New for the 2019 Mountain Lakes 100 race, is a requirement that each runner contributes eight hours of volunteer trail work. We feel that more runners need to spend time building and improving the trails we all enjoy. By making it a requirement to race, there will be 1,200 hours of trail work done in 2019. Can you imagine all the trail improvements that will occur because of this? It shows how if each of us just give a little of our time, we can have a big impact.
The rules around the trail work are pretty simple. Each runner needs to spend a total of eight hours doing trail work between January 1 and September 1 (update: for 2020 races and beyond, runners have from October 1 to September 1 to complete the work). There is a form on the race website that the runner completes and has the trail work manager sign off on, and then sends it in to us by the September 1st deadline. If the work isn’t done and the form is not received in time, that racer’s spot is forfeited and someone from the wait list is invited to take his or her place. This would be a very sad thing to have happen and we really hope that it doesn’t. But, we are serious about trail work and this requirement.
The trail work can be just about any kind of activity that creates new or maintains existing trails. Raking, brushing, digging drainage, clearing downed trees and debris are examples of trail maintenance. Building new trail can involve digging and leveling tread, hauling away unwanted rocks and hauling in needed rocks, gravel and materials, trimming tree branches, and cutting trees out of the way. This is not an exhaustive list of the type of work you could do, but meant to give you some ideas. The work needs to occur as part of an event organized and overseen by a third-party. It doesn’t count if you go out to your local trail and trim blackberries all by yourself (although that’s an awesome thing to do too and lot of users would be thankful).
All the hours don’t have to be completed at one time. Some trail work events are just four hours, while others can take an entire weekend. You can piece together your hours as you need. Use a separate form for each activity. The trail work does not need to occur on one of our race courses, or even on trails used in any race. Any public recreation trails will count. If you learn of a trail work party that you think would be of interest to other Mountain Lakers, you could share it in the Mountain Lakes 100 Facebook Group. We’ll post some there too. This article about a trail work project we did on the PCT includes a list of Pacific Northwest trail organizations that hosts trail work parties.
If you have any questions about this trail work requirement, please ask. This is the first year for it and we think we’ve covered all the options, but you may think of something we haven’t. Our next blog post will have more information about trail work organizations and opportunities.