We know that some of our friends like to help us maintain our trails and we are grateful for their hard work. This is a helpful guide to thoughtful trail maintenance. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

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Here are the trail maintenance guides used by Friends of Acadia and probably all National Parks.

The effect of the maintenance should be to maintain a natural looking environment while removing dangers and impediments to comfortable hiking. A “manicured” look or result is discouraged.

The path should be free of brush, interfering limbs and debris in a zone about 5 – 7 feet wide (enough for two people to pass comfortably) and about 8 feet high (some parents carry their children on their shoulders, even though it is not advisable.)

If pruning is necessary, limbs should either be cut at the junction of another limb or the tree trunk. If a sapling or tree needs to be removed, it should be cut as close to the ground as possible. Stumps higher than an inch are discouraged. Blatantly visible pruning is also discouraged, although sometimes unavoidable.

When a limb or tree is cut, it should be removed from the trail as far as is reasonable, when disposed with the cut end facing away from the trail as to not be visible from the trail. If noticeable at all, it should resemble normal blow down forest floor debris. Multiple limbs/trees should not be piled, but rather dispersed, again to look like normal forest debris.

Though some might not like the look, forest debris offers many ecological benefits such as cover or fodder for small animals or insects, and will eventually become part of the natural recycling process feeding new growth.