Cutting Started on Cates Hill Bypass Trail

October 12, 2013

Pictures by John Higgins and Larry Gomes
Story by Larry Gomes

Last week the call went out that a lot of help was needed to cut a new bypass trail on Cates Hill.  Our volunteers responded and a crew of 9 people showed up and set a WMRR record for the most chain saw gas used in one day.  The crew ran 3 chain saws most of the day and used 6 gallons of gas/oil mix!  They also used a gallon and a half of chain saw oil!  This was the most that had ever been used in one day by any trail work crew in recent memory.  Not only did the chain saws keep running, but the brush throwers kept up, in some cases stacking brush several feet high beside the trail.

The crew was made up of Eric Johnson. John Higgins, Bob McCourt, Mike Gentili, Richard and Hunter Dagesse, Patty Berry and a new volunteer named Pierre and Assistant Trail Master Larry Gomes.  The landowner showed up at the start of the day with a last minute change to the trail route, so Mike Gentili went off and flagged the new route with the landowner.

The rest of the volunteers were broken up into 3 groups with a chain saw operator and some fellow crew members to throw brush off the trail.  The first part of the trail work was done along the existing Cates Hill Trail where overhanging trees were cut back.  The existing trail then connected with the new bypass route which was marked by a series of flags in the woods. 

The first part of the bypass trail featured small, but very tall trees that were located close together.  Getting them to fall without getting hung up was a real challenge.  The forest then transitioned into small saplings and pine trees that were also very close together.  Even after these trees were cut, they had to be pulled down because they were being held up by other trees around them.  In spite of the best efforts of the crew, progress in this section was painfully slow. 

By the end of the day, the crew was just starting to transition into an area that was less dense and they decided to stop there and come in from the other end of the trail next week.

With the same size crew, we are hoping to be able to finish the cutting of the bypass trail with one more day of work.  Fortunately there are some existing logging roads along the second half of the route that need very little work and those sections should help to move the project along.

It was a fantastic effort by everyone involved and there were certainly some sore muscles to tend to on Sunday. 

Here are some pictures from Saturday:

Richard Dagesse and his brother Hunter work on clearing waist deep brush in the middle of the new bypass trail.


Larry Gomes and Mike Gentili take a short break before resuming their work.  Larry went through 7 tanks of gas
 in his chain saw on Saturday, the most he has ever run through his saw in one day.


Obviously this trail was established a long time ago since this sign that was found along the way is over 20 years old.


The brush is piled so high you can bare see the top of John Higgins ATV.


At the end of a long day, the crew heads out.

The total route to be cut is about 1.25 miles long.  The crew got a little over a half
mile done last Saturday leaving about 3/4 of a mile to go.  But only 1/10 mile of
the remaining route is heavily forested.  The rest of the route follows old logging
roads and the existing snowmobile trail which should help the crews to move along
more quickly.


Many thanks go out these dedicated volunteers for the work they did on this trail.  How about joining us next weekend?

Send your email address to to be added to our trail work notification list.


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