Berkshire Trails Leader Training

Crew Leader training is done!

Our first two weeks of training were spent up in the White Mountains at Camp Dodge Volunteer Center.  Here's what some of the crew leaders had to say about it:

From Abby:To Crush or not to Crush? At camp dodge, we learned the finer points of trail work as we attempted to answer this important question. Can you support a rock water bar with smaller crushed rocks ("crush") or should it be avoided at all costs? The debate spanned from sea to shining sea as we discussed the various ways crush is employed on trails across the country. While smashing rocks and setting water bars, I met some awesome people at Camp Dodge and look forward to bringing those skills to the Berkshires!

From Skyler:My two weeks spent training in the whites flew by faster than I could have imagined. I'm going to sincerely miss all the friends I made up at dodge but am excited to start work in the Berkshires fighting erosion. Rock water bars for life.

From Meg:It was really nice to see the Camp Dodge Community develop over training and see what the AMC experience is like on a bigger level. Camp Dodge is BEAUTIFUL, the Presidentials casually in the background, and everyone there is an experienced teacher which is much appreciated when this is your first time doing trail work. I hope to go back sometime this summer to visit, but for now I'm much more content with the peacefulness of the Berkshires and the smaller group we have here this summer.

From Erik:The two weeks we spent at Camp Dodge were great! I enjoyed learning and doing trail work. I also liked all the great people we met. I look forward to visiting Dodge again.

Moving rocks for a water bar on Imp Trail at Camp Dodge

After returning to the Berkshires (we might not wake up in the shadow of Mt. Washington, but the rolling hayfields, lush forests, and sunsets of Western Massachusetts compare quite well to the Whites), we spent another week learning the finer points of crew leadership. Our third week of training culminated with possibly the soggiest Leave No Trace training course ever. Despite the flood of water running down the trail, into our boots, and through our tents, we persevered and managed to learn some good ways to minimized our backcountry impact.

Our fourth and final week of training was spent in the field at Upper Goose Pond. We arrived just in time for a good soaking courtesy of a chain of afternoon thunderstorms. After setting up camp, we visited the worksite and the extra water made it especially obvious what work needed to be done. We spent the week putting in a water bar, placing stepping stones, and stabilizing the tread. After the initial deluge, the weather got steadily nicer, and our worksite became a little less muddy (I credit our stellar drainage fixes, not the weather). A refreshing midweek swim at Upper Goose Pond washed off some of the mud it turns out we weren't as tan as we thought. This final week of training solidified our trail skills, and I think all five crew leaders feel ready for a summer of trail work.

All in all, training was a success. I think we are all excited that the summer has officially started with our first teen crew out this week!