Pictures and Story by Larry Gomes
It was a small crew with a big mission: cut back the brush along a 1.4 mile-long loop at the top of Mt. Forist. The crew of three gave it everything they had, but they were only able to cut back about 1,000 feet of trail. The good news is the section they cut back was one of the worst sections on the trail with some of the steepest terrain.
The crew was made up of long time volunteer Eric Johnson, club member Carl Bull and Assistant Trail Master Larry Gomes. The sky was overcast for most of the day which worked in the crew's favor by providing some cooler temperatures for the work.
Eventually the entire 7,400 foot trail around the top of Mt. Forist must be cut back and excavator work needs to be done. The club has known about this for years, but other projects have continually bumped Mt. Forist to the bottom of the list.
With the loss of the clubs 1984 Pisten Bully last winter, this trail could not be groomed with the clubs newer equipment unless it was cut back. The old Pisten Bully had a robust brush guard that allowed it to push through heavy brush without causing damage to the machine. The newer groomers are wider and have lighter duty brush guards, so getting this trail cut back suddenly became a priority.
There is still another 500 feet of heavy brush clearing needed. But if this gets done along with some further cutting in a few other tight spots, then the trail should be passable by the clubs newer grooming equipment this winter.
Eventually the entire trail needs to be cut back so that excavator work can be done. There are rocks, stumps and washouts in many areas that all need to be addressed. But until the trail is widened, the excavator cannot fit down it to do the work.
At this point, the excavator work will definitely not be done this year so the goal is to get the trail wide enough to be passable for the winter and then do some more cutting on the trail next year.
Here are some pictures from Saturday:
Carl drags some fir trees to
the south side of the trail after they were removed from the north side
to make more room for the groomers to pass by.
Eric takes down a small tree along the north side of the trail.
Carl and Eric take a lunch
break at the top of the steep section of trail between the Gorham overlook and
the Berlin overlook. Brush from the sides of the trail was cut so it would fall into the middle
of the trail where it could be cut into smaller pieces before being dragged into the woods.
View from the top of Mt. Forist towards Gorham with fall colors at their peak.
Topographic map showing the location of the trail work completed on Saturday. The rest of the red loop
eventually needs to be cut back to make room for excavator work.
Many thanks go out to Eric, Carl and Larry for their work on this trail. We still have more work to do so please consider volunteering just one day of your time to help. Send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our trail work notification list.