At this writing we are preparing to launch a five person trail crew for a full summer of work on Walden Trail. The objective is to rectify major erosion problems, as mandated by WODC members at the 1997 Annual Meeting. In the Spring of 1998 the WODC was awarded a $9,800 grant from the National Recreational Trails Fund in support of this work. The grant is matched by a comparable value of volunteer time, tools, and financial support from the Club, bringing the total value of this project to just under $20,000.
Although the restoration work was expected to be spread over two summers, the ice storm of 1998 caused a change in plans. In addition to the major effort required to clear storm damage from trails, there was a shortage of qualified crew due to extensive cleanup operations throughout the State. When the heavy rains of June required a second wave of emergency trail work, it became clear that Walden restoration would have to be delayed till 1999. Since our NRTA grant expires in the Fall of 1999, it is also necessary that we complete the entire project this season.
After a long winter of preparations, a five person trail crew is about to start eleven weeks of work on Walden Trail. (See separate article on our SCA crew.) While day-to-day work on the trail will be under the direction of crew leader Eric Flood, the Trails Committee has prepared an exciting week of workshops and training to get the crew off to a strong start. These activities also offer an excellent opportunity for all WODC adopters and volunteers to learn some new skills. Programs will include trail safety, wilderness first aid, Leave No Trace practices, camping techniques, basic tool use, and an advanced hoist & rigging workshop.
All activities will be held at the summer crew residence -- last house on the left before the Ferncroft Kiosk -- and are open to all. We will also welcome the crew and kick off the week with a fabulous potluck supper at the Mersfelders' on Friday, June 11th. (See the complete Trail Calendar for details)
Since Walden Trail will be our primary focus this year, the Club will be dependent on its trail adopters for keeping trails open and well maintained. As always, please let us know if you need assistance. Trail work is always easier and more fun in a group, so don't hesitate to invite us.
That's not all for 1999. We've scheduled an overnight trip on the Kate Sleeper Trail, a fun day with Trailwrights, plus a special project and potluck supper for NH Trails Day. Please see the adjacent schedule for details.
Finally, visit the WODC web site at www.wodc.org for late-breaking news on all summer events. We also hope to post weekly dispatches and photos from the Walden crew, providing a personal perspective on their summer adventures, plus an opportunity for you to communicate with the crew. It's a great way for members to participate in the summer's activities, particularly if you can't join us on the trail.
We are off on a new venture! During recent years WODC has hired the Sandwich Range Conservation Association (SRCA) to do major trail work. SRCA was recently dissolved, so we faced the dilemma of finding a new crew. Fortunately, we learned of an organization entitled the Student Conservation Association (SCA, easily confused with SRCA) that operates a Resource Assistance Program offering opportunities for people 18 years and older to spend a summer working and learning with an environmental or resource management organization. SCA workers are true volunteers -- they receive only a $50 per week stipend for food, plus free housing and bus fare. The Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) uses SCA volunteers for one of its trail crews, and finds the experience valuable.
Our need is for a crew of at least five able and strong people to work for about eleven weeks during the coming summer -- the largest crew we have ever assembled. Through the energetic efforts of our Trails Committee, a crew has been hired, four are volunteers from SCA. The experience we've gained in the process of hiring will simplify preparations for future years, should the Club decide to undertake restoration projects on other trails.
The WODC is responsible for the cost of crew housing, plus $1600 per volunteer to cover other expenses as outlined above. In addition to being less expensive than hiring regular employees, this arrangement allows us to provide a valuable learning experience to college age people who are interested in exploring careers in outdoor and environmental fields, while upholding the WODC volunteer heritage.
The crew will be led by Eric Flood, who was recommended to us by the RMC. Eric has a BA in Recreation Management, and a strong interest in Leave No Trace camping and Wilderness. He worked for the RMC last year, and has done trailwork for the Androscoggin District of the WMNF. In the winter he teaches skiing at Sunday River in Bethel, Maine. Eric arrived in Wonalancet on May 1 in order to become familiar with the area and the trails. In addition he will help prepare the crew housing, generously made available by Doug McVicar and Frumie Selchen. This excellent location, "Green Shutters" on Ferncroft Road, will be an enticement for the crew members who will be coming from several sections of the country.
The SCA crew will arrive by June 10 with the first week spent in intensive training workshops. Actual work will run from Saturday June 19 through Wednesday August 25. The crew will spend each Saturday through Wednesday camped near the work on Walden Trail. This will allow them to do 4 1/2 to 5 days of work for each hike in to Walden. They will return to clean and sharpen their tools, and have three nights off in Wonalancet.
We've selected applicants who are experienced with lengthy hiking and camping trips, and are involved in activities that keep them physically fit. They have also expressed a strong interest in trail maintenance, backcountry patrol, and/or resource management. We reviewed nearly 40 resumes, all impressive and intriguing. Those selected are available during our 11 week program, and have strong backgrounds and experience related to our project. We will be welcoming the following crew members:
Zachary Hasse is from West Virginia. He is 19 years old, and has just completed his second year of college at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in biology and English. He has worked as an emergency room intern, as a carpenter, and with Habitat for Humanity. His outdoor activities include backpacking, climbing, biking, and canoeing. He has First Aid certification.
Olivia Lester is from Utah. She is 18 years old and will begin college at the University of Utah in the fall. She has worked for the city council Public Works Department in Brigham City, and her activities include basketball, track, photography, tutoring, Audubon Society, the Environmental Club, Symphony, Museum of Art, and other groups. She has made several lengthy canoe and backpacking trips, and has led youth groups and helped with first aid classes.
Daesha Ramachandran is from New Jersey. She is 18 years old and will take a year off before her college studies. Her activities include modern dance, acting, swimming, basketball, lacrosse, ropes course, camp counseling, and as prefect for freshman girls.
Jonathan Segev is from California. He is 19 years old and has finished his first year at the University of California, majoring in computer engineering. He has lived a number of years in Israel, and has worked for a catering company and restaurant. His activities include drama, backpacking, swimming, and working as a camp counselor.
We encourage all Club members to meet the crew and extend a hearty welcome. We feel certain that home cooked food and entertainment will be much appreciated by them. Their telephone number in Wonalancet is 323-7064, or you can visit them on Walden Trail Saturday through Tuesday of most weeks. Hike up Old Mast Road, then continue along Walden Trail until you find them. Your presence will be much appreciated. You are also invited to join us for the weekly Saturday pack-in to their camp site.
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