A healthier and happier Gentian Pond Shelter: Rehabilitation finished

Buildings like to breathe. They like air flow, air circulation, and no significant contact with organic material. When buildings don’t breathe, they rot. This is what happened to Gentian Pond Shelter, a native log shelter built in 1974; over time, lack of air flow allowed organic material to build up underneath and behind the shelter, rotting the sill logs and the first course of logs.

Last summer, AMC Trails replaced the sill and first course of logs and the floor system (read more about that log repair and replacement here). It took three weeks and the combined effort of the caretaker department, the roving conservation crew, and the brains of us full time supervisors. What remained at the end of that project was building the foundation posts.

In July, AMC Caretakers and their supervisors replaced the cribbing that Gentian had been sitting on with four 8x8 foundation posts. The process went like this: crib on either side of the corners, remove corner cribs, shape ledge to fit post base, set post, and then level the shelter based off the first post we set at the desired height. Compared to the log shaping and scribing of the log replacement last year, it was a process that was a little more straightforward.

Good weather, good food, and plenty of hands made the project go smoothly, and was completed in four days. Field Coordinator Beau Etter Garrette (who also worked on Gentian last year) and Mahoosuc Rover Toby Carter were the leads on the project, with caretakers (giving up their days off) cycling in for a day or two days to assist with packing in materials or with working on the shelter itself. One brain that was vital to our success was first year caretaker Dan, a math major at Tufts who expertly calculated the angle geometry for the cross-bracing on the front posts).

The shelter now sits comfortably a few inches higher than before, which will make it easier to keep the area underneath free of dirt, and prevent rot. Gentian Pond Shelter will live happily and healthily for decades to come.