Pictures by and Story Larry
Our fourteenth trail work day was supposed to be cloudy until the late afternoon, but rain showers started in mid-morning and plagued the work crew throughout the day. The crew consisted of four veterans: Eric Johnson, John Higgins, Carl Bull and Larry Gomes plus equipment operator Matt Godbout.
Originally the crew was going to work on decking the Arena Bridge, but a call from Matt changed our plans. Matt had completed a critical section of excavator work on the power line and wanted to be sure we got a bridge and gates installed to protect his work.
After meeting at the clubhouse, the crew split into two groups. Eric and John went to the lumber yard to pick up the lumber for a 12' bridge while Larry and Carl loaded up several 4" x 6" posts to be used for gates. Both crews ended up out on the power line in Milan where they met up with excavator operator Matt Godbout.
After loading the bridge material onto an ATV trailer, the crews transported the half of the lumber out to the bridge site. While they were on their way back to pick up the second load of materials, the skies opened up getting everyone soaked. After about 15 minutes, the rain let up and the crews were able to finish transporting the wood to the bridge site and built the bridge.
With the new trail now a sea of mud, Matt wanted to get the gates installed to prevent any illegal wheeled vehicle traffic from rutting up the trail. So Eric and John went back to the lumber yard to pick up the gates while Larry, Carl and Matt installed the posts. The excavator made quick work of digging the holes and within an hour 4 posts were installed ready for the gates. Eric and John arrived with the gates and the crew quickly installed them.
It was now time to move to another gate location up near the top of Milan Hill. This year, the club will be grooming Boom House Road up to Closten Hill Road near four corners which is just north of Milan Hill State Park. For now this will be a dead end trail that will give access to riders coming from this area. Eventually the club hopes to extend this trail to Cedar Brook Road providing another route north.
The crew arrived on site with two objectives: 1) trimming back overhanging branches along the top quarter mile of this trail and 2) installing a gate to keep wheeled vehicle traffic from accessing this trail. They did a walk through of the narrow section of trail noting the locations that needed work. Matt found a choke point for the gate and headed back to the power line to pick up his excavator.
Meanwhile the crew got to work on trimming back the trail. About half-way through this job, the skies opened up again soaking the crew for a second time. But since the job was almost done and the cars were a quarter mile away, they just worked through the rain and finished the trimming. On the way back to the cars, the rain subsided, but by then everyone was completely wet.
Matt arrived with his excavator and Larry sent Eric and John home and left Carl to dry off in the car while he set the gate posts with Matt. By 4:30pm, everything was done and everyone headed home. Due to the rain, we were not able to take a lot of pictures, but the ones we were able to take are shown below:
Here is a picture of the
completed 12' bridge located just south of Boom House Road. During the
bridge building process,
the crew was caught in a heavy downpour that turned the trail into a sea of mud. To prevent damage to the trail, the
crew used the old trail on the other side of the power line to reach the bridge location.
This picture was taken
about a mile south of Boom House Road looking north towards the new bridge that
was built in the previous picture.
For the past 3 years, the club has been working on relocating this trail along this power line from the east side to the west side.
This is the last section of trail work that was needed to complete this move between Rt. 110B and Rt. 110A. With the
trail in its new location, there will be more snow due to the tree line and less water since this side of the power line is higher.
This picture was taken
from the newly built bridge looking south. As you can see, it will not
take much snow to
get this trail open.
This is one of the two
new gates installed on either side of Boom House Road. In addition to the
gate, a rock barrier was built
across the power line easement to keep wheeled vehicles off the new trail. The WMRR club is working with the Milan Trail Huggers to eventually
open Boom House Road as a multi-use snowmobile and ATV trail with the goal of having a new route north from Milan Village to
Cedar Brook Road. This would also provide ATV access to two local businesses (Ursula's and the Mahoosuc Inn).
There still are many issues to be worked out, but both clubs are working diligently towards this goal.
After their second
soaking of the day, the wet crew gets ready to pack up and head home. From
left to right are
Eric Johnson, Carl Bull and John Higgins.
Our volunteers went above and beyond this weekend, finishing off several tasks despite the lousy weather. Normally we do not schedule trail work days when rain is predicted and
in this case, the forecast ended up being way off on the timing of the rain. After the many years that this veteran crew has worked, they all said this ranked as one of the worst
work days they can remember. So THANK YOU for getting the job done and we hope our remaining trail work days will be sunny and clear.