Updated Trail Maintenance Manual Now Available

May 29, 2020
Phil Heidelberger, Policy Council Member
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Updated Trail Maintenance Manual Now Available
Trail Maintenance in Ramapo Mountain. Photo by Dan Roman.


Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for: 13 years since the last revision, the new, 8th edition of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Trail Maintenance Manual (TMM) is now available at nynjtc.org/tmm! This edition was written by a committee of the Trail Conference’s Policy Council consisting of Walt Daniels, Bob Gurion, Phil Heidelberger (subcommittee chair), John Magerlein, Nick McKenna, and Keith Scherer. Artwork was provided by Bob Jonas, with expert assistance from staff members Melissa Cascini, Peter Dolan, and Hank Osborn. We also received suggestions and improvements from numerous trail maintainers and supervisors, as well as other Trail Conference staff members. Our committee had a wide range of experience, from the relative novice with only a few years as a maintainer (me) to over 40 years (Walt).

We kept what was good in the 7th edition (you may recognize “steeling of the will”) but have greatly expanded a number of sections. In particular, we placed increased attention on the safety of maintainers. The new section on blowdowns is also much more detailed, including providing advice on when to walk away from potentially dangerous situations and instead, report such situations to your supervisor. The 7th edition was written in 2007, just before the use of smart phones became ubiquitous. In the 8th edition, we emphasize how to leverage your smart phone by taking pictures of problems with GPS location data to email to your supervisor. The 8th edition also includes hyperlinks to many other Trail Conference resources related to maintenance.

As the manual increased in length, it became obvious that carrying the hard copy of the full manual on the trail was not practical. To address this problem, a version of the full manual formatted for easy viewing on a smart phone is also available. (It’s also available for download at nynjtc.org/tmm.) In addition, we produced a greatly abbreviated “pocket” version of the TMM, available for download on your phone and as three 3-by-5-inch plastic cards, suitable for carrying with you into the field. Trail maintainers who do not have the cards should work with their supervisor to obtain a set. (Supervisors who are out of a stash should email volunteer@nynjtc.org).

Additionally, the Policy Council approved an update to the Recommended Blaze Colors document on June 10. This replaces the document last updated in 2008. Some colors from the previous edition of that document are no longer available. 

As we return to the trails for maintenance this season, we encourage everyone, even experienced maintainers, to review good maintenance skills by reading the new 8th edition of the Trail Maintenance Manual.