I admire people who do trail maintenance. They slave away building water bars to divert the flow of water off the trail to prevent erosion. They remove blowdowns. They chop out roots and lovingly remove stones. No footpath is perfect, but thanks to trail maintainers — I am one myself sometimes — we all have more fun hiking. Trails do not maintain themselves.
The most popular and time-tested tool on the trail is the pulaski, such as the one pictured above. A worker can chop roots, build water bars and carefully manicure all aspects of a path. Also, one can use the blade part like a hand axe to chop away to one’s heart’s content. I have used pulaskis more than once, but I truly thank those who are out there more often than I to keep the trail in good hiking condition.