Nature Groupie Partners with Upper Valley Trails Alliance on Stewardship Lending Library

Volunteers can borrow from the tool cache to build and maintain trails

The team at Nature Groupie knows that to build and maintain trails, it’s important to have the right tool for the job. That’s why they are teaming up with the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA) in Norwich, Vermont to lend an assortment of tools for trail building and maintenance, conservation and construction, such as hoes, shovels, pick mattocks, rock bars, rakes, hammers, saws and more.

Russell Hirschler, executive director of the Upper Valley Trails Alliance, provides insight into this collaboration.

(1). Can you explain how the lending process works?

UVTA has had a lending toolshed since the year 2000 with a small grant. Over the years we continued to expand it. Historically, a community member or partner would call and reserve tools and then come and pick them up and return them. Now, with the expansion of the toolshed, the reservation process has been moved online with Myturn software. Membership in UVTA is encouraged but not required. You can access the toolshed through our website.

(2). Why is it important to have tools to lend?

Trail maintenance and stewardship are essential to the long-term sustainability of the regional trail network. Often, volunteers, town committee and other trail groups do not have access to specialized trail tools. Without the necessary tools, trail maintenance is either not done correctly or it is deferred. Having access alleviates this issue and allows for a safe accessible and vibrant regional trail network.

(3). Can you say a little about the alliance’s relationship with UNH Cooperative Extension?

UVTA has worked with UNH Extension in a variety of ways. UNH Extension is a partner of Trail Finder. Managed by UVTA, Trail Finder is the most comprehensive trails database in both New Hampshire and Vermont. UVTA has been working with Nature Groupie for many years, both as an author and contributor on documents and guides and as a liaison to disseminate messaging and information from Nature Groupie to our constituents in the Upper Valley Region.

(4). When did it officially launch?

UVTA has had a lending toolshed since around 2000. In 2018, UVTA heard that UNH Extension was looking to create an additional lending site in another part of the state. UVTA reached out to Malin Clyde and shared that we would happily house additional tools and the new site. We formally partnered in 2019, and tools were purchased in late 2019 and early 2020. Tools were delivered just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Hampshire, so we could not officially open until summer of 2020 when restrictions were loosened enough to allow trail work to resume.



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