Clearing: When we first start a trail, the route is often impassible due to vegetation in the forest. We must first clear out this vegetation to even begin to see the route of the trail.
Tools for Clearing
Loppers: We use both large and small loppers to cut vines, branches and honeysuckle up to about 2” in diameter. Loppers cut through small stems quick and are easy to operate.
Bowsaw: A bowsaw is a type of saw used specifically for outdoor sawing of vegetation. We use it for anything that is too big for the loppers to cut through.
Uprooting: After clearing out a path, we are left with many stumps, both small and large, that need to be removed in order to create a flat surface for the trail.
Tools for Uprooting
Shovels: We use basic shovels to dig out some stumps. They not only move and loosen the soil, but they also cut through smaller roots that impede stump removal.
Pulaskis: The Pulaski is a tool that was designed for forest fire-fighting. It has both an axehead and a hoe. For clearing, we use the axehead for roots that are too large to be cut with a shovel.
Honeysuckle Popper: The honeysuckle plant makes up the majority of our stump removals. Because the plant’s roots are shallow, the honeysuckle popper can be used by securing the tool around the base of the plant and simply using leverage to “pop” the plant out of the ground.
Benching: After we have a clear trail, we then begin the task of leveling the grade of it through a process called benching. Benching involves cutting out dirt from the hillside of the trail and using that soil to level out the lower side of the trail.
Tools for Benching
Rhinos: The Rhino, like the Pulaski, was developed as a wildfire-fighting tool. It is a heavy duty hoe that has a sharp edge. We use it to cut into the hillside and pull the dirt out. We also use the hoe end of the Pulaski for this same purpose.
Bow (or Garden) Rake: After ripping the dirt up, we use these rakes to break up dirt clumps and level out the trail so that it is easy to walk on.