One little known volunteer opportunity at Acadia National Park is a group called the Waldron's Warriors. The Waldron’s Warriors are comprised of two dozen or so avid hikers, who help answer visitor questions, report trail damage to NPS staff, and who periodically check the condition of Bates Cairns on trails throughout the park. These cairns are used in treeless areas in conjunction with blue blazes to mark the trails, helping direct visitors regardless of the season or weather conditions. Bates Cairns have a particular design, with two base stones that hold up a flat lintel stone on which is placed a pointer stone that indicates the direction of the path. They were originally designed by Waldron Bates, an early Acadia trail builder in the 1900s. Maintaining these cairns keeps people safe and on the trails.
My chosen trail assignment is the South Ridge of Champlain where there are 103 cairns spread out along its 1.6 mile length. That's on average one cairn every 80 feet! There are so many that I take pictures of each one and compare them with my previous check. Most of the time the cairns are unchanged but, periodically visitors like to rearrange the cairns, or add rocks and I go about removing them and fixing the cairns. My dog Baxter assists and keeps me company. Volunteering as a Waldron Warrior is another good way to get out in the park and do a little something to make things better.
June 19, 2019