CT Trail Census Volunteer Resources

Thank you for volunteering for the CT Trail Census, part of the CT Trails Program. The program would not be possible without you. There are three steps to volunteering at a counter location.

  1. Check on the counter (IR Counter Monitoring)
  2. Conduct manual counts throughout the year
  3. Record your volunteer hours

Counter Monitoring

Infrared (IR) counters should be checked one or two times a month to ensure they are operating correctly and that the sensors are clear. Frequent checking of the IR Counters ensures uninterrupted and accurate data collection. 

IR Counter Monitoring HOW TO

This video reviews how to check and maintain the TRAFx Infared Counter.

Presented by: Aaron Budris, Senior Planner, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments

There are four steps to checking on the counter. And don't forget to include this time in your volunteer hour count, see below.

1. Ensure sensor is working correctly.

When operating normally, the RED LED indicator light should flash once every 5 seconds. The GREEN light should flash when an object passes the counter. Wave your hand in front of the sensor to make sure it is working. Do not touch the exposed metal contacts. 

See the printable Infrared (IR) Counter Monitoring Instructions pdf for more details.

2. Clear any debris from the sensor scope using a Q-tip.

Anything that obstructs the scope view will impact trail counts. Check for spider webs, leaves, or anything else that may have settled in the box.

3. Make sure devices are dry and the protective gray box is in tact.

4. Report any issues to cttrailcensus@gmail.com right away.

These instructions are summarized in the IR Counter Monitoring Instructions pdf for easy reference and printing.

Manual Counts

Manual counts are necessary in order to calibrate the sensor. The manual counts are compared to the sensor counts for the same hour in order to create a calibration factor that is applied across a longer time period. It is necessary because some uses are missed by the counter, for example, multiple people walking in a row, a child in a stroller, or an especially fast bike.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who conduct manual counts. We could not run the trail census without you.

Manual Counts HOW TO

Each counter site should complete at least 10 hours of manual counts during the course of the year. The hours should vary and include different seasons, different times of day, and both weekdays and weekends.

Training Materials and Resources:

Please contact cttrailcensus@gmail.com with any questions or issues.

Below is a 13 minute video explaining why we conduct manual counts and how to do it correctly.

Manual count video

Enter Your Volunteer Hours

This work is funded by multiple grants, many of which require match. Your volunteer hours help tremendously with the ability for us to seek and receive funding. Thank you for making the extra effort to record them for us.

Enter Your Volunteer Hours HOW TO

We use a website called Track It Forward to track volunteer time.  The Volunteer Tracking Instructions pdf has all of the details.

Trail Coordinators are responsible for tracking all volunteer hours on their trail related to the CT Trail Census project. These volunteer hours are required to be tracked as part of the CT
Recreational Trails program grant that is funding the project, and the hours are being counted toward the required in-kind match. We will be using a volunteer tracking website “Track It
Forward” to make the reporting as painless as possible using the web form seen at right.

Some general guidelines:

• You will need an account, see instructions.
• You can visit Track It Forward from any web-enabled device to log hours in a form like the one to the right.
• Round to the closest half hour and include travel time.
• We use a standard hourly rate for volunteer time. If you are collecting manual counts as part of your job, please share your work hourly rate with us for tracking.

hour log form

Thank you again.