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There is a great deal of satisfaction and pride in knowing that you and your friends are responsible for a segment of trail.  All that's required is that you go on three outings a year to trim back limbs and brush, remove small branches and deadfall, and report major problems to the OT Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator.  Additionally, you can work with our volunteer coordinator to hold an outing or event if your trail segment needs treadwork, waterbars, foot bridges or rerouting.

What is the Adopt-A-Trail Program?

The Ozark Trail Association's Adopt-A-Trail Program is a volunteer program providing opportunities for hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and lovers of the outdoors to maintain a portion of the Ozark Trail.

Who can adopt a trail?

School and youth groups, scout troops, church, community and service organizations, businesses, families, individuals or groups of individuals can adopt a trail. Anyone with an interest in trails and the outdoors is welcome to help maintain this beautiful Missouri resource.

What can volunteers do?

Adopt-A-Trail volunteers assist the Ozark Trail Association in maintaining the Ozark Trail. Activities include keeping the surface free of sticks, rocks and other debris, pruning small limbs from the trail corridor, cleaning waterbars and drainage ditches, and in cutting back encroaching vegetation to maintain a trail corridor.

Other responsibilities include litter clean-up, maintaining the trailhead area, replacing missing trail signage and reporting vandalism and ATV damage.

Will I be trained?

Yes. However, the form of your training will depend upon your experience and the needs of the section you chose to adopt. It is suggested that you sign up for one of our weekly maintenance or trail-building events to learn more about how to maintain your trail. At that outing, an experienced trail-builder will work with you and insure that you acquire the skills you need.

What is not included in the duties of an Adopt-A-Trail volunteer?

The most notable task not associated with an AAT volunteer is the use of a chainsaw. Chainsaws may only be operated by a Forest Service certified sawyer. The AAT volunteer should only note locations where fallen trees (or damaged trees hanging over the trail) are located. Report this information to the AAT coordinator, and the site will be listed for a future visit by qualified sawyers.

You also may not reroute trail. Any changes of this kind must be approved in advance by the landowner.

What should I do next?

Much of the Ozark Trail has already been adopted. However, a list of the remaining adoptions can be viewed on our Trail Adoptions page. You can identify segments of trail which are available, either by working with the present volunteer/volunteers or working individually. Once you have decided upon a section of trail, fill out an Interest Form, and the OT Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator will contact you to formalize the Volunteer Agreement.

What tools are needed?

Generally, the only tools you will need are loppers (long-handled garden pruners will be sufficient), a bow saw, and a pair of good gloves. If specialized trail tools, weed eaters or hedge trimmers are needed, they can be obtained by contacting the Ozark Trail Association office. The Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator will work with you to insure that you have adequate tools.

How often should I conduct maintenance outings?

It is expected that you will conduct maintenance three times each year. It is very important that one of these outings be done in the late spring to clear the trail of encroaching vegetation. You will probably want to visit again in early fall to do light maintenance and then again in mid-winter for your more strenuous work.

I'm having trouble with the online Work Report Form

First contact the Adopt-A-Trail coordinator and they can give you some additional instruction or put you in contact with the webmaster. As a last resort you can download a Work Report Form and email or send them to us.

Need More Information?

If you would like more information, please contact our Adopt-A-Trail coordinator.

Safety First

Be careful out there! Don't do trail work alone, carry a first aid kit, and adhere to the OTA safety guidelines. Radios can be made available on certain sections of the trail - contact your land steward.

Work Reports

After completing maintenance, adopters should fill out an online AAT Work Report Form located on their My Account page.