WILLIAMSTOWN — Trails do not maintain themselves.
That was the message from town Conservation Commission member Robert Hatton during a recent trail maintenance tutorial meeting held at the Williamstown Town Hall.
Hatton spoke to an interested group of nine volunteers gathered to learn about properly caring for town-owned hiking, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing trails.
An array of tools including brush cutters, clippers, chain saws, shovels and a hoe were displayed as well as some protective gear. A hoe with a wide base is good for cleaning water bars while brush cutters can get closer to the ground and are better for cutting down errant saplings than clippers, Hatton said.
While volunteers are welcome to perform volunteer labor on multiple town trails, some people prefer to work on specific areas, he said.
"Some people have a favorite trail that they adopt," he said.
The trails Hatton would like to see maintained include a Berlin Road trail; a town-owned section of the Stone Hill trail; the Linear Park trail, and trails around Margaret Lindley Park and Torrey Woods Road.
Hatton brought numerous books and guides to the session and told those in attendance that they could read about trail maintenance if they wished.
"I am interested in learning more about this," said Jennifer Karampatsos, noting that her father worked as a game warden.
Hatton emphasized that volunteers should be working only on town-owned public properties, as he handed out maps with town trails identified.
"We can't go out on private land with chain saws and shovels and start cutting and digging," he said,
Those wishing to volunteer should be prepared to commit to performing trail maintenance two to three times a year and possibly more, he said.
"You want to get out there in the spring because people want to get on the trails," he said. "In the fall, the leaves can block the trails and in the summer, overgrowth of vegetation can be a problem. Then, there is work to do after storms.
Hatton plans to place a trail maintenance log book in Town Hall so that people can record which trails they've worked on and what work was done. Documenting the work means avoiding duplication, he said.
Hatton said he will provide a full list of town trails and tools to anyone wanting to help with trail maintenance. Those interested in volunteering or wanting to get tools to do trail maintenance can call Hatton at 413-458-3123.