WODC Trails Report: Spring 2001
On June 30, 1997, a four-person trail crew arrived at the "Four Way," where the Walden Trail begins its meandering route towards the summit of Mt. Passaconaway. Run by the Sandwich Range Conservation Association, the crew spent several weeks each year on a selected WODC trail. For the next three weeks they would work to restore the badly eroded treadway of Walden Trail, hoping to reach the summit of Wonalancet-Hedgehog, or even the deep col that lies beyond. Although substantial work was completed during the crew's stint on Walden Trail, it only scratched the surface of what lay ahead. Most of the time was devoted to rock steps in just the first 100 yards, with a smattering of work over the next half-mile.
Three years later we've realized the full magnitude of the task we began with such innocence. When completed this summer, three more WODC trail crews will have spent an additional 33 weeks on Walden Trail. If the work continues as planned, they will arrive at the summit of Passaconaway in mid-August, having completed over 500 rock steps, water bars, retainers, and other restoration measures. The completed project will encompass about 10,000 hours of trail work, planning, coordination, and support services, mostly by volunteers.
For the crew members and the Trails Committee, the experience has often been exhausting but ultimately rewarding in the knowledge that we've helped to preserve a special part of the Sandwich Range Wilderness.
The coming season
For the third summer, our trail crew consists of volunteers recruited through the Student Conservation Association (SCA – not to be confused with the previous SRCA trail crew) and led by Trails Committee member, Chris Conrod, who will again be employed by the Club for the 11-week season.
On June 7 the crew will arrive at the Mead Conservation Center (aka Mead Base), which the US Forest Service is again making available for our summer crew. On Friday, June 8, we invite all WODC members and other interested parties to welcome the crew at a special potluck supper hosted by John and Cathy Mersfelder.
The following week will consist of intensive orientation, training, and preparation for the work to come. After a weekend of rest, the crew will be off to its backcountry home for the first week of work.
Other activities (See 2001 Trail Calendar)
We'll start the regular WODC trail season on May 19th, with the first annual Spring Trail Clearing Day. In order to clear all major obstacles before the Memorial Day onslaught, we encourage all adopters and other interested volunteers to turn out for this important day. Although we'll be working on several trails, everyone should meet at the Ferncroft trailhead at 8:15. Following a fun day (with probably a fair amount of snow) we'll gather at John and Nancy Boettiger's for a great potluck BBQ supper.
The second trails day will be on July 21 (New Hampshire Trails Day) when we'll mount a similar effort to clear as many water bars as possible. Once again, all hands are needed to help clear the hundreds of water bars that help protect WODC trails. Meet at Ferncroft at 8:15. As usual, a great potluck meal will cap the day, this time hosted by Dick Daniels at his backyard pond. This will also be a great chance to catch up with the Walden crew, so everyone is encouraged to attend. And don't forget your swim suit!
Our annual Sleeper Trail weekend is scheduled for September 28–30. Brushing, general clearing, and a dozen rock steps are on the agenda, so we hope you'll join us for this fun event.
We'll wrap up the official season on October 13 with an "open" trail day, working on whatever project has the highest priority. A pizza supper will close out the day and the season. As usual, we'll meet at Ferncroft at 8:15.
The Trails Committee is very pleased to welcome several new trail adopters to our ranks. Garry Gerossie will be adopting the Bennett Street Trail, performing much of the work from the Waterville side of the range, where he hikes frequently. Garry has also offered to keep an eye on the Kate Sleeper Trail, giving us a mid-season condition report and alerting us to any special problems.
We also welcome Dave and CC White as co-adopters on the Walden Trail. Survivors of our 1998 ice storm clean-up crew, Dave and CC have continued to be devoted trail stewards, and we're pleased to welcome them as caretakers of the newly restored Walden Trail. After all, someone has to clean all those new water bars!
George Bates, an avid backcountry skier with a vacation home in Whiteface Intervale, joins us as co-adopter of the McCrillis Path. George will maintain the lower section of the trail from the USFS boundary to the trailhead parking lot, which also serves the Flat Mountain Pond Trail.
All current WODC adopters are listed in the accompanying table. Please contact the Trails Committee if there are any corrections or additions. It wouldn't be the first time we discovered that a trail had a secret co-adopter!
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