Govmint is shutdown. Now what?


My chainsaw weighs 11 lbs. including the hard plastic sheath on the bar.  If you carry one far enough on your shoulder, it can rub you raw.

Home, January 8, 2019 — Part of the federal government is shutdown over a political dispute.  I have strong views, but won’t share them here.  This blog is about protecting and preserving hiking trails and related matters.

The 31 maintaining clubs that perform trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail (AT) operate under agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the nonprofit tasked by the NPS to manage the trail.

My club, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), is responsible for maintaining most of the hiking trails in the Washington, D.C. region including 240 miles of the AT, 102 of which are in Shenandoah National Park.

The club’s activities in Shenandoah are sanctioned under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for maintenance activities and for managing rental cabins.  We have a separate Cooperative Agreement to manage the ridgerunner program.  These are legal documents that spell out the rules of the road for us and for the park.

One benefit of volunteering in the park is that we are covered under the Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program.  There is a similar VIF program for national forests.  Essentially we have workman’s comp coverage when engaged in officially sanctioned activities.

With the government shutdown, our VIP coverage is suspended.  Accordingly, we aren’t allowed to volunteer.  The last thing I would want is to get kicked out of the park and probably out of the club for doing something I’ve been officially asked not to do.


Hiking with my Kevlar safety chaps on backward.

Back to humping chainsaws.  When you have to hike in a long way, some of us stuff our saws in old frame packs for easier carrying.  The also make it easier to carry the safety gear, first aid kit, lunch, plus extra fuel and bar oil.

But, there are times when throwing the saw on your shoulder happens.


With little to do today, I decided to make a chainsaw pad out of leftover carpet pad from the recently installed carpet in the basement.


First I cut a hunk of spare pad to size.


Checking the fit.


Preparing to tape it together.  The plastic vapor barrier side goes on the inside.


So far, so good.


After taping the seam, duct tape makes the outer layer.




It fits.


11 thoughts on “Govmint is shutdown. Now what?

  1. Nice job on that. No point in slowly sawing a gash in your shoulder. That one shot of you loaded with your gear was amazing. The total weight must have been rather large.

  2. At least your are able to make good use of your time and make something positive happen while the government is shut down. Like you, I have my thoughts but don’t get me started ……..

    • It’s not like I spend all of my time grooming hiking trails, especially in the winter. However we still have a ton of storm damage to clean up in Shenandoah’s southern district. Fortunately I was able to prepare the AT section that I maintain for winter so I’m not feeling any pressure.

  3. Always plan ahead. Hey, as long as I have you here…in NH….besides the hut system and weather in the White / Presidential range, is there anything else that should be looked at little more closely / prepared for when doing that section? Am toying with idea of maybe getting at least Presidential area done this year. will be researching it/ Don’t want to get blown off by winds….covered in snow or lost to where body is never found.

    • Be in tip top shape. The huts are outrageously expensive – for good reason – but plan to use the camp grounds. The crowds are heavy. I’ll email you a list of legal stealth campsites. Thunder storms will be your only weather worry.

  4. Good solution to the problem! I hope it works well for you.

    Today I’m going to call my senators and tell them to vote on the appropriations bills passed by the House on 1/3/19. That should light a fire under them… :/

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