Volunteers clear trails for hikers

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SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Shenandoah Valley has miles and miles of trails for people to enjoy. Keeping them clear and in good shape is a job that many volunteers take on.

Peter Taylor is one of those volunteers who takes time to keep one of the Valley’s trails ready for hikers. Taylor has been hiking much of his life. He spends part of his time living in the Valley.

“Oh, I’ve been backpacking since I was a Boy Scout., said Taylor. “We own a piece of property over in Massanutten Mountain, so I really got into hiking all through there and all up and down the mountains here. It's just, I guess in the blood.”

Taylor is a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

“My father was a member of PATC back in the '50s and '60s and maintained shelters and trails along through here," added Taylor. “So I guess it's sort of in the blood, too.”

The group helps maintain 240 miles of the Appalachian trail and 700 miles of other trails in the region. WHSV caught up with Taylor while he was maintaining a trail in the Wolf Gap Recreation Area near the Virginia/West Virginia state line.

“There are many, many miles of trails with some spectacular vistas and viewpoints and rock formations, so it's just a beautiful place to come and give back to the trail, to do the maintenance, to keep it open for everybody else that's out here that wants to hike the trail,” said Taylor.

All of the rain we’ve seen this spring can make maintaining trails a challenge. Members of the group help by cutting through brush that gets in the way of the trail and clearing rocks off the trail to keep it enjoyable for hikers.

“The trails that we were on today [June 2, 2018] were in excellent shape,” said Taylor. “A part of that is because we work very hard to keep the trails drained. To keep water off of the trails themselves. So they don't really get too muddy. There are some trails up in here though that are virtual streams right now with all the rain and it makes it very difficult to hike up and down them."

PATC is a group always looking for your help.

“Well if you're interested, one of the things you could do is show up here at Wolf Gap the first Saturday of the month and there's usually a trail team up here doing some work,” added Taylor.