TrailFit Project: Liability Waiver and Release


As a condition to participating in the TrailFit project described below, I hereby release San Diego Ultra Running Friends (“SURF”) and its members, directors, officers, employees, agents, volunteers, and representatives from liability for any injuries or damages to me or my property arising out of my participation in this project.  I understand that SURF does not maintain a policy of health or accident insurance and that I will be relying on my own health or accident insurance (or my own personal resources in the absence of such insurance) to pay for any necessary medical care or damage to my property.  I am aware that I may be exposed to man-made and natural hazards, including but not limited to, vehicular traffic, heat, wild animals, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions, and I am expressly assuming all risks associated with such hazards.  This release extends to my heirs, successor and assigns and includes all claims of any kind, whether known or unknown. 


I grant SURF the right to take photographs of me in connection with this project and to use such images for any lawful purpose, including without limitation, publicity, advertising and web content. 


Please note that SURF does not maintain a policy of health or accident insurance and in the event of an injury, volunteers will be relying on their own insurance or personal resources to pay for medical care. Our trail work involves exposure to natural hazards such as wild animals, poison oak, and inclement weather, and the areas where we work are often several miles from the nearest town or road. Here are some things you can do to make your trail work experience safer for yourself and others:

1. Maintain a safe space from others while working, approximately 8 feet apart. When passing behind another worker, let them know you are nearby before moving behind them. When using chopping tools such as an axe, Pulaski or McCloud, don’t lift the tool more than shoulder high. Carry such tools at waist level with the handle pointing behind you; don’t rest them on your shoulder.

2. Usually, we make so much noise doing trail work that any snake within 100 miles has run for cover! However, during snake season, be careful where you put your hands and feet. Nearly all snake bites are on hands so use common sense before reaching into places that might shelter a snake, such as under a log or rock.

3. Depending on the location, poison oak may be in the area where we are working. Normally, it is found in wetter locations such as near streams. If you don’t know how to identify it visually, do a Google image search. During winter months, poison oak will lose its leaves but still pose a threat from the bare branches. If you are sensitive to this plant, consider bringing alcohol wipes or Technu soap to wash your skin in the case of exposure. Once home, wash the exposed area with Technu soap to remove the oil.

4. When cutting brush with loppers, be careful not to lean your head into the bush as you may get poked. Wear eye protection.

5. Please don’t leave the outing without letting the group leader know. The group leader will have minor first aid supplies, such as band-aids. If you have a more serious injury, let the group leader know and we’ll do everything we can to get you medical treatment.

6. We strongly suggest that you wear long pants and long sleeve shirts while doing trail work. This will minimize your exposure to sharp plants, insects, sun, etc. During tick season, consider spraying your clothes with insect repellant.

7. When the work involves power equipment (hedge trimmers, brush cutters, chain saws, etc.), stay at least 30 feet away when the equipment is in operation. The operator will be wearing sound protection gear and may not be able to hear you when the machine is operating. If you need to get the operator’s attention, toss a small branch or rock in front of them.

8. If you see a trail user approaching the work area, please let them know that a trail work project is ahead and alert any nearby volunteers. If power equipment is running, ask the user(s) to wait until the equipment is shut down and then get the operator to suspend operations to allow the users to pass by.

9. OK, we probably shouldn’t have to say this, but for goodness sake, don’t do trail work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol!


So enough about safety already. Doing trail maintenance is not rocket science but a few basic techniques are needed:

  • When using loppers, try to make a single cut at the part of the branch closes to the ground rather than a series of cuts moving lower and lower. Whenever possible, make the final cut as close to the ground as you can, with the cut parallel to the ground. Don’t leave a pointy end that may puncture a shoe or horse hoof!

  • Unless instructed otherwise by the group leader, we clear trail to a width of 4 feet on either side of the center line of the trail. We also clear overhanging branches up to a height of 8 feet. If you’re not sure how to handle a particular situation, just ask the group leader for advice.

  • Ideally, we want to avoid having more than one person cut brush on the same section of trail. If someone ahead of you has cleared the trail, then leapfrog 20 or 30 feet ahead of everyone to a new section and start working there.

  • The cuttings from brush clearing should, whenever possible, be stashed out of sight on the uphill side of the trail. Toss the material with the cut ends of branches facing away from the trail (to avoid the “white eye” effect). Remember, some of this stuff will take decades to fully decay so please be sensitive to the visual impact of a pile of dead sticks. In heavily overgrown areas, it may be necessary to cut out an area to toss cuttings.

  • If you carried in a tool, please be sure to carry it out with you. If your tool gets damaged, please tell the group leader.

  • When cutting fallen trees, if the entire tree cannot be removed from the trail, then leave a gap of three to five feet.

  • Where possible, shift trail around newly growing trees; don’t cut the sapling down or cut side-limbs that may encroach on the trail. If the tree is head-high or larger, cut limbs protruding into trail if necessary.

Things to bring for a trail work day


1.  We strongly suggest you wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt for trail work.  This will help reduce your exposure to sun, scratchy plants, insects, etc.  Wear sturdy shoes; no open toed sandals please.


2.  You should bring a pair of leather work gloves.  Cotton gloves are too easily pierced by thorns and sharp branches.


3.  Hat, sunglasses, sun block, chapstick, insect repellant, bandana, snacks.


4.  Bring lots of water, especially during warmer weather.  Consider S-caps or other electrolyte replacement tablets for hot days.


5.  A few band-aids in case you get nicked. 


6.  If you are allergic to bees or other insect bites, please bring your prescribed antidote.


7.  If you are allergic to poison oak, bring some Technu soap in case you get exposed.


8.  Anything else that you would normally take with you for a 4-6 hour outing.