Autumn Is A Great Time To Adopt A Trail
September 22, 2006
Fog is creeping up the valleys, and there is a nip in
the morning air. Why not give yourself an excuse to visit your
favorite trail on a conservation area?
Jefferson City, Missouri - When the searing heat and oppressive humidity of
summer finally abate, outdoors men and women flock to the woods to
enjoy fall pursuits. For many Missourians, that means visiting a
conservation area. This interval between the torpor of summer and
the rigors of winter is a great time to hike, bike or ride a horse
through woods, glades, wetlands and prairies. It also is a great
time to help maintain trails through such areas.
With more than 700 miles of trail on 136 areas, the Conservation
Department has its hands full maintaining them all. The agency's
Adopt-A-Trail Program gives nature lovers a way of helping maintain
their favorite trails and an excuse to visit them several times a
"Summer can be tough on trails," said Teresa Kight, a recreation
specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. "This
summer's drought took a toll on plants, and that can leave soil
along trails vulnerable to erosion. It only takes one heavy rain to
start the process. Fall is an excellent time to repair water bars
and check erosion problems before they get really bad."
Kight said participants in the Adopt-A-Trail Program include
families, Boy and Girl Scout troops, hiking clubs and other
organizations with an interest in the outdoors or a strong
connection to a particular area. "This is a way to get involved in
conservation in a way that has real, tangible results," she said.
"It gives people a sense of pride and ownership."
Volunteers monitor, maintain and enhance trails and trailhead
facilities. Common work projects include clearing loose rocks,
sticks and branches that accumulate on trail surfaces, cutting back
limbs and brush, cleaning water bars and drainage ditches, clearing
debris from bridges, stairs and viewing decks and picking up trash.
"Adopt-A-Trail volunteers' work makes a huge difference in the
quality of outdoor experience for everyone who visits conservation
areas," said Kight. "Most of our trails are available for adoption.
Anyone who wants to take one on can call me at (573) 522-4115, ext.
3636, or e-mail me at Teresa. Kight@mdc.mo.gov."