Pictures by Larry Gomes and Eric Johnson
Story by Larry Gomes
Our seventh trail work day was a beauty with blue skies, cool temps and a moderate breeze. We were very fortunate to have a a group of 5 volunteers show up for trail work this weekend so a lot got accomplished.
Since we had a large enough crew, we split into two groups. The first group consisting of Eric Johnson, Bob McCourt and Shaun Roy headed out to Boom House Road in Milan to start stuffing hay into holes along the reroute of Corridor 19 along the power line. This section of trail was moved to the west side of the power line last spring. It has not been excavated and so its had lots of dips and holes. The idea is to use the hay to fill in the holes to decrease the amount of snow that will be needed to smooth out the trail. Trail master Bryan MacDonald and groomer operator Bob Rodrigues had transported a load of hay up to the trail during the week, so the 3-man crew was able to get started as soon as they arrived.
Mark Peabody from the Mahoosuc Inn in Milan was kind enough to use his tractor and brush hog attachment to knock down the brush along this new section of trail so that also helped to create a bed of material that helped smooth out the trail. It will also make it easier for the groomer to pack the snow since we will not be getting brush caught in the drag.
Meanwhile the second crew consisting of Larry Gomes and Carl Bull stopped off for supplies at the lumber yard and then went to the Corridor 19 trail crossing in Milan Village and installed a new farm gate on the PT posts that were put in a few weeks ago. After finishing that work, Larry and Carl joined up with the rest of the crew and relocated some sign posts along the new section of trail.
The next project for the 5-man crew was installing a bridge just north of State Garage Road. This section of trail needs ditching and a stream that used to flow across the trail under an old bridge is now is flowing down the trail because the ditching has failed. The club salvaged an old bridge from another part of our the WMRR trail system, cut it half and transported it out to this stream crossing as a temporary solution to address the stream running down the trail. Its not perfect, but it should be a lot better than the water holes that are always present at this location during the winter.
Out final stop of the day was Dummer where the crew met up with excavator operator Matt Godbout. When the crew arrived, Matt was very close to completing work on the first half of the Corridor 19 reroute near the new electrical sub-station on Dummer Pond Road. We thought that all we had to do was install some posts for two gates and cut up an old bridge. But Matt had other ideas.
His biggest problem (beside the 2' deep mud) was moving several trees that he had to cut down during trail construction. Matt could have left them in the woods, but he thought that would be wasteful, so he chained them up and pulled them out to the nearest road crossing so they could be used for firewood for the WMRR clubhouse. The problem was, these 50' long trees were now in his way and they had to be moved.
After some discussion, the crew decided to load Larry's trailer, which is not designed for transporting heavy logs. Matt used his excavator to stick one end of the log over the trailer and then Larry cut the log to length. This was repeated until the 50' long log was cut down to 15'-17' lengths. The crew then filled up the back of Matt's dump truck, but there were still several logs left to move.
So Larry and Carl headed back to the WMRR clubhouse to dump off the wood off the trailer, while Eric and Bob stayed with Matt to get the rest of the wood cut and stacked near the road crossing so Matt could continue with his trail work. When Larry and Carl returned, a second load of wood was put onto Larry's trailer. (Amazingly the trailer survived without any visible damage or blown tires).
The crew finally finished up the day by installing two sets of gate posts. It was a great day with lots of tasks completed and we really appreciate all of the volunteers who made this happen.
Here are some pictures from Saturday:
Eric Johnson, Carl Bull and Bob
McCourt load hay bales into a trailer pulled by an ATV. This hay was used
fill holes along the trail. You can see the trail where the trailer is parked has been cut, but looking further up the
power line (to the left of the red diamond), the brush is still waist high. Later on in the day, this section of trail was
brush hogged by Mark Peabody, owner of the Mahoosuc Inn who is a landowner along this section of trail.
After spreading the hay,
the crew loads up ready to head out to the next work site.
Shaun Roy pulls one of the
salvaged bridge sections into place over a stream that is flowing down the trail
because of failed ditching.
Note the wooden bridge further down the trail that is now covering a dry stream bed. Eventually this section of trail
will be reworked, but for now this temporary bridge will have to do the job.
The right half of the bridge is in place and it has been nailed to a new center support beam. Shaun gets ready to winch the left half
into place using a chain and the winch on his ATV. Each half of the bridge weighs about 500 pounds.
The bridge is now put back
together and rocks were used under the beams to level it out. Even though
there is water still flowing
down the right side of the trail, it is dry on the left side of the trail so snowmobiles will be able to get through this area without
getting wet. From left to right is Bob, Eric, Carl and Shaun.
Larry cuts one of the 50' long logs so it will fit on his trailer while Matt holds it in place with his excavator.
This process was repeated many times until the trailer was loaded.
Bridge failure! Matt
needed to move the remaining logs off the trail and this old bridge was
unfortunate enough to be in the way.
It did not really matter, because the trail is being rerouted and this bridge is no longer needed. Eventually the bridge will be
cut up into pieces and carted away for recycling.
This is Corridor 19 looking
south from the access road to the new electrical sub-station at the foot of
Dummer Pond Road.
The old bridge that was shown in the previous picture was over the stream shown on the left, but it has now been removed.
Eventually a gate will be installed to keep 4-wheel drive trucks and ATV's from going down this trail. Even though the trail surface
looks solid, it is actually made up of very soft mud and just walking on it you sink in about 6 inches. Eventually the water will drain out
of the mud and this surface will harden up. But that process will take at least a year. In the meantime, all we can do is keep vehicles out
and wait for cold weather to freeze up the mud.