Trail Trimming Tips

Trail Building & Wildfire Risk
June 8, 2023
Trail Trimming Challenge 2023
June 30, 2023

Looking to help out on the trails and perhaps participate in our Trail Trimming Challenge? Here’s some tips to get you started.

While keeping the trail corridor clear isn’t complicated work, there are a number of best practices that we ask volunteers to follow when out brushing the trails.

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the tools you are using (e.g. eye & hearing protection, chaps, etc)
  • Keep an eye out for bird nests. If you see one, please do not disturb. (It’s not common but trail crew did find one immediately adjacent to a trail at Sumas a couple of years ago!)
  • Trim the foliage well back of the trail edge to create a nice wide corridor. This means we don’t need to trim the trails as frequently and it’s also a good safety practice. It opens up sight lines on the trail so you’re less likely to surprise a bear (or other fellow trail user).
  • When pruning tree branches (e.g. cedar, fir), ensure you use the appropriate tools. Pruning shears or loppers work well for smaller diameter branches; for larger branches, use a hand saw. Cutting larger branches requires using the three cut method (see diagram below) to avoid causing damage to the tree. Do not cut branches back with hedge trimmers or brush cutters.
  • Clear debris off the trail (especially any bigger branches and branches with thorns)


The Three Cut Method

The Three Cut Method

Cut 1: About 6-12″ from the trunk, cut the underside of the branch about 1/4 of the way through the diameter of the branch

Cut 2: About 1″ further from the trunk than cut 1, cut all the way through the branch from the top.

Cut 3: Prune the remaining stub just outside of the branch collar. Do not leave stubs, this increases risk of disease in the tree


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