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John Cortesy’s commentary on trail maintenance on National Forest lands is dead-on in one respect: I am a hiker and I mountain biker and neither he nor anyone else has ever seen me carrying a chainsaw on a national forest trail.
However, over the past 10 years I and at least 800 other volunteers that I know have worn out more than a two-dozen blades on my collection of four 22-inch bow saws.
Between fire, drought and bugs, my rough guess is that crews under the supervision of the Volunteer Task Force (VTF) have cut out more than 4,000 fallen trees that blocked trails on the forest service trail network between the Valles Caldera and the Rio Grande.
Volunteers have included motorcycle riders, equestrians, mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, cross-country skiers, school and youth groups, and Eagle Scout candidates with their fellow scouts.
As a team, we have not only removed fallen trees from trails, but completely rebuilt about 30 miles of trail damaged by post-fire erosion or abuse.
Also, VTF volunteers have followed Forest Service regulations and complied with environmental regulations to carefully build new, sustainable trails in the Santa Fe National Forest.
We have taken the time to rebuild trails in a manner that has little impact on natural features or on sediment loads in area watercourses.
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