What is the Adopt-A-Trail Program?
The S.W.A.M.P. Club Adopt-A-Trail Program is a volunteer program providing opportunities for members, and nonmembers alike, to assist the club by monitoring, maintaining, and enhancing trails and trailhead facilities.
Who can adopt a trail?
Club members, school and youth groups, scout troops, church, community and service organizations, businesses, families, individuals or groups of individuals can adopt a trail. Anyone with an interest in trails and the outdoors is welcome to help preserve our trails and provide safe, enjoyable access to the outdoors.
What can volunteers do?
Adopt-A-Trail volunteers assist SWAMP Trail Crews in managing and maintaining trail systems. Adopt-A-Trail activities include keeping the trail surface free of blow down from storms, pruning small limbs and palmetto fronds from the trail corridor, cleaning drainage dips, and clearing debris from bridges.
Other responsibilities include litter cleanup, maintaining the trailhead area including parking lot, bulletin board and trail signs, and reporting vandalism, trail hazards or safety issues.
Why should you participate?
Adopting a trail provides an opportunity for you to be actively involved in your club and/or your local trail system. Helping to maintain and enhance existing trails improves the resource for all to enjoy. The effort brings trail and nature enthusiasts closer to the environment and their community. Enjoy the time outdoors and personal satisfaction gained through volunteering on a conservation trail.
How to get started
If you have a specific trail system and trail in mind, let us know. If the trail you choose is available for adoption, we'll get you set up right away. If you want to know which trails are available in a particular system, we can help you find the right one. Keep in mind that some trails are considered sensitive and therefore are not available for adoption.
Once you've chosen a trail then you will be contacted by that trail systems Trail Boss who will either discuss over the phone, or set a date that is convenient for you, to meet and discuss the requirements and benefits of trail adoption. You will also report your hours to this Trail Boss so that you get credit for volunteering.
Contact “firstname.lastname@example.org” to inquire about the specific trail you’re interested in.
Guidelines For Volunteers
A trail or trail section must be adopted for a period of one year, renewable annually thereafter upon approval by the Trail Boss. This agreement may be terminated at any time by the volunteer or by the Trail Boss.
Trail inspections may include the following:
Observing the condition of trailhead parking lot, bulletin board and trail signs, monitoring trail conditions and performing routine maintenance, picking up litter, and notifying the Trail Boss of any problems or additional maintenance needs.
Volunteers are asked to visit the adopted trail or trail section at least 8 times per year (once every month during the growing season). At your convenience choose the days and times you would like to visit the trail. You may wish to check with the Trail Boss prior to your trip to inquire about things such as - hunting seasons at Croom or other activities at Wilderness Trails, Alafia, or Boyette that may be scheduled on the area like prescribed burns. Please send an electronic report to the Trail Boss after each visit, so that we may keep track of your efforts and the trail conditions.
Routine maintenance involves keeping the trail surface free of limbs and overgrowth, pruning small limbs and palmetto fronds from the trail corridor and throwing the trimmings well off the trail, cleaning grade dips and drainage channels, and clearing debris from benches and bridges. The Trail Boss will provide volunteers with information and instruction on maintaining specific trails to meet SWAMP Club guidelines. Volunteers are asked to provide their own trail maintenance tools.
Volunteers should notify the Trail Boss if there is an erosion problem, trees down on the trail, missing or damaged signs, vandalism, or other issues that cannot be handled on the day of a trail visit. Report any suspicious or illegal activity. If litter will be picked up but not removed from the area during your visit, please make arrangements with the Trail Boss for litter pickup.
Volunteers should dress appropriately for trail work and use gloves, safety glasses and other protective gear when necessary. All work shall take place during daylight hours and be performed with safety in mind. Do not attempt any tasks you are not comfortable with. Adopt-A-Trail volunteers are not permitted to use chain saws or have motorized equipment on the trail. No work shall be done that has not been previously agreed upon with the Trail Boss.
We ask for a minimum commitment of one year of service to your adopted park or trail. We also ask that volunteers perform tasks at their location a minimum of once per month in the growing season.
The goal of our Adopt-A-Trail Program is three fold.
(1) Maintain and improve trails to help control overgrowth and ensure that trails stay open to bikers.
(2) Provide trail users with opportunities to make a positive impact to the local trail network.
(3) Record volunteer hours donated in local park systems to land managers.
The primary focus of the Adopt-A-Trail program is trail trimming to maintain corridors passable. If trail trimming is maintained by volunteers of the Adopt-A-Trail Program, then the regularly scheduled monthly work parties can concentrate resources on larger trail improvements or other more-involved trail maintenance.
Adopters responsibility agreement
Volunteers are required to coordinate with the Trail Boss for an orientation and possibly on site training (if deemed necessary.) Volunteers will also be expected to monitor their trails for erosion, downed trees and other potential problems, and report these major trail issues to the Trail Boss for correction.
Most trails will need to be trimmed at least twice during the summer months. It should take two hours or less per clipping to trim a section in the Adopt-A-Trail
Program. All of the trails can be easily accessed by bicycle and the only tools needed are a pair of clippers or small loppers that can be carried in a small backpack. Your total time commitment should be around 20 hours per year; more if you wish.
The SWAMP Club would like to maintain their philosophy of keeping one way single-track trail tread at 18-24 inches except for blind turns and switchbacks where a view of obstacles must be seen. Two way trails obviously wider to avoid head on collisions with other riders. This creates a narrow trail that minimizes impact on the environment as well as maximizes fun on the bike. Hardwoods and saplings should not be cut unless necessary and should never be trimmed back more than one foot past the edge of the tread width. Single-track trail does not need to be trimmed above a height of 7 feet.
All sections of trail are marked and are less than two to three miles in length. Some sections of trail that require extensive trimming are much shorter. Each volunteer may sign up for as many sections as they would like keeping in mind that quality beats out quantity. Two or more people can share a section and coordinate trimming. Requests for trail sections will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Of course, if you abandon your trail, we will assign it to someone else.
To adopt a section of trail or for more information please contact our Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator, Garry Rosseter at “garry at swampclub dot org”, or call 727-528-9693.
Once you have signed up for a section be sure to download a map from the maps section here. The Trail Boss may have additional instructions on how to maintain your trail. Many trails are still open, waiting for someone to adopt them! Certain trails are a little sensitive and therefore are not available for adoption.
A notice with the adopters name will be posted in the “Adopter-A-Trail” section in the quarterly newsletter. This will reinforce a sense of responsibility and pride in the volunteers. (This will occur on a first come first serve basis, and will remain posted as long as the group/individual is an active volunteer.)
HOW CAN YOU ADOPT A TRAIL
1. Read through this information, which hopefully you have done up to this point.
2. Send an e-mail to the AAT Coordinator with your name, address, phone number, trail system and trail(s) that you want to adopt, and what days are best for you to volunteer. If it’s not taken it’s yours to adopt. (Remember that some sensitive trails and sections are not available for adoption.)
3. Get trained on proper trail maintenance if necessary.
4. Take great pride and care of your newly adopted trail.
Basic rules of Adopt-A-Trail Program• Only involves trimming of overgrowth from the trail and throw trimmings well off of the trail.
• Cleaning up blow down from storms or other debris in the trail, on bridges, and cleaning out drainage dips built into the trail.
• Must always be in communication with the Trail Boss before and after trail duties in case of warnings about prescribed burns, closed trails, events going on at the trail system, etc.
• No alterations of trail bed or flow of trail without prior consent and discussion with Trail Boss.
• Any problem areas found on the trail that can’t be taken care of on your volunteer day report to the Trail Boss and a scheduled repair will be done.
• Report your Adopt-A-Trail time and days on the trail to the Trail Boss.
• No enforcement of property rules. Adopt the IMBA rules of Assist-Educate-Inform when encountering others on the trail system with courtesy.