Projects – trail maintenance

This crew usually works on Mondays clearing official trails of fallen trees and other obstructions thoughout the Sandia Mountains. If you see fresh sawdust, the sawn ends of a tree trunk on either side of a trail, or sections of a trunk or limbs lying alongside the trail, this crew probably was responsible.

Bob Lowder, leader of the trail maintenance crew and FOSM president from 2005 through 2020.
Click on the image above to watch a short video (5:09) illustrating the variety of activities engaged in by the Monday trail maintenance crew. Credits: Photos – Bob Lowder and Cliff Giles; Video – Cliff Giles

Bob Lowder leads this crew, and his wife Sally maintains a comprehensive Trail Tree Report tracking obstructions or hazards reported and cleared by the crew or individual hikers.

The crew sometimes uses chainsaws outside the Sandia Mountain Wilderness but mostly uses handheld crosscut saws as well as other hand tools for their work.

An important adjunct to this activity is the Cibola Trail Rangers (CTR) mailing list used by FOSM members and other hikers to report obstructing or hazardous trees. Hikers are encouraged to report any trees they clear. It’s quite frustrating for the Monday crew to hike several miles only to find that a reported obstruction already has been cleared.

These activities are not for the faint of heart. In addition to the physical effort involved in removing the obstacles, hikes of several miles with 2,000 feet or more elevation gain are common.

Safety is paramount. Everyone must wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, long sleeves, long pants, sturdy boots, helmets, eye protection, plus chaps and hearing protection when chainsaws are used. Sawyers (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) are trained and certified by the Forest Service although newbies can use crosscut saws under the supervision of a certified sawyer. That still leaves plenty of work for new members to do using other tools such as Pulaskis, cant hooks, and pruning saws.

Bob or another crew member prepares a detailed report including photographs after each activity. These reports, recent copies of which can be found here, provide a great means of learning about the crew’s activities.

Please fill in the form below if you would like more information about these activities or are interested in joining this crew. Please email should you encounter any problems with this form.