Crew of 8 Finishes Widening Cates Hill Trail

June 1, 2013

Pictures by Patty Berry and Larry Gomes
Story by Larry Gomes

In spite of 90+ degree temperatures, a crew of eight volunteers showed up for our fourth trail work day.  As the crew unloaded, they sprayed each other down with bug spray and made sure they brought plenty of cold water to stay hydrated.

The goal for the day was to complete the cutting back of brush and trees to widen the Cates Hill trail so our excavator operator Matt can fit his equipment down the trail to do repair work.  This project was started in April with a total of 5,100 feet of trail needing to be cut back.  In the two prior work days, the crews had completed work on 3,900 feet of trail so only 1,200 feet remained.

The weeks group of volunteers consisted of Bob and Jen McCourt, Patty Berry, Eric Johnson, Richard and Forest Dagesse, Dalton Binette and Larry Gomes.  To get to the work site, the crew had to hike in over 2,000 feet of trail that had already been cut, lugging chain saws, extra gas, coolers, etc.  The crews were finally able to start cutting at 9:30am and 3 hours later they were done. 

Surprisingly it was not that hot in the work area since the trail was shaded in part by the mountain and overhanging trees.  There was also a nice breeze blowing.

The hardest part was walking back out since it was almost entire up hill and by then the sun was right overhead.  It was a long hot 1/2 mile walk back out with the younger crew members leading the way.  The older crew members stopped to take a few breaks along the way. 

Normally we use ATV's to travel in and out of trail work sites.  But this trail had some very wet sections that would have been damaged by ATV's so we had to hike in and out each time we worked on this trail.  Here are some pictures from the work day:


Several of the crew members load up gear in preparation for the hike to the trail work site.  Left to right is Bob McCourt, Eric Johnson
Jen McCourt and Patty Berry.  Yet to arrive are crew members Dalton Binette and the Dagesse brothers Richard and Forest.


The crew arrives at the work site.  Notice how shaded the area is due to the steep mountain to the left and the overhanging trees. 
Left to right is Dalton Binette, Forest Dagesse, Eric Johnson, Patty Berry and Bob McCourt with his wife Jen just behind him.


Some of the brush taken down was big enough for firewood.  In those cases, the wood was cut up into 3'-4' pieces and stacked
along the trail.  In the fall, the club will come back with an ATV and trailer and pick up the wood to heat the clubhouse next winter.


Jen and Bob McCourt look down the trail where cutting has just started.  Notice how narrow the trail is.


Brush is piled 3-feet deep as the chain saws do their thing.  The crew had brought 3 saws with them, but one would not stay running.
So Larry used one saw while Eric and Bob shared the other saw.  Dick MacDonald had professionally sharpened all of the chains
which made the cutting go really easy.

The trail widening work is finally complete.  This section of trail is at the lowest elevation and there was a muddy section on the right.  The crew relocated
the trail to the left which is higher ground that will remain dry regardless of conditions.

After three days of cutting, all of the trail widening on this trail has been completed.   The club has been working for over 4 years making improvements to these trails starting
 with the Berlin Trail in 2009 and 2010 and then reworking the Suicide Hill trail in 2011. 

Our thanks go out to the eight volunteers who came out this past weekend to help with this project.  The next step of the project will involve the building of a new parking lot at the old city landfill on Cates Hill Road.  We will need some help cutting trees in that area so stay tuned to the WMRR website for future info.


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