On Saturday July 14th Camp Dodge hosted a trail work party called the ‘Friends of the Forest,’ lead by Ali and Rachel. A good group of volunteers arrived for the event, all in various states of uncertainly about the day: most of the participants had never done trail work prior to this day. However, we calmed everyone’s fears with a detailed description of the work ahead, proper tool use and safety, and even a ‘Friends of the Forest’ water bottle to mark the event; they became trail workers in no time.
We spent the day on Lost Pond trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, across from Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center. The trail, which is highly used, can be very wide and muddy at spots. The group spent the day constructing bog bridges along a 70 foot section of the trail using pre-milled lumber in order to concentrate hikers on a smaller section of the tread-way.
Before any work could be begun, all of the material –8 foot stringers, 4 foot logs and a load of tools –had to be carried out to the site a quarter of a mile away. After multiple trips of hauling supplies, the actual construction of the eight bridges flew by in no time (thanks mainly to the strong volition of the volunteers). We finished the project by 'brushing-in' around the bog bridges we made in order to allow for the regrowth of native vegetation and to prevent hikers from straying off-trail. The participants were amazed at how easy the trail work was to learn (even though I tried to convince them that if I can do it, anyone can) and what a dramatic effect a group could have on a section of trail in only one day.
Kelly, a front-country naturalist at Pinkham Notch, met us at Lost Pond for lunch where she taught us about the geology and ecology of the area including some obscure facts about beavers, edible plants (still inconclusive whether blue bead lilies are edible...) and lichens. After the day of work we returned to Camp Dodge to relax for a BBQ.
Based on the success of this day and volunteers’ feedback, we plan to offer more one day work parties in the future, so keep an eye on the website.
Thanks for your help!
(Coordinator for Volunteer Projects)
For more information about Friends of the Forest activities or the National Forest Foundation please visit www.becomeafriend.org