Instructions for Appalachian Trail Volunteers

A trail marker mounted to a tree on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs are responsible for most of the day-to-day work of keeping the A.T. open. In addition to Trail maintenance, club volunteers may build and repair shelters and other structures, monitor and protect the Trail corridor, monitor and manage rare plants and invasive species, develop management plans for their sections, and much more.

Volunteer Roles

MCM’s responsibility as an Appalachian Trail maintaining club includes the following duties:

  • We maintain the northernmost 10 miles of the A.T in Maryland and 32 more miles (including 29 miles of the A.T and 3 miles of side trails) in two sections in Pennsylvania. Trail work can include installing and cleaning water bars, clearing trees that fall across the Trail, improving stream crossings, and repairing bridges.
  • We maintain four hiking shelters along our Pennsylvania sections of the A.T. The shelters work includes carrying in supplies, keeping privies in good working shape, and making repairs to the structures.
  • We monitor the boundaries of land owned by the National Park Service (NPS) surrounding our Pennsylvania sections of the A.T. This work typically involves following boundary lines through brush and rough terrain, locating markers and monuments, repainting blazes, and reporting incursions onto NPS land.

Information Sources

Our responsibilities as a Trail Club and our policies for our assigned Trail sections are summarized in our Local Operating Plan for the Appalachian Trail. We encourage all Trail volunteers, as well as other interested club members, to become familiar with the plan, which can be viewed here.

Any MCM volunteers who do work on the Appalachian Trail are required by the National Park Service to sign up for the NPS Volunteer in Parks (VIP) program. By signing the on-line volunteer roster, you receive medical and liability protection in case of any accident while doing volunteer work. To sign up, go to this page on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy web site.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) web site provides training and safety information for Trail volunteers, include Job Hazard Analyses and the Trail Safe Training program. The page has links to numerous training modules that may interest our volunteers. This ATC web page also includes information about the steps that volunteers should take to report an injury. All A.T. volunteers should review these materials, which are available here.

Each Trail club is required to have a Check-In/Check-Out Policy for volunteers to follow. The purpose of this policy is to assure that if a volunteer is injured on the trail and cannot get to his/her vehicle or summon help, another person will be able to (1) realize that the volunteer is missing and (2) inform rescuers where to look for him/her. Trail volunteers are strongly encouraged to use this policy, or other steps of their choosing, to make sure that others will know when/where they are performing Trail work. To view MCM’s Check-In/Check-Out Policy, check here.

Each Trail club is required to have an Emergency Response Plan describing the steps volunteers should followed in case an emergency occurs during volunteer work on the Trail. MCM’s Trail volunteers should be familiar with this plan in case an emergency occurs during Trail work. To view MCM’s Emergency Response Plan, click here.

If you experience, or become aware of, an incident on the Appalachian Trail (e.g., an injury, criminal act, or suspicious activity), you can report it on-line at this location:

To view trail maintenance instructions and tips from ATC’s 2022 Trail Maintenance Training class, click here.

Contact Us for More Information 

If you have any questions about your Appalachian Trail volunteer work, contact us:

Appalachian Trail Maintenance:

Appalachian Trail Shelters:

Appalachian Trail Corridor Monitoring: