Work on High Elevation Parking Lot Begins

June 17, 2013

Pictures and Story by Larry Gomes
 

It was a picture perfect day to begin work on the high-elevation parking lot off Cates Hill Road with clear skies, a nice breeze and comfortable 70 degree temperatures.  A crew of three showed up for our fifth trail work day and met with Paul Blais (who was hired to move the fence) to figure out where it should be moved to.

The crew measured and flagged a couple of different locations before settling on the final fence location.  The goal was to create enough room for a parking lot but avoid getting too close to the adjacent wetlands.

Assistant Trail Master Larry Gomes did most of the chain saw work with Trail Master Bryan MacDonald throwing brush to clear the work area.  When they were done, Matt Godbout came in with his excavator clearing stumps and leveling off the ground.  In a few hours, the bulk of the parking lot was roughed out and ready for some fill to bring it up to the level of the roadway. 

Once the fill has been leveled, new fence posts will be dug at the head of the parking lot and the fence will be moved.  After the fence has been moved, the old poles will be dug out of the ground and used for gate posts elsewhere in the trail system.

In the afternoon, the crew switched to the next phase of the project which is relocating the snowmobile trail.  The trail will pass along the new fence line and cross the road about 100 yards further up the hill than its current location.  In the winter, the groomer will run along the fence line leveling the snow so snowmobilers, cross country skiers and snow shoe enthusiasts will have direct access to the trail from the parking lot without going out into the street.  The same will be true in the summer with the trail from the parking area leading directly to the snowmobile trail that will serve as an alternate hiking trail to Mt. Jasper.

During the day, a few people stopped by to see how the project was progressing.  They had read about it in the paper and were interested to see the new parking lot taking shape.

 

Fence expert Paul Blais cuts the larger growth along the fence with clippers.  He later used a weed whacker to clear all of
growth from both sides of the fence.  He said this makes it much easier to take the fence off and move it without it being tangled with brush.

 

Matt Godbout moved his excavator into position ready for the start of the project.  Note how much growth there is on the fence.

 

The first part of the project is complete.  Trees have been removed, ground has been leveled and the growth that was on the fence has been cleared.
Once the ground level has been brought up a couple of feet, the fence will be relocated to the tree line and gravel will be
brought in creating a parking lot for up to 15 cars.

 

In addition to throwing brush, Bryan kept the chain saw blades sharp and the gas and oil filled on 3 chain saws. 
When Larry ran out of fuel, he just swapped saws and kept cutting.

 

The new trail starts to take shape.  Larry cut the smaller trees down, limbed them and then they were dragged out to the road by hand and eventually
loaded on Bryan's trailer to be used for firewood for the Warming Hut.  The larger trees were pulled out using a chain by the excavator and eventually
loaded into Matt's dump truck and transported to the WMRR clubhouse where they will be used for firewood to heat the club garage.
 

Most of the cutting is now complete and the stumps have been pulled.  Matt is digging a large hole in the middle of the trail to bury the stumps.
 

The new trail is now complete.  Matt saved several rocks (on the right) in case there are areas that need to be blocked off later on.

Our thanks go out to the volunteers who came out this past weekend to help with this project.  Once the new parking area has been built, we will be looking for some help to move the fence to its new location.  We will also be installing sign posts along this section of trail.  Stay tuned to the WMRR website for the next trail work day.


 

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