By Patrick Keavney, Crew Leader, Trailkeepers of Oregon
A lot of us see trails that rarely get a good brushing as we’re out hiking. At a recent TKO fundraiser, a hiker asked me the best way to trim the brush encroaching the trail. My wife Elaine and I have a lot of experience at that. We work with local land managers and lead work crews to maintain trails east of Portland from the Clackamas River to Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge. We try to brush the most heavily-used trails one or two times a year. When we brush an existing trail corridor, we clear six feet wide and eight feet high. If the trail is shared with horses, we clear eight feet wide and ten feet high. Obviously, you need special tools to clear that way. But any hiker can do a good job at brushing using a simple hand trimmer and a folding saw / pruner that easily tucks into a side pocket.