by Marlene Berlin
The spring and late summer rainstorms were relentless. So are the volunteers who repair storm-damaged hiking trails.
The DC chapter of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) regularly brings volunteers to improve the Melvin C Hazen and Soapstone Valley Trails. They repaired this Melvin Hazen stream crossing in August:
The Soapstone trail’s three stream crossings also needed a lot of work after the storms. At times I just gave up trying to cross over the rocks – they kept shifting or disappearing – and waded across in my shoes.
But recently, I saw evidence that the Soapstone Trail’s volunteer caretakers had been there.
PATC placed new rocks in a clear path at the three crossings, and they’ve done other repairs to the trail.
Alex Sanders, the district manager of PATC’s DC branch, told me in an email:
“Our crew in Rock Creek Park improved the stream crossings on Saturday, September 29. We also installed new trail signs and a replacement post on Saturday. We had about 20 volunteers.”
PATC planned to do more repair work on Monday, October 8th, with help from volunteers from Accenture. They were to focus on the trail entrances. Sanders also says the Soapstone trail has a new overseer, JoAnn Shaner. She is learning the trail and what it takes to keep it in good shape. She took these photos of the September 29th trail work.