Why should I add a trail?
You love the trails you explore and you want to share your knowledge with others. Plus, by creating a trail profile, you get to add your own personal touches to the site. The person who creates the trail chooses the photo that displays with that trail (the avatar), has control over trail information that is not part of the wiki portion, and gets to be creative with the initial description of the trail. Think of Trails as an online version of a camp fire, where you get to suggest the best places to visit with those who share your passions.
How does the trail wiki work?
When you add a trail, you fill in a series of boxes and upload a picture to serve as that trail's avatar. The narrative part -- the Trail Description, Directions to the Trailhead, and the Notes on Difficulty Rating -- are added through a wiki. Later, others can edit it, add information, and in other ways make it even more helpful. This tool makes it easy for the site to stay up-to-date; if trail work alters the original trail, you can help out other visitors by changing the trail description.
What's the Dashboard?
Think of it as base camp. It's where you can get to all of your adventures -- edit your trails and profile settings, manage your trips and events postings, change your password, and more. It's also where you can see your friends, find new friends, and send messages and bulletins. It's an important place in your Trails experience -- but like base camp, you don't want to hang out there all day.
How do I edit trails and groups I've added to the community? How about a trip or event?
You can access everything you've created in your Dashboard. When you're logged in, click on My Dashboard in the green Trails banner. In the middle of your Dashboard, click on the Trails Activities tab, then click on the trail or group you want to edit. In the left navigation you'll see "edit group profile" or "edit trail profile." The narrative trail description for a trail is editable through a wiki, which you can get to as described above, or on the page for the trail itself. Be sure to save your changes!
On each trail page there are Trail Updates -- what are those?
The narrative trail description in the wiki is long-lived information that shouldn't be changed frequently. Trail Updates give "fans" of the trail the chance to provide current, timeline information like, "I was at the lake last weekend and the mosquitoes were terrible -- bring repellent!" Or "A small rockslide wiped out part of the trail, so be sure to check in at the park office before you plan a trip there."
How do I correct trail info that I cannot edit with the wiki -- like elevation, GPS coordinates, and cautionary notes?
If you created the trail, go to your Dashboard (the link is always in the green Trails banner when you're logged in), click on the Trails Activities tab in the middle, click on the trail, and then "edit trail profile" in the left navigation. If you *didn't* create the trail, find the name of the community member who did below the "Trail Details" box, click on the name, and send a message to the person. You may also leave a note in Trail Updates.
What kind of group can I start?
Any kind you like! Get creative. It can be based around a particular place (Friends of Smith River) or an interest (Michigan Stargazers) or a project (Rancho San Antonio Trail Volunteers). If you've just returned from a national Sierra Club outing or other trip, start a group so you can stay in touch, share photos, plan future get-togethers. Any member of the community can start a group.
How do I let people know about my group?
In your Dashboard, click on the Trails Activities tab, click on the group, and in the left navigation you'll see "send invitations." Invite your friends inside and outside the community to join. Promote it when it makes sense in comments on our On Track blog, in the forums section, in the Trail Updates section of particular trails. Find others in the community who seem to share your interest and tell them about your group on their profile wall. You can also write email@example.com and see if there's a way we can help.
Who can start a discussion in Forums?
Any member of the community. Just check the categories and find the best place to pose a question or start a conversation. You can browse discussions others have started and chime in, or you can use the search function (top right) to find topics you are interested in.
Why are there three types of Outings?
Click on the Outings tab in the green Trails header and on that page you'll see Sierra Club Outings, Community Events, and Community Trips. Events include slide shows, trail-work days, creek clean-ups, celebrations, and trainings -- that kind of thing. And community trips are just that -- adventures out on trails themselves. The caveat is that both trips and events must be free (or close to free) for participants. Sierra Club Trails is not a place to post commercial ventures, although an author may post an event about her free book reading, for instance. Sierra club Outings, however, are longer trips run through the Sierra Club and require a fee.
How can I find new friends?
One of the best things about Trails is the ability to meet other people who share your passions. But you probably don’t want to just “friend” everyone you see on the site. It makes more sense to start by “friending” people you’ve talked to in the forums, people who live near you, or people you share something in common with. Send a note with the request letting them know that you enjoyed talking to them or that you really like the pictures they posted in a gallery.
Can I be an On Track blogger?
All Trails members can set up their own blogs through their Dashboard (click on Blogs on the left side of the screen). If you would like to add to the main blog, On Track, its’s a good idea to start by keeping your own personal blog. Then feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know that you would like to add something to the On Track blog. Send us links to your current blog and let us know if you have a particular post that you would like to share or if you have a specialty that you’d like to write about on a regular basis (for example, if you are an archeologist and would like to blog about ancient ruins on public lands).
How can I contact other members?
You can talk to other members in several ways. The quickest way is to leave a comment on their blog or profiles. You can also talk to people in the forum. If you don’t want anyone else to see what you are writing, you can send a member a message, which is like an email. Click on their profile and on the left of the screen click Leave a Message. And if you would like to send a message to a whole group or all of your friends, you can send a bulletin. On the left side of your Dashboard, click Post Bulletin.