Hello! My name is Catherine Frondorf and I joined the Trails Team this month as the Bay Circuit Trails Volunteer Project Coordinator. I help develop and support the AMC’s Trails Volunteer Programs in eastern Massachusetts, primarily along the Bay Circuit Trail (BCT). Some of our volunteer opportunities are monthly BCT Saturday Work Parties that allow people to be a trail workers for a day. Volunteers put in some hard work, learn what it takes to maintain our beautiful trails, and get outside and have some fun!
This past Saturday, April 16th, was the start of our AMC Work Party season. We had a turnout of 12 volunteers who were eager to start the day at 9AM. Everyone came prepared in their boots, work pants, backpacks, water bottles and a smile on their faces. We were fortunate enough to start our day on a beautiful, crisp, clear morning with the sun shining bright and the smell of pine needles in the air. Our group was made up of people from many walks of life, from college students to a seasoned AMC member who has been with us since 1975! Now that’s dedication!
Before starting out, we went over a little AMC history (we’re the oldest and largest conservation organization in the nation) and of course, the standard safety protocol. Then we were off! We hiked in a little more than ½ a mile with our tools in hand: pick mattocks, shovels, grub hoes, buckets, canvas rock bags, bow saws, and two eighteen-pound rock bars. We walked as a group up to our project site and along the way traversed across some small streams, bog bridges, and quite a bit of mud – though, not as much as we were about to encounter!
On this particular day, we set out to clean mucky drainages, backfilling swamped check-steps, and building our very own water bar (that’s rock work in the trail world). We separated into two groups and Beth, the Volunteer Projects Supervisor, worked with her group on clearing out some seriously clogged drainages and my group worked on building a water bar. The going was tough and muddy. We were sweating by lunchtime, when we took a well-deserved break at the smooth and rocky Noon Hill overlook. We had breathtaking views of a vast green expanse as far as Moose Hill in the next town over. Once we were nourished and rehydrated we started back up on our projects with a new vigor and determination to get things done.
All in all, as a team we completed a hefty chunk of work in a short amount of time by backfilling swamped check steps and re-directing the flow of water off the trail with our newly cleaned drainages and a handsome water bar (not to shabby for a volunteer trail crew)! At the end of the day everyone was sufficiently muddy, tired, and happy and walked away with a sense of reward and a newfound appreciation for trail work.