The average adult walks 10,000 steps a day. It may not seem like a lot, but over time that is 70,000 steps a week, 300,000 steps a month, and 3,650,000 steps a year. 3,650,000 steps taken every year of each one of our lives. That’s a lot of shoes to go through in our lifetime, but an even greater amount of dirt that is moved around on the surface of the planet.
This concept means that walking paths are extremely important in conservation efforts. They allow us to experience nature without trampling endangered plants and animals and changing the landscape.
Over time, surfaces like trails can wear away, or if not done correctly can wash away. Recently, Gold crew had the opportunity to help restore 0.013 miles of trail in Byers Trailhead in Austin. Over the week, my crew put in two water bars, seven check steps, two drains and seven box steps. Each of these are important in keeping the trail maintained. Water bars allow water to wash off the sides of the trail without taking sediment away with it. Next, check steps allow water to wash down the trail without moving sediment. Then, drains allow water to move off the trail naturally, so the trail does not erode. Finally, box steps help the trail decline at a lower grade, so hikers feeling like they are walking down steps instead of running down the side of a mountain.
Working on this project was a lot of hard work, but a very rewarding experience to see the end product. The next time you have the chance to walk a trail, take a closer look at it. Even though a trail looks like it was naturally placed there, there was a lot of design behind the scenes in placing and forming it there.
Livy Kelley – Conservation & Disaster Crew (Gold)