May 22-June 3
Member orientation in Carnation Washington.
Amidst near constant rain and even a minor earthquake, members spent this period learning the ins and outs of the Student Conservation Association and gaining the necessary trail skills to begin the season strong.
13 crews came together at this location, developing a strong sense of environmental community before departing to their respective project sites, ranging the West Coast from Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico to Olympic National Forest, Washington.
The Wallowa Whitman crew, after a brief stay over in the majestic Columbia River Gorge near Rufus, Oregon, arrived in Wallowa Lake on June 4 to gather sorts and make preparations before heading out for the first service project.
|Corridor Clearing||½ Mile|
|Tread Repair||600 Feet|
|Rock Water Bars||1|
|Rock Retaining Wall||½ Completed|
We began our work week enjoying the Memorial Day holiday. Once we began our work, however, we moved straight to the River Loop trail of Hidden Valley (arguably our most labor intensive trail of the hitch). Our restoration assignments included tread restoration, brushing the trail’s corridor and re-vegetation of the affected trail. As we acclimated to the heat and the new rigors of our work, we were fortunate enough to enlist the help of the Cold Springs Correctional Facility’s work crew. They helped us brush out the vegetation, lay new tread and were all-around good guys.
Our efforts on this particular trail continued for three days. Over which time, we moved from restoration zone to restoration zone and finished the trail off with a final brushing of the whole tread, from start to finish, giving the trail a pleasant, even surface. Upon completion of the River Loop trail we moved our sights to the Hidden Halley West Trail which required, mainly, brushing of the overgrown vegetation. To complete this brushing, we were given two gasoline powered brushers which certainly made our job much simpler. Within one morning, we were able to brush ¾ of a mile and began laying a new tread along the river.
Following our temporary completion of the Hidden Valley West Trail, we moved on to the Bogan Run Trail. We hiked up the mountain on the Eastern side and began to brush the overhanging branches. W e then progressed to our assessment of the first type III switch back. A Type III switch back requires a rock retaining wall and we began quarrying (gathering) for suitable rocks to comply. After a full day looking for rocks and cutting into the hill for the wall’s placement, we hiked back down the mountain and prepared for the rest of the work.
Our second, third and fourth days on Bogan Run revolved around the placement of a rock water bar, brushing the mountain laurels (which had given us quite a beating) and working on the rock retaining wall. The wall proved most difficult due to our lack of available, hefty rocks. Further quarrying was required and we are ready to continue and finish the wall at the beginning of our next hitch.
Our first solo field hitch at Lock 12 located just a few miles from the heart of Washington, DC off the Clara Barton Parkway. Lock 12 was convered in destructive and invasive vegetation causing damage to the masonry and metal workings. Vegetation included English Ivy, Tree of Heaven and various mosses. Vegetation was removed using loppers, pruning shears and chainsaws. All vegetation was treated with Garlon 3A.
After several weeks of NPS training in Exotic Plant ManageWment and Chainsaw, the Oldtown crew is finally in the field! We have started at Lock 74 towards the western end of the park. The locks are filled with vegetation, to the point where you can't even see in them. Our team has cleared 3 locks in the past week! We are working hard and love to be able to see the progress we've made at the end of each day. We have a ton of support through the C&O Canal National Historical Park Staff and feel really good about our work. Can't get much better than this!
Oldtown has proven to be a righteous little town in western MD. We've met just about everyone there, including some of the Cressap family relatives. Everyone is excited to see us living in such a historical house and bringing it back to life. It's so comforting to know that the locals like our presence!
Here are some pictures from over the past couple of weeks. Some are training, some are work, and some are just for fun :) Enjoy!
Program Name: Finger Lakes National Forest
Brushed and cleared Interloken trail (2 miles)
Brushed and cleared Backbone trail (1 mile)
Brushed and cleared South Slope trail (.5 miles)
Brushed and cleared George trail (.25 miles)
Brushed and cleared Finger Lakes trail (.5 miles)
Installed Drain Dips (2)
Prepped turnpike materials
Cut rebar (70 pcs.), landscape fabric (140 feet)
Carried turnpike materials to worksite (20 6X6’s .5 miles)
We spent our first day setting up base camp, meeting the USFS staff, and scouting worksites. Rebecca Wright, our agency contact pointed out some trouble spots where horse users were complaining they could not get through the trail. We spent the first few days brushing and clearing these trouble spots on the Interloken and Backbone trails. Scott used the chainsaw to clear a large (14 inch) tree that had fallen across the north end of the Interloken trail blocking access to horseback riders. Both the north end of the Interloken trail and the Backbone trail were completely overgrown with multi-flora rose. We were all pretty scratched up by the rose thorns by the end, but we managed to cut back the multi flora rose off the trail.
After taking care of the trouble areas we moved on to one of our top priorities, the southern end of the Interloken trail to the Burnt Hill trail. The trail runs through mature forest so brushing and clearing the corridor was fairly easy. There wasn’t much underbrush like on the Backbone and the north end of the Interloken, and thankfully no multi flora rose. On Saturday the 5th of June we started building two uphill-side ditches to help dry up so very muddy areas on the Interloken trail. We have not finished them because it rained for the rest of the hitch and the soil became too muddy to work with.
We spent the rest of the hitch brushing and clearing the Southslope trail, the Gorge trail, and prepping turnpiking materials for future projects. The crew spent about a day and a half on the Southslope and Gorge trails. Scott left one afternoon to pick up 6X6’s for turnpiking. On the 7th and 8th day of the hitch we carried 20 6X6’s up the Gorge trail and the Interloken trail to our turnpiking sites. We had to do the half-mile trek 10 times to get all the 6X6’s in. It was hard work. We had to climb some pretty steep hills and navigate some narrow trails to get them in. Everybody was exhausted. We couldn’t even stay awake long enough to watch the sun go down on those nights.