The Almanor Ranger District periodically provides classes to teach trail clearing volunteers about safety and handling techniques in using crosscut saws and chainsaws. Completion of each saw-type training results in a certification so that volunteers can open pathways where trees have fallen across trails after winter storms. Photo by Carlos Espana

Activities planned for spring trails opening day

The official first workday of the season for the 2018 Opening Day For Trails is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, one day after Arbor Day, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The day starts at the trailhead of the Collins Pine Trail system, located behind the Almanor Recreation Center building adjacent to the Truman-Collins Sports Complex.

Each year, a number of volunteers help the Trails Committee enhance and maintain the trails. “We would be happy to have the community at large come out and visit with us,” to view their progress, noted Steve Fleming, Trails Committee project manager for the Collins Pine Trail system.

Designed to finish the Phase 1 clean up of the Collins Pine Trail loop, the event is a way to raise community awareness of the need for people to consider volunteering to help build up and preserve the trail system.

The Collins Pine Trail restoration-enhancement project consists of six phases along 3.3 miles, with Phase 2 restorations commencing soon.

People can participate in trail work along with the regular volunteers if they wish. Volunteers preserve the trail system by clearing overgrown brush and removing debris from trails so they are more easily accessible to hikers and other users.


“We invite people to bring a picnic lunch and something to drink and enjoy the forest and trail system,” Fleming said.

Fleming added that clearing trails is a great social activity and is also a lot of fun despite the work involved.

Fleming mentioned that anyone who owned GPS equipment could go on a “geo-cache” treasure hunt, in which a number of hidden treasures or rewards could be found using GPS coordinates and clues provided by Peggy Fulder, one of the Trails Committee organizers.

“As for our work plan on the day of the event, the main objective is removal of pinecones and needles from the trails, along with some light branch trimming if needed,” Fleming said.

“Visitors should feel free to take a leisurely walk along the trail and to take the time to ask questions. … This is a great opportunity for us to ‘show off’ all the work we’ve done on the trail system,” he noted.


Fleming said it’s their hope that in recognition of Arbor Day, “We’ll have a variety of young tree saplings available for planting.” The idea is that every year students can return to the site and take measurements as the different tree species take root and grow.

Yet another activity that might be fun for kids that day is a planned demonstration of the use of a classic antique double crosscut handsaw, showing what it’s like to manually cut a large diameter log.

Both kids and adults alike can alternate, taking turns cutting the log, giving them an idea of how hard it must have been and how long it took before the advent of gasoline-powered chainsaws. Sawyers have used crosscut saws for hundreds of years, said Fleming.

The Trails Committee, under the auspices of the Almanor Recreation and Park District, consists of community volunteers, including Fleming; Carlos Espana, trails coordinator for ARPD; Trails Committee member Peggy Fulder of the Lake Almanor Watershed Group; Charlie Plopper, Lake Almanor Watershed Group; and volunteer member Barbara Williams.


Trails Committee members meet periodically at the ARPD building to discuss efforts to restore trails in and around the town of Chester, as well as to consider ideas to pioneer future trails for public use.

To attend the 2018 Trails Opening Day for a few hours of fun, show up anytime during the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Individuals can feel free to sign up to help beautify the trail system on days that will be scheduled through the spring and summer months, usually held on Saturdays in the morning hours.

Fleming added that he would be announcing in the coming weeks an expansion in the existing number of trained volunteers needed, with an emphasis on possibly utilizing high school students and other community members and organizations such as local clubs, church groups and service organizations participating in the future maintenance of the Collins Pine Trail loop system.

For additional information, and to find out what tools to bring if volunteering, call Fleming at 259-5682 or email [email protected].