A 300-plus mile trail system, constructed at considerable public expense, once offered hikers, backpackers and equestrians opportunities to experience the Big Sur backcountry with relative ease. Nowadays, the lapse of Forest Service funding has rendered the vast majority of these trails barely passable. Ever-more frequent wildfires produce deadfall, vegetative re-growth and erosion that continuously add to the maintenance backlog. Loops and through-hikes in the Big Sur backcountry often involve extensive stretches of brushy, difficult and even outright dangerous trails.
With the help of major donors, contract crews and dedicated volunteers, the VWA has developed a time-tested strategy to protect and restore backcountry access. Every project is carefully planned with the guidance of the VWA Trail Crew Chief and Trails Committee, and executed with the careful supervision of the VWA Stewardship Program Coordinator.
- The Ventana Trails Forever endowment at the Community Foundation for Monterey County generates annual funds, which are leveraged by contributions from generous donors and matching awards from major foundations. The funds cover the cost of tools, training, contract crews and project leadership.
- Contract crews are hired for focused projects, including work deep in the backcountry, to complete maintenance and restoration beyond the reach or skill level of the average weekend volunteer. Stewardship Program Coordination oversight ensures work of the highest standard, strictly adherent to appropriate environmental regulations.
- The VWA trains and deploys an all-volunteer Trail Crew to survey conditions, perform routine brushing and deadfall removal, and supplement contract crew accomplishments, ensuring pack stock accessibility whenever possible.
Are you looking to get out and give back? Support the VWA and join the VWA Trail Crew! Join the VWA Meetup group and you'll be alerted to upcoming Trail Crew outings.