Leading the trail
Volunteers moved part of the nature walk off Route 624 onto safer land.

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Volunteers, from left, Ron Gray, Allen Britton, Sarah Tateosian and Lore Britton clear a trail along a hillside just south of Wrightsville.
Dec 1, 2005 A small group of seniors Wednesday said opening their hearts, giving their time and digging in the dirt keeps them appearing and feeling young. The volunteers, all of whom are retired, worked to clear about a mile of path for a hiking trail to be moved to a safer location.

They moved the portion of the 193-mile Mason-Dixon Trail off a dangerous part of Route 624 near Wrightsville. Now it crosses properties owned by Safe Harbor Water Power Corp. and County Line Quarry, which run along the Susquehanna River.

Volunteers a few months ago used chainsaws and a Pulaski ax - a combination ax and hoe - to clear growth and vines on the side of a hill for the trail.

The Mason-Dixon Trail, a public hiking path, crosses Delaware and

Maryland, follows the western shore of the Susquehanna River, extends through Gifford Pinchot State Park and connects to the Appalachian Trail. It was built with member financing
Jim Hooper walks between a trail switchback Wednesday during construction of the relocated portion of the Mason-Dixon Trail, just south of Wrightsville. In the background is the portion of Route 624 that the trail takes hikers around.
and contributions by volunteers who also maintain it.

The York Hiking Club has helped maintain the Appalachian Trail since 1948. The group monitors 40 miles of trail between Route 30 and Norman Wood bridges. A group of retired club volunteers meets weekly on relocation projects such as Wednesday's Wrightsville-area project. Volunteers don't need special skills or experience to help with trail projects.

York Township residents and club members Allen and Lore Britton, both in their 70s, have been volunteering for trail projects for more than three decades.

"I love it," Allen said. "If I didn't do it, who is going to do it? If I like the trails, I've got to maintain them." He said people who work and walk on hiking trails are healthy for many reasons.

"Everybody I know as a hiker has a youthful attitude," he said. "People who do volunteer work are healthier."

Freysville resident Ron Gray, 62, is also a club member. He's hooked on trail work.

"It's kind of in my blood," he said.


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