Twelve Volunteers Blast Through 1-Mile Trail Widening in 6 Hours

November 22, 2014

Pictures by Steve Brown and Eric Johnson
Story Larry Gomes
 

Our 20th trail work day of the season started out very cold with temps in the teens and an inch or two of snow on the ground.  A total of 12 volunteers showed up ready to tackle our final project of the season: widening a one-mile long section of the East Cates hill trail.  Last year we groomed this trail a few times, but trees were only inches away from our mirrors.  So the club decided it was not worth the risk of damage to our grooming equipment and grooming was suspended until the trail had been widened.  In the spring, the landowner walked the trail with club members and agreed to the widening as long as any burnable wood was given back to him for firewood.

Normally it takes 7 volunteers a full day to widen out 1/3rd mile of trail to 20' wide.  Using this formula, we should have needed 21 volunteers, but there were three factors in our favor:
1) We only needed to widen the trail to 15' since we were not planning to do any excavator work on the trail
2) Some sections of the trail were already at 15' wide and needed minimal work
3) We had a motivated and experienced crew determined to do the job in one day

The team of volunteers consisted of Eric Johnson, Dave Lemeire, Ron Laroche, Ray Borbeau, Tom Belanger, Roger Jones, Nate Falardeau, Joe Cote, Steve Brown and his son Conner, Larry Gomes and his brother Andy.

The crew split up into 3 groups and spread out along the trail.  Small brush was cut down and thrown back into the woods.  Larger trees were cut into 4' lengths and hauled out to be loaded onto a utility trailer.  At the end of the day, a full trailer load of wood was delivered to the landowner.  There is still some wood left to be delivered but we are hoping to get to that before the snow gets too deep.

By the end of the day, the crews reach the top of the old 12th Street ski area where the trail follows an old gravel road.  It was a great feeling to know the job was done!  The crews drove out with one last load of wood and all the tools, then delivered the wood to the landowner and went back to pick up the ATV's and trailers.  By the time they got back to the clubhouse, it was dark.

Here are some pictures from Saturday:

Eric Johnson uses the winch on his ATV to pull down a tree that got stuck in the canopy.

 

Larry Gomes cuts up a big birch tree while his brother Andy gets ready to move the cut sections to the side of the trail.

 

Dave Lemeire and Cameron Brown (background) worked as a team to bring the cut wood back to the parking lot.  They used two ATV's
hooked together to provide 8-wheel drive to haul the heavy ATV trailer out of the woods.  Andy Gomes and Steve Brown (foreground)
take a short lunch break.

 

Larry Gomes, Eric Johnson, Dave Lemeire and Andy Gomes get ready to move the equipment down the trail after their lunch break.

 

Conner Brown and his dad Steve gave up a day of hunting to come help with the trail widening project.
 

The green and red designations on the map show section of trail was widened during this work day.
 


Eric, Andy and Larry installed these runners on the truss bridge behind the Notre Dame Arena.  Eventually more runners will
be installed, but this is what the club could afford to purchase this year.  The entire truss bridge project was financed with
private donations, club funds and donated equipment since it was not a high enough priority project to get state funding.

 

It was an incredible year of improvements for the WMRR trail system.  We had a total of 20 work days with an average of 5 volunteers per work day so over 100 person days were spent on trail projects.  That is over 3 months of work which is an amazing accomplishment.  Our thanks go out to the volunteers who participated in these projects and now its time for you to get your sleds ready so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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