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Come help with trail work on the MST on Saturday June 1, 2024! On June 1 we will celebrate National Trails Day across America! We will provide FREE Event T-shirts for this event while supplies last!

Please RSVP to jdbrewer104@gmail.com or 919-900-0483 for our workday by May 30, 2024.

Meeting Spot at 9:00 AM – All interested should meet at Food Lion parking lot at the intersection of Patterson/Sherron and Highway 98. The address for your GPS is 121 Sherron Rd., Durham, NC 27703. After we meet we will split up into project groups and “scatter out” to do our trail work. This workday is being limited to 75 volunteers to accommodate our current projects.

1. Chainsaw Crew Assistance. With all of the recent weather our chainsaw crews will need to help moving limbs and debris off the trail after they cut it. Our sawyers have received the necessary training to cut trees at Falls Lake.

2. Spring Trail Maintenance – We will divide up into small groups and walk around 6 miles to cut back overgrowth to get ready for summer. We have 63 miles of trail at Falls Lake to cover.

3. Section 22 East – We need 8 volunteers to remove sand from a bridge foundation to help water flow correctly under this bridge. Sediment runoff from uphill has caused this issue. It is truly a sand soil mixture and not a piedmont clay. Please bring a shovel and be prepared for a 1 mile hike to the worksite. Steve T. and Dale E. will be your project leaders.

4. Panther Creek Loop – We need 10 volunteers to install a short boardwalk. The bulk of this jobsite is moving the building supplies to the jobsite. Mixing concrete will also take place. We have installed several of these type of boardwalks with success at Falls Lake. John P. and Eric M. will be your project leaders.

5. Panther Creek Loop – We need 8 volunteers to work with David Bland on some tread work and we have 1 mud hole to address to help finish off this task. Shovels will be the tool of choice for this work as in the past.

6. Trash removal at trail heads and the lake shoreline. Our most cheerful volunteers, Jennifer and Iwona, will lead this effort to protect the drinking water of our community. Nobody likes to see trash along the trail and shoreline!

7. Paint that white MST Blaze – we always need to freshen up our white blaze on the trees for our 63 miles of trail at Falls Lake

Thanks to Great Outdoor Provision Company for sponsoring our breakfast from Chick-fil-A at our workdays. Thanks to Starbucks off Falls of Neuse Road and Durant Road for the coffee. Thanks to REI Co-op, whose 2023 gift of $15,000 supports our efforts with (among other things) signage improvement, updates to trail guides, the purchase of new tools, and tool repairs.

Make sure you bring plenty of water, bag lunch, and gloves. We supply all of the tools and projects.

The Falls Lake Task Force leaders recently had a meeting to discuss our weather policy for workdays if bad weather is present. If the workday is canceled a mass email will be sent by 9:00 PM on Friday. So please check your email first thing in the morning before leaving.
If you are new at trail work please let us know and we will pair you up with an experienced person.

What you will need.
Work clothes and solid shoes or hiking boots. Proper Clothing for the Weather!
Plenty of water
Work gloves, if you have them (If not, we have some)

Work Safely. This is the most important thing, and our main goal.
In particular:

Use tools carefully. If you do not know how to use a particular tool, or what to do in a particular circumstance please ask. Do not work too close together and be careful with rakes, shovels, and mattocks to avoid hitting the person next to you. When walking past another volunteer, please say something so they know you are there. Do not lift anything heavier than you can comfortably lift.

Know your own limits. This is not a race. We will be working on and maintaining this trail for years to come. Take plenty of breaks. Make sure to drink plenty of water, even when it’s cold outside.

There are holes in the ground to step in, branches to trip over, thorns, wasps, poison ivy (fortunately not too much of that on this segment of trail), ticks, chiggers, and other hazards. Please be cautious.

Have a good time. This is a scenic area. There are box turtles, heron, woodpeckers, deer, beaver, and other wildlife in this area as well as scenic views of the lake

Particular tasks for this workday.

Cutting branches and logs across the trail:
We have clippers, small saws, and a chainsaw for this purpose. All of the chainsaw work needs to be done by a certified person at the workday. In general, while standing on the trail you want to cut branches back to an arms length on both sides and above your head. When clipping a branch that extends over the trail, try to cut the branch at the trunk of the tree or bush. When there is a small tree or bush in the trail, do not cut it at the ground, but cut it ~3′ above the ground to make it easier to dig out/pull out. Cut off at ground level they will tend to grow back from the roots. When cutting branches, please drag them off the trail. In particular if you end up clipping poison ivy, make sure to drag it well off the trail with the clippers.

Dragging logs off the trail.
There are a significant number of logs and branches lying across the trail route. These need to be dragged to the side. Many are so rotted they can most easily be removed with a shovel.

We have trash bags to pick up trash along the way. Fortunately this part of the park is relatively clean so we will not have too much trash to remove. The main trash that we want to try to remove on this workday is the barbed wire and other fence wire that in places crosses the trail. Please wear leather gloves and safety glasses and use caution in cutting wire. We will carry the trash out to one of the ends of this trail or it can be carried back to the trailer.

Raking the trail
It is necessary to rake the trail tread clear of leaves, branches, other debris so that we know where we need to level the trail, fill holes, etc. Please use caution while raking to avoid poking others with the rake handle.

Pulling out small saplings from the trail tread
There will be some small saplings in the trail tread. If these are cut off they tend to grow back from the roots, so we need to either pull them by hand (if they are very small), dig them out with a mattocks, or if they are up to an inch in diameter, pull them out with the weed wrench.

Filling holes
These need to be filled if they are within the 2′ wide trail tread, or if they are within several feet of the trail on either side. We have shovels and buckets for this purpose.

Leveling the trail tread
Walking across the side of a hill is tiring. The finished trail tread should be, in cross section, close to level. We have mattocks and rakes for this purpose. On this section of trail we cross multiple drainage dips, and have quite a bit of side hill trail to build. In addition to the side hill work, much of the trail route has various lumps and bumps that need to be leveled.

Stream crossings
There are multiple small stream crossings along this route. We will not be working on these on this workday, but in the future we plan to build small bridges across several of these.

Thanks for your service.
Jeff Brewer

To be added to the email notification list to receive Falls Lake workday announcements and details, email jdbrewer104@gmail.com.


June 1
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Jeff Brewer