Another Rainy Saturday, But Crews "Get 'Er Done"

November 1, 2014

Pictures by Eric Johnson, Shaun Roy and Larry Gomes
Story Larry Gomes

Our seventeenth trail work day started out dry and cloudy but by lunch time, a persistent misty rain filled the air.  We had five volunteers that split up into two groups to work on multiple projects.

Group 1 consisted of Eric Johnson and Dave Lemeire who worked together to clean up the remaining bridge debris on PT109.  They started out using two ATV's and the club trailer to pick up debris that were used to bridge the water bars along 2 miles of trail.  At the same time, they installed bridge markers on all the rebuilt bridges.  Picking up the debris ended up to be a bigger job than they anticipated and it took them a few trips with the club ATV trailer to get all of the old timbers out to the log yard.  From there, they loaded up the Bryan MadDonald's utility trailer and made four trips to the recycle center before the end of the day.

Group 2 consisted of Leo Couture, Matt Godbout and Larry Gomes.   Their goal was to map out a route for a combined snowmobile and ATV trail from Cedar Brook Road to West Milan.  This is a joint project between the Milan Trail Huggers ATV club and the WMRR snowmobile club.  Eventually the plan for ATV's is to connect this trail to the Ride-the-Wilds system via a connection through Milan, Stark and Groveton.   For snowmobiles, the plan is to connect this trail up to Corridor 19 north of Head Pond to provide another way for traffic to travel between Berlin and Millsfield.  The trail will run right by Gord's Corner Store providing a convenient gas and food stop for riders.

The group met at Leo's house in West Milan and they  dropped Larry's truck and trailer off at Cedar Brook Road so they would only have to ride one way.  The group headed out on ATV's to determine the best route for the West Milan Village trail.  Leo had already spent several days examining all possible routes in the area.  He led the group on the route he thought was the best and it turned out to be the right choice.  The first part of the route followed an old logging road that was in excellent condition.  Eventually this road ended and the trail turned into a single-wide trail that was also in excellent condition. 

But eventually this single-wide trail went up a very steep hill and both clubs wanted to avoid this hill.  So Leo had hiked through the woods and found an alternate route that had a more gradual slope.  Since it had started to rain, the group decided to leave two ATV's at the bottom of the hill and take one ATV to the top of the hill to avoid hiking the hill twice. 

Matt and Larry jumped on the back of Leo's ATV and they were able to get within a few hundred feet of the top of the hill before jumping off and hiking the rest of the way to the top.  They left Leo's ATV at the top and started down through the woods following Leo's flags.  For the most part, the route Leo had chosen was perfect.  Matt recommended a couple of changes and the group took down some flags and made the necessary adjustments.  They arrived back at the ATV's at the bottom of the hill wet but happy that a good route had been found.

They rode back up to the top of the hill and Leo headed home while Matt and Larry continued using a GPS to record the rest of the trail.  By the time they arrived at Larry's truck, they were both soaked and cold.  The rain had been light, but steady and pushing through the wet brush in the woods had insured we would get wet.  The temperature was 36 degrees so that did not help either. 

After spending some time warming up in the truck, Matt and Larry headed over to the next project area on Dummer Pond Road.  This project being proposed by the WMRR club would move a 1-mile section of Corridor 19 north of PT117 out of a low-lying wet area onto the power line that runs next to Dummer Pond Road.  They left Matt's ATV at one end of the power line and then drove to the other end and hiked the 1-mile section of where the new trail is supposed to go.  The entire route was strewn with boulders, stumps and picker bushes making it a fight to get from one end to the other.  All the while the rain persisted, making the job that much more difficult. 

After warming up again in the truck, they headed out to their final destination which was Corridor 19 north of Rt. 110A.  Matt took his ATV out to survey the trail while Larry stayed back to keep the truck running so it would be warm when Matt got back (get it?).  Matt returned to a warm truck and it was time to head back to the clubhouse.

After loading up the club generator, Larry headed out to the truss bridge behind the Notre Dame Arena to install some cement filled columns that will keep wheeled vehicle traffic off the bridge. The bases for the posts were installed by Shaun Roy and Pete Peare earlier in the week.   It was still raining lightly but being able to periodically duck into the truck took the edge off that job.  

Here are some pictures from the group doing the cleanup on PT109:

These bridges were redecked earlier this fall and already look like they have been in place for years.  This shows what
the bridges look like before the bridge markers are installed.


Looking down the trail after the bridge markers are installed.


The first load of the day is ready to head out.


At the recycling center, Eric and Dave added this load to the already large pile.  Once a year the recycling center brings in
a large chipper which reduces this pile of debris into wood chips.


Dave sits next to the fourth and last load of the day.

Here are some pictures from the group working to identify the route for the new West Milan Village trail:

Topographic map for the proposed West Milan Village snowmobile and ATV trail that will run from Cedar Brook Road to West Milan Village.
This route was finalized on Saturday and will be presented to landowners for their final approval.  The spur trail to Rt. 110A will be used by ATV's
coming from the Cedar Pond area during the summer months.


Starting point for the West Milan Village trail on the northern end of the log yard near the trestle.  There is a small stream in the foreground that
will have to be bridged.  After that, the first half-mile of trail follows a grassy logging that is perfect for a trail.


This a section of the single wide trail that needs to be widened.


This is one of the old skidder trails that will be followed to create a gradually sloped trail up the mountain.

Here are some pictures from the group working on the relocation and rehab of Corridor 19:

This picture taken in 2012 shows where Corridor 19 will be relocated along the power line to get it out of a wet area. 
Note the boulders and stumps that must be removed along with a ditch line that must be dug on the up-hill side of the new trail.

This is the current condition of Corridor 19 north of Rt. 110A.  The wants to reditch the up hill side of this trail and install
new culverts to carry the water across the trail.

Here are some pictures of work done this week to the historic truss bridge behind the Notre Dame arena:

Pete Peare holds the first post welded in place by Shaun Roy to keep wheeled vehicle traffic off the bridge.  The posts are made from
cement-filled lolly columns that were cut in half and have a tab welded onto the bottom so they can be locked in place.


On the left angle iron is the first of the four bases that has been welded into place. On the right angle iron, you can see the slot that was
 cut to receive the locking tab on the bottom of the post.  Also note the square base that sits ready to be welded around above the slot.


Using the club welder allowed Larry to use a power drill and hole saw to cut holes in the decking so the posts could be inserted.
Once the posts were dropped into place, they were locked from below the bridge so they cannot be removed.


During last week, Dave Lemeire used his snowplow blade on the front of his ATV to smooth up the ramp leading up to the bridge.
The only work remaining to complete this bridge is to install railings.


In spite of the wet weather on Saturday, a lot got done and our thanks go out to the volunteers for their perseverance and hard work.  Please check our website for future trail work dates and try to make an effort to donate a day of your time to help us out with future projects.

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