Trail Adopters

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The Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) is charged with the responsibility of maintaining the Appalachian Trail as it passes through portions of Vermont and New Hampshire. To effectively maintain these trails, the DOC seeks commitments from Adopters to regularly patrol designated sections of the trail. Most adopters make three to four visits to their section per year. We ask for a minimum commitment of sixteen hours per year.

We ask all Adopters to:
  • Clean waterbars thoroughly in spring as soon as the snow is gone and in fall after the leaves have fallen
  • Water bars and ditches should be cleared to 12” deep and 18” wide wherever possible, with plenty of runout
  • Clean waterbars are THE MOST IMPORTANT line of defense against damage to the trail!
  • Clear brush and limbs from around and above the trail such that the corridor is about five feet wide and eight feet high
  • Limbs and stubs should be trimmed flush with the tree or ground
  • Remove blowdown trees and limbs obstructing the trail, or report those you can’t safely move
  • Maintain clear, neat blazes
  • Standard AT blazes are white, 2” by 6”
  • Generally a hiker should be able to see the next blaze in each direction
  • Follow safety recommendations and trailwork practices as outlined in The Appalachian Trail Fieldbook - A free copy is available on request
  • Report other issues such as erosion, big blowdowns, ATV or mountain bike tracks, or anything you would like help with, to the DOC

The DOC will provide all necessary tools, supplies, training and forms on request. A toolbox is maintained in Hanover for the convenience of volunteers, and a somewhat irregular electronic newsletter is issued at least six times yearly with training and other valuable information. In short, if you love the Appalachian Trail, we will get you what you need to be an effective trail volunteer!

After completing your work, volunteers are asked to report their efforts to Jason Berard, fellow adopter, and adopter coordinator for the DOC. This information is then tabulated and reported to the National Park Service in October of each year. This information is crucial for planning larger scale maintenance efforts or other trail improvements.

Adopters should provide the following information for each day of work performed.

  • Date(s) of the work performed
  • Number of people in your party
  • Hours spent traveling to and from your trail section
  • Hours spent actually doing maintenance work
  • Hours spent in training or administrative volunteer work
  • A list of any special needs or work that you need help with (i.e., signs, bridges, etc.)

Blank forms are provided in the Adopter Toolbox for reporting,


Email the information to,


Mail to Jason Berard PO Box 44 North Thetford, Vermont 05054

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the Appalachian Trail!

Where are the blazing supplies?

The blazing supplies are located in the basement of Robinson Hall, which is located on the west side of Dartmouth Green. It has the big DOC sign out front. To find the supplies, head into the building, and walk downstairs to the basement. The locker is on your left, and is labeled Adopter Locker. There is a combination lock on the cabinet. The combo is 21-27-13. It should have: paint, brushes and wire brushes. Let me know if supplies are running low! For a good description of how to blaze properly, see pages 33-36 of your AT fieldbook. If you don’t have an AT fieldbook, let me know.

Where are the tools?

We have an adopter toolbox at Oak Hill. It should have loppers, hazel hoe’s, a round ended shovel, a machete, and a few odds and ends. To get to Oak Hill drive down Rt 10 in Hanover until you get to the traffic circle next to the COOP (the one by the golf course). Turn onto Resevoir Rd. Bear left to Storr’s Pond, and then turn right at the gatehouse into the parking lot. Drive straight to the end of the lot. Park in front of the brown building. The job box is behind the building, and is tan. The combination is 2004. Rotate the numbers until they read 2004, and then push the lock in. It should release. Next, slide the lever below the lock to "unlatched". After you have what you need, just shut the lid, and push the lock back in, scramble the numbers and slide the lever to "latched".