Trail maintenance can be fun and rewarding.  But hazards and risks may exist.  Maintaining trails involves hard physical work in a wilderness setting using sharp tools which can cause injury.   Volunteers acknowledge that trail maintenance involves risk and that participation is entirely at their own risk.


  • You will be working physically in a bush or wilderness environment.  Dress appropriately.  Outer layers may become dirty or torn.  Choose your clothes appropriately. Bring work gloves, gaiters & suitable trail footwear which includes purpose-designed hiking boots or trail shoes, that provide full coverage of the foot (e.g. no open-toed sandals or flip flops allowed) and have an aggressive tread to provide traction in loose soil as well as in wet, muddy or snowy conditions, all of which may be encountered during typical VOC activities.
  • Wear layers and dress remembering that trail maintenance may continue in the rain.  Spring & Fall trail maintenance may encounter snow and low temperatures at altitude.  Summer trail maintenance may encounter heat and continuous sunshine. You may wish to bring bug repellent and sunscreen.  Bring enough food and water for a long day of physical work.
  • A first aid kit & radios are provided.  Remember to bring them along.  The club owns an FSR frequency radio for use if active logging is taking place.  The club also owns an emergency locator beacon which should be carried if heading into remote locations (e.g. Monashee hikes). 
  • The crew should leave details of their route and estimated return time to Vernon with a responsible adult so the alarm can be raised if the crew does not return by a prearranged time.
  • For trails that are a long drive on forest service roads into the bush, consider bringing extra snacks and water and leaving them in the vehicle, in case a problem occurs when trying to drive home and the crew is stranded far from a well-travelled road.
  • You should not continue with trail maintenance or the operation of a chainsaw if any member becomes fatigued or ill. In these circumstances the crew should consider abandoning the trail maintenance and returning home. Don’t try to complete the job to the point where someone is put at risk
  • Don’t participate if you are ill or under the influence of prescription or recreational drugs that may impair your ability to safely maintain a trail.  Like other club events, anyone under the influence of alcohol may not participate in trail maintenance.
  • Don’t risk injury by doing anything that appears outside your abilities, such as lifting a weight that is too heavy or operating equipment for which you have not been trained.
  • All trail maintenance volunteers must sign a VOC liability waiver before participating.


  • You will be expected to carry gear for the chainsaw operators – food, water, spare clothing.
  • You may wish to bring ear plugs as you will be working in close proximity to a chainsaw.
  • Safety glasses are a good idea in dense brush, etc.
  • Stay clear of chainsaw operators when they are cutting and remember they probably cannot hear you over the noise of a saw at full power!
  • Remember to flag the trail if the route is unclear.  Flagging tape is provided in the trail maintenance backpacks.  If trail head signage is missing or damaged, advise the Trail Maintenance Coordinator.
  • If trail head signage is missing or needs repair, please report it to the ramble or Sunday hike coordinator as appropriate.


  • Prior experience and/or training is essential.  If you have limited experience felling trees, consult with the Trail Maintenance Coordinator before volunteering.
  • Safety equipment – Kevlar chaps, CSA certified hard hat with ear protectors and a full face-guard – are provided by the club and must be worn.
  • Refresh your memory by consulting safety guidelines for chainsaw operation.  For example:
  • Don’t attempt to make cuts or fell trees beyond your skills and experience.  For example, if you don’t know how to safely fell a hung-up tree or cut a branch that is bent and under severe pressure, don’t try it on VOC trail maintenance. 
  • Don’t keep working if you get tired.  Fatigue increases the chance of accident.