trimming brush and small limbs that have grown into the pathway, removing debris that has collected along the trails and trailheads, mowing, filling in ditches, stabilizing walkways and collecting litter.
Depending upon the particular location, the mown cuttings can be spread on-site or placed in a garbage container. Volunteers will have to provide their own tools which may include rakes, shovels, weed whackers, power or pruning saws and mowers, he continued. If vehicular access is needed, it will be provided.
Volunteers will also need to provide their own water and snacks and wear protective clothing and boots.
“The BLM will put a sign at the trailhead or site, as appropriate, recognizing the volunteers’ contribution to the resource. More importantly, BLM volunteers and partners constantly talk about the level of personal satisfaction and positive feelings of contribution they get from their efforts towards beautifying our public lands, keeping them open and safe to visitors and neighbors alike.
“Your actions make a difference and it’s not uncommon to receive significant kudos from those enjoying the fruits of your labor while in the field conducting the necessary maintenance.”