Are there procedures, recommendations to follow posted anywhere?
So to answer the beginning of your first question, it’s fine to remove obstacles that obstruct the trails either by hand or using hand tools like a saw, clippers or loppers. Simply cutting a path through is fine … cutting beyond the trail is generally discouraged, as is re-routing the trail around obstacles. Safety is our primary concern, especially with individuals working alone in the woods. Even with hand tools, a small error can lead to a potentially lethal cut. If you’re working alone, we highly recommend you have a mobile phone at hand, and have verified that cell coverage extends to your location in the woods. While some ‘Trail Angels’ use chainsaws themselves, we discourage this, especially if you’re alone. A cleared trail is just not worth the risk.
Reports of trail obstacles, including pictures and GPS coordinates are very welcome and should be sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org where they’ll be routed to our WWTC. The Committee meets monthly, usually the 3rd Monday evening of each month (except July and August), where we discuss trail issues, and plan our work activities for the following month. This is where/when larger crews are organized to tackle the larger trail problems. The monthly meeting, as well as the scheduled work parties are all listed on the website calendar. There is also a monthly email list that includes this information, for anyone who wants a monthly reminder.
Impromptu work parties are not usually scheduled by storm events but rather from reports that come in from a core group of frequent hikers/bikers or through the GLCT website. For ’emergency’ situations, where critical trail access is compromised, we have people who can be relied upon to clear problems in a day or two. But in general, our resources are limited and we don’t treat our ‘job’ as a utility … storms happen and we’ll get to problems when we can. Realistically, storms such as what we saw last weekend overwhelm our resources and it often takes many months for us to remove the damage wrought in just a few windy hours. So help by you and others is a very welcome addition to our efforts.