Big Basin Volunteer Trail Crew – 2008 Report

2008 was a good year for the Big Basin Volunteer Trail Crew (BBVTC) with a total of 1,049 hours worked over 14 workdays with the average day being 7 hours long. The 1,049 hours worked this year is up from 877 in 2007 and 755 in 2006.

The year included two special workdays. In April we worked in the San Lorenzo Forest section of Castle Rock State Park to assist the Sempervirens Fund in preparing the Michael’s Loop Trail for their summer docent lead hikes in this still restricted area. In August we worked with the state park trail crew in rerouting a section of the Shadowbrook Trail near the Shultz Bridge due to a downed fir that had narrowed the trail for many years.

The most unusual event was in February when a tree that we were removing from the Sunset Trail burst into flames. It was an area that had a controlled burn in the fall of 2007 and it was obvious the tree that had fallen across the trail had been burned in the fire. As we cut into the blackened tree on the trail, small wisps of smoke began to rise from the cut. As the cut was completed and the tree opened up small licks of flame jumped from the opening and we realized the fire was still burning from several months ago. The immediate area had been blackened in the control burn and it was cold and damp so there was no danger of the flames spreading, but the trail was very warm from the smoldering tree, even after several hours.

Two big projects consumed a lot of time during the year. In September, the BBVTC was an official sponsor along with REI and State Parks of the Vo-Cal weekend project that brought over 100 community volunteers to work in the park. This was a two-day event on the Sequoia Trail that included work on reroutes, installation of turnpikes in several wet areas and rebuilding the steps leading from the trail down to the Sempervirens Falls area. Also, due to lack of State Park funding the BBVTC worked with the Mountain Parks Foundation to fund the t-shirts for the Vo-Cal volunteers.

The other big effort in 2008 was the design and printing of a BBVTC brochure and poster that could be used in the recruitment of new members. This work was completed just before the Vo-Cal weekend and information was distributed to many of the volunteers. As the year ended, several contacts from the Vo-Cal weekend had been out to work with the Trail Crew.

Mike Peasland