What You Learn At A Trail Workday

In this post, I'm going to write about my recent experience participating in a DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails workday.

We met up on a Wednesday in Van Peenen Park to work on a handful of spots on a couple of the trails. I'll admit, I was nervous because I've never been at a trail workday yet and I certainly didn't want to be in the way. 

I didn't participate in trail workdays in the past due to my arm and shoulder issues. They're still there, but I have a much better handle on them and figured I should be good to go with volunteering.

So here is what I learned with participating in my first trail workday.

#1. Anyone can help! If you don't know how to do dirt work or run a chainsaw, there will be something you can help with. You can pick up sticks, you can be a helpful hand with grabbing tools for other folks, you can help carry stuff, etc.

#2. If you are interested in learning some of the easier aspects of dirt work, simply say so and you'll get help learning! I watched Travis use the tamper to pound dirt down and it looked easy, so I asked if I could try it and the rest is history. It was super simple, tiring, but easy to do- and it's helpful! When I wasn't tamping, I was using a rake to break up dirt clumps to allow for tamping to happen. Something so simple as breaking up dirt clumps is helpful for dirt work.

#3. If you enjoy using the dirt trails, you should find time to join a workday at least one time.
Why? It makes you appreciate the work that has been done that allows YOU to enjoy the trails. It's eye-opening. Also, there is something to be said about taking some ownership and volunteering time to help something you love. After the work was done, you see the improvements, and you can't wait for the weather to cooperate so you can ride it!

#4. Trail work can be done by and appreciated by everyone. If you run, bike, or hike- you will reap the benefit of trail work. Regardless of how you enjoy the trails, you are part of a community of folks who enjoy outdoor recreation. Volunteering time at a workday allows you to connect with like-minded folks, and you just might make new friends!

#5. Kids can help at a workday, too! It's a great way of introducing them to respecting the trails and understanding the work that goes into creating them. It's a great time to educate trail use etiquette as well.

We were able to accomplish a good amount of trail work within a couple of hours, even if it made me tired! It's really neat to see a group of folks get together, and as the work progresses, see the stoke everyone has over how it looks and how they can't wait to ride it. 

DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails will announce their workdays on Facebook and through email. If you would like to be involved, you can send an email to josie@decorahbicycles.com and get added to the DHPT mailing list!