Pictures and Story by Larry Gomes
By all accounts, our sixth trail work day was supposed to be a washout. But instead it turned out to be a cloudy, cool day with just a few showers and the heavy rain held off until Saturday night.
This weekend we had 3 people in our work crew; Matt, Eric and Larry. Our excavator operator Matt Godbout decided to get started on our trail work on Saturday morning and we had to change our original work plan to support his efforts. This is a really late start for excavator work. Normally we get started with trail excavation work in June. But due to a late budget compromise on the transportation bill by Congress, our RTP grant application could not submitted until June of this year (instead of January) and that pushed back the entire schedule for trail work. So no matter what, we need to make sure Matt had everything he needed to keep his excavator moving.
There are three major projects being done on Corridor 19 this fall. The first project involved moving about 2 miles of trail from the east side of the power line to the west side between Rt. 110B and State Garage Road. We worked on this project last spring and completed this trail relocation without needing any excavator work by stuffing hay into holes and around rocks that could cause problems for our drag. Eventually this section of trail will see an excavator and a bulldozer, but for now the additional snow along the western side of the power line (along the tree line) will be enough to smooth over the rough sections.
The second project was scheduled for Corridor 19 near Milan Village, where a landowner had asked us to move the trail off of his field so he could plant the section where the trail crosses over. Every year the State of NH has installed a temporary fence across this field to keep snowmobiles from riding on it. Moving the trail to the very edge of this field will allow us to install a permanent fence saving this work every year and providing a more sturdy fence. We also agreed to install a gate and rock barrier along the road to keep 4-wheel drive vehicles and illegal ATV's from riding on this section of trail.
The third project involves the relocation of a section of Corridor 19 to higher ground along the base of Bickford Hill. The current route that the trail follows is very wet and realistically could not be worked on due to the proximity of adjacent wetlands. The new route follows an old logging road up into a logging yard, then follows an old skidder trail which meets back up with Corridor 19 near electrical sub-station on Dummer Pond Road. From there the trail will follow the new wind tower power line until it intersects with PT117 avoiding another wetland area. Eventually we hope to continue following the wind tower power line north of PT117 to avoid two more wetland areas, but that will depend on the availability of more funding.
So we had two main tasks to get done to keep Matt moving. We needed to get him a gate to install and we needed to deliver a bunch of culverts. Our first stop was the lumber yard to pick up a farm gate and some PT posts. Matt was not ready to install the gate yet, so we dropped the gate off and then went on to our next project: moving culverts.
The Millsfied ATV Club had ordered extra culverts for us as part of their summer order and they were sitting at their clubhouse in Millsfield. After a beautiful drive along Millsfield Pond Road admiring some spectacular foliage, we arrived at their clubhouse and loaded the culverts. These were 28' long culverts on a 16' long trailer - not quite legal, but luckily we did not run into any law enforcement along the way.
After arriving at our destination, we were able to back the trailer up the trail really close to the where the culverts had to be installed. Then we were able to drag the culverts using a rope up the hill so they could be picked up by the excavator. After finishing with the culverts, we were able to get back to Matt and install the posts for the farm gate.
Our last task of the day was to install posts for another gate on PT108 (the snowmobile trail to Berlin). We borrowed a tractor with an auger from Jericho Motorsports and were able to get those posts installed in less than an hour. Here are some pictures from Saturday:
The scenery was beautiful as we
towed our load of culverts along Millsfield Pond Road.
We owe a big "Thank You" to the Millsfield ATV club for purchasing these culverts for us as part of
their summer order and saving us money in the process. The only problem is where are the stop lights on the truck and trailer?
Eric Johnson decided he was
going to drag one of these culverts up the hill himself. He made it, but
he was out of breath!
It's much easier with two people.
The culverts are stacked and
ready for installation. This is an old logging road and the landowner did
not have a problem with
the club using it for a trail as long as it was passable by logging trucks in the future. The obvious solution was to install culverts into
the deep water bars along the old road.
Topo map showing the location of the Corridor 19 reroute and green dots where the culverts are to be installed on the old logging road.
More beautiful foliage along
the Pontook reservoir.
Looking north, this section of
Corridor 19 has been relocated away from the farmers field. Note the
orange fence to the left and the green field behind it.
Next year, the farmer will be able to plant right up to the edge of this new trail allowing him to extend his field by a few hundred feet.
The trail will then continue up the left side of the power line. There is much more snow on the left side because when the wind blows from the northwest,
the snow drops along that western tree line where it is protected from the wind. Where the trail is located now (center and right side of power line),
there is no wind protection and so most of the snow gets blown away.
One gate post has been
installed and Matt is digging a hold for the second gate post. This gate
has been set back from the road to allow enough room
for hunters or hikers to park in front of the gate. After the gate post was installed Matt put a series of rocks across the power line to keep
trucks and ATV's off the trail.