Project Leader: Alice Webber Project Dates: May 22 - August 15, 2010 Eldorado National Forest 100 Forni Rd. Placerville, CA 95667 Phone: (208)631-7428 Email address: email@example.com
The Eldorado National Forest is located in the Central Sierra Nevadas, covering a total gross acreage of 786,994 acres. This beautiful forest ranges in elevation from 1,000 ft. to 10,000 ft, and is home to 297 lakes and resevoirs, 611 miles of rivers and a vast trail system of almost 350 miles running throughout. One of the most popular spots in the Eldorado National Forest is the Desolation Wilderness. Because of its beauty and accessibility, Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily-used wilderness areas in the United States, restricted to hikers and horses.
The SCA trail team will be focusing their efforts this season on trail maintenance and construction along the Pony Express Historical Trail, Caples Creek, and in the Desolations Wilderness alongside eager volunteers. When not swinging tools, the team will be based ine China Flats Recreation area on the American River.
The Eldorado National Forest turns 100 years old in 2010! Come celebrate the centennial's theme, "100 Years of Discovering Forest Treasure."
Location: Caples Creek Trail
Desolation Wilderness, Maud Lake; Via Rockbound Pass Trail, Wrights Lake Trailhead
Dates: 08/03/2010 - 08/11/2010
- Total Trail Maintained (ft): (Caples) 250
- Trail Rehabilitation/Reconstruction (ft): (Caples) 100
- Sites Rehabilitated: (Caples) 2
- Turnpike (ft) (Desolation) 85
- Drainage Structures: (Caples) 2
- Rocksteps: (Caples) 1
Hitch Chief: Nathan Gates
August 3rd: This is the start of the last hitch! Most of this hitch is going to be in Desolation Wilderness; however our agency contact wants us to work up Caples Creek for one more day before we go into the wilderness of Desolation. There is a spot where the rocks are starting to encroach on the trail corridor. On the hike out we discovered a spot where the trail seemed to split so we erased the social trail with rehabilitation and placing obstructions in the path. We then continued to the rocky spot and cleared the larger rocks to define the trail, installed two drainage structures and two check-steps.
August 4th: To Desolation today! Started the day making pancakes and then moved on to packing and dividing the group gear. After dropping off the two personal vehicles and the trailer at the Forest Service Workcenter we had lunch at Wrights Lake Trailhead with agency contact, Bill Walker. We then started the five mile hike up to Maud Lake. After the hike, Bill showed us the work site and we all slept very soundly.
August 5th: Today we got to move rocks. We started out the day gathering huge slabs of rock to use for the two rock culverts. In the two and a half hours of coordinated slab hunting we acquired a gargantuan pile of slabs. For the rest of the day we gathered crush and mineral soil. The crush involved finding a nice place to sit and filling your pack with small rocks while mineral soil required digging through lots of small rocks under a huge boulder. When the end finally came we had two large piles of crush and one of mineral soil.
August 6th: Today was one for the books. Our agency contact told us to explore more of the trail and go up to rockbound pass, which the trail is named for, and take the day easy. We got up as-per normal and hiked up to the pass. We took the whole day to explore up the ridge and play in one of the last snow banks. At the end of our day we hiked back to the lake.
August 7th: Back to work today, more preparation work for the Wilderness Volunteers. We gathered more crush and had two people under the rock digging out mineral soil. We also started to get the turnpikes ready by digging out the lines for the logs. We started to prepare some of lodge-pole pines by limbing two pines and debarking one of them.
August 8th: The Wilderness Volunteers arrived today. We started out the day with, of course, more preparation work for the volunteers. We started the day by stripping one of the fresher lodge-pole pines and collecting more material for the turnpikes. Around noon, Jon Glenn who was asked to come out and do some technical rigging showed up with the volunteers pack support. He helped us by setting up a high line to more the crush we were gathering even faster. We have two awe-inspiring piles of crush.
August 9th: With the volunteers here we could start some of the work that we were preparing for. We installed the two rock culverts and got the volunteers working the remaining lodge-pole pines. With the volunteers came some Forest Service Volunteers. There are four Forest Service Employees, including Wilderness Manager Jon Erickson, four volunteers, and one rigging man. There are a lot of people working out here and it’s nice to get to talk to other people for a change. We were able to get most of the lodge-poles in position to be placed and were able to place two sections.
August 10th: More work with the volunteers which is nice because we get to work at a much faster pace than before. We were able to get all the lodge-pole pines in the ground and used up all of our crush and most of our slab rocks. We ended the day by gathering more crush and mineral soil using the high line that Jon Glenn set up.
August 11th: Dear Journal this is the end. This was hike out day, after a quick meal of pancakes we stuffed our packs, said good bye to our volunteer friends and hiked out. We made sure our tools were cleaned and sharpened then made our way to a new home in South Lake Tahoe. Soon we’ll all be done with SCA and school will be the next stepping stone.
Caples Creek Trail; via Silver Fork Rd.
July 19, 2010 – July, 27, 2010
Total Trail Maintained (ft): 1100
Trail rehabilitation/reconstruction (ft): 20
Sites rehabilitated: 3
Stone retention (ft^2): 20
Rock steps constructed: 15
Drainage Structures: 2
Hitch Chiefs: Molly Krumholz, Winslow Dresser
Over the course of our 9-day “hitch,” the six of us covered 1100ft of the Caples Creek Trail, maintaining and rebuilding sections of existing trail. The section we worked on has a varied user group, consisting of hikers, mountain bikers, horses and even cattle. This variety of users (especially the cattle), has contributed to serious damage along the steeper sections of the trail. This was compounded by the difficulty of placing solid rock structures in the rocky soil along this section of the Caples Creek Trail.
When we arrived at the beginning of our hitch this section of trail was showing clear signs of cattle damage multiplied by erosion. We approached the bulk of the trail work in several different ways, focusing on improving drainage, widening the corridor and installing solid, sustainable structures. To enhance drainage, we worked to lower the extensive berm, installed two reverse drainage dips and set multiple check steps through the most affected areas. In order to ensure the longevity of our structures we constructed check steps with large, single rocks, and focused traffic onto the most durable surfaces possible. The trail corridor was thin and confining when we arrived, and so we also lopped and brushed along the entire length of our work area. To this end, we also removed several boulders from both sides of the trail with the use of rigging, widening both the visual and physical surfaces available for travel.
This hitch involved both new structures and the rehabilitation of sections of trail that have undergone maintenance one or more times. We replaced multiple check steps and other structures that had been damaged with the heavy use. When possible, we reused structural materials, but it was often necessary to bring in fill, crush and larger rocks from nearby. We brought in most of these materials for the largest single section of rebuilt trail, a set of check steps and a rock staircase through one of the most water-damaged areas.
We left this section of trail in much better shape than it was when we began, but the potential for more work along other sections of the trail certainly exists. Our hope is that the majority of our rock structures are solid enough to withstand heavy use for many years, but this will largely depend on the amount and type of use in the future. Before we left, we rehabbed the areas that we affected in the course of our work, leaving the area as minimally impacted as possible.
Location: Pony Express Trail; Fred’s Place Bridge, Clubhouse Bridge. RT. 50, near Kyburz, CA.
Dates: 07/05/2010 - 07/13/2010
- Total Trail Maintained (ft): 475
- Trail Rehabilitation/Reconstruction (ft): 80
- Sites Rehabilitated: 4
- Stone Retention (ft2): 80
- Bridges: 2
- Bridges (ft): 45
- Drainage Structures: 2
Hitch Chief: T.J. Agin
On our third hitch, we finished our projects along the Pony Express Trail. The 25 foot bridge at Fred’s place is completely finished after a day’s worth of dirt moving to complete both approaches, and rehabbing the utility road back to its original trail width. Now that the bridge has nice ramps leading up to it, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers alike can move smoothly onto the bridge and safely over the water. Next year, the Pony Express rider will not have to leave the trail to find a suitable place to cross. Additionally, vehicles can no longer approach the bridge, as we pulled a large log in front of the vehicle access route with the use of rigging. Moving that rather weighty wood afforded the crew a great chance to see a grip hoist set up to execute a straight pull.
While some of the crew finished rehabilitating the Fred’s Place worksite to make the site look as though we had never been working there, others headed to work on the second bridge. The other bridge is around 4800 feet from a parking lot, and it is from this parking lot that all materials must be brought up to the bridge. Using a power carrier in addition to human carriers [the crew], we moved all the decking planks, railings, and posts, including 13 foot long pieces of redwood. Over the next couple days, decking was secured onto the stringers (girders), posts were attached, and railings were set in place. After fill was added to the approaches of the bridge, giving nice access ramps, and the site was rehabbed and stripped of evidence of our presence, we experienced our first encounter with rain on the trail this season. The rain was a moderate to heavy sprinkle at best, but it was nice to experience some variety, that spice of life; and I’m sure the plants pounced at the chance to grab some passing precipitation from otherwise parched soil.
Bridges completed, our crew moved on to other structures that put the trail above the water: culverts! Culverts are truly exciting. When installing a culvert one may expect a fair amount of boulder bashing, root ripping, dirt dumping, and some wayward water whose wanderings must be considered. And, in the end, one may hope that a beautiful habitat has been created for invertebrates, amphibians, and any other local flora and fauna while trail users are kept on a dry trail. Our crew used 36 inch and 24 inch culverts at various points along the Pony Express Trail. Culvert installation involves digging holes to the appropriate size and slope, setting the culvert securely in place, and ensuring that water is flowing through and not around or under the culvert. A minimum of 8 inches of mineral soil was placed on top of the culvert and compacted to form nice tread and cushion to protect the culverts from indentation under great weights (particularly from horses). While completing the culverts we put in rock walls in order to retain dirt and ease erosion. Additionally, a brush saw and loppers were used to clear trail corridor.
Pony Express Trail; Fred’s Place Bridge, Clubhouse Bridge. Rt. 50, near Kyburz, CA
June 21, 2010 - June 29, 2010
Total trail maintained (ft): 15
Trail Rehabilitation/Reconstruction (ft): 40
Sites Rehabilitated: 2
Bridges (how many): 2
Bridges (ft): 45
Drainage Structures (how many): 2
Hitch Chief: Hannah Walker
During our second hitch, our crew completed much of the two bridges we had started, as well as finishing the second and third of our five culverts. The first day of our hitch started out on the Pony Express Trail with the Clubhouse Bridge. There, we started building the rebar frames for the footings where we would pour cement. We also dug out both holes for the frames and hiked in the tools we needed for the project, including hammers and nails. The 48 bags of cement needed were toted in by one of the team members.
On Tuesday, we finished both frames for the footings and the cages of rebar for the cement. We mixed and poured the 48 bags of cement, which took a majority of the day. After we let the concrete settle, we hiked in the tools we would need to complete the second of five culverts.
The most physically demanding day of our hitch was Wednesday, when we moved in the 20 foot girders for the Clubhouse Bridge. Each girder weighed about 350 pounds, and we hiked them in the mile to our site. We managed to do this by securing one end of the girder in the power toter, while the other end had a wheel attached to the front and handlebar screwed on the top so allow for manual direction along the trail. With this setup we were able to move and direct the massive beams.
The next day, we used a TU-28 grip hoist to move the 25 foot girders for Fred’s Place Bridge into place. We used a straight pull system with support from behind with rockbars. After the girders were set, we blocked the end caps with pre-cut redwood. We then moved to the bridge at Clubhouse and did the same.
Friday we spent the majority of the day at the Camino Work Center, where we cut, drilled, and treated the planks and rails for both bridges. After all the wood was cut, we brought the planks to Clubhouse and moved on to the culverts. There, we had to dig out the culvert and reposition it for optimal water drainage.
On Saturday, we spent the entire day working on our second culvert. Some members of our crew placed the rip rap uphill in the stream to slow the water flow, some set stones both uphill and down of the culvert to hold it and the trail around it in place, while others collected and made crush to heighten the trail around the culvert. After the crush was in place, we capped the culvert with a minimum of 8 inches of soil and rehabbed the surrounding area.
On Sunday, we started on the most difficult of our culverts. We spent a while deciding how to orient the culvert, after which we dug the hole and started on crush.
Monday we went back to Fred’s Place and put the decking on the bridge. After the decking was placed, we started to collect rock for the two rock walls that had to be built on either side of the bridge.
Tuesday, our last day, we built the first, smaller rock wall and ramp on the east side of the bridge. Some members of the crew started on the second rock wall while others drilled in the curbs and posts. After the curbs and posts were in place, the crew started work on the railing.
At the end of the hitch, we had made great progress on both bridges, and also started and finished two culverts.
Location: Pony Express Trail; Fred’s Place Bridge and Clubhouse Bridge. Rt. 50, near Kyburz, CA.
Dates: June 7, 2010 – June 15, 2010
- Total Trail Maintained (ft): 600
- Sites Rehabilitated: 1
- Bridges (how many): 2
- Bridges (ft): 45
- Drainage Structures (how many): 1
Hitch Chief: Alice Webber
The start of our 2010 field season in Eldorado National Forest began with the introduction of our agency contact and friend, Bill Walker, who oriented us to our new home, office, and the worksite we’d soon become well acquainted with; Fred’s Place Bridge. We dove right into the building of our first project wide-eyed and ready to learn, as this was the first construction site for most members of the team. The project began with the construction of plywood forms that would eventually hold and mold the concrete abutments of the 25 ft. bridge. The team learned multiple ways and techniques to square both sides of the bridge with the use of levels, measuring tape, and the advice of “measure, remeasure, and measure again, just for good measure.” For structural support, the team learned to build cages made of rebar that would be placed inside the forms so that the cement has something to bond to and would therefore be stronger.
With both forms of Fred’s Place Bridge built and supported, inside and out, squared and parallel, we were ready to pour the cement. 88 bags were hauled into the worksite, though 65 were mixed and poured in the West abutment, and 12 into the Eastside. It was a physically challenging activity, but a great and welcomed way to get dirty and see firsthand the foundation of the bridge secured.
In the days that followed, the team was introduced to the second bridge site, named Clubhouse Bridge, and had the opportunity to survey the site and form a plan to begin construction. Also along the Pony Express Trail, we identified, surveyed, and hauled materials to the five sites that we would eventually be installing two 36 inch and three 24 inch perforated pipes for culverts. A visit to the work center one late afternoon brought a chance to help Forest Service employee Barbara paint and prepare the Eldorado NF booth for the upcoming State Fair; it was a fun and new way spend the afternoon lending a hand!
Back on the trail for the weekend brought the teams’ beginning to culvert construction. While a couple members spent the day doing trail maintenance in a narrowed section with dense vegetation, the rest of the crew began with diverting the water and excavating out a hole for the pipe. Throughout the day, material was collected, including rocks for retaining walls and small rocks and mineral soil to raise the tread, and building of the culvert henceforth went smoothly. On the second day of work on our first culvert, the team was met with an early interruption in the form of a medical priority which required the full attention of the project leader and affected member. While the two aforementioned members were otherwise occupied, the remaining four members of the team worked together to build a structurally sound culvert with proper drainage. The return to the finished culvert the following day was met with a successful culvert; strong, solid retaining walls to hold the culvert and surrounding soil in place, slowed water through set uphill rip rap draining through the culvert with none going under or around the pipe, and a solid layer of crush and soil to protect the pipe under heavy weight (most likely horses).
The team returned to Fred’s Place Bridge at the start of the new week and return of Bill. The plywood forms were deconstructed and the massive concrete structures left to dry for the rest of the week. With that worksite at a good stopping point for the hitch, the crew returned to the familiar stretch of the Pony Express Trail to begin their second culvert. With the first hitch quickly coming to an end, the crew was able to excavate the particularly swampy and heavily vegetated site to begin installation and get it solid in the ground and passable for hikers who might come through until the team could return to finish in the weeks to come.
Born in California I was raised on a Subsistence farm amoungst the old growth Redwoods. I grew up Surfing, playing soccer and frisbee, building houses, manitianing the farm, and enjoying sunny days while reading about eco-friendly innovations. I'm currently attending College of the Redwoods working towards a degree in Architectural Design.
This is my first time working SCA and I'm jazzed to get a chance to spend my summer working in the outdoors and getting to explore some of the great places in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the fall I will be starting my senior year at the University of Maine where I'm majoring in Parks, Recreation & Tourism.
Hey! I'm from Burlington, VT and summer 2010 will be my first time working with the SCA and I can't wait to explore California. I grew up hiking the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks, but I now live in Portland, Oregon, so this will be a great chance for me to get to know more about the West Coast. During the year, I teach ESL and am delighted to immerse myself in my studies as a linguistics major at Reed College.
This is my third summer working/volunteering for SCA. I have done two high school crews, one in Virginia for two weeks, and one in Mammoth Lakes, CA for six weeks. I am from rural New Hampshire and just finished my freshman year at Keene State College, where I am studying political science and women studies. I am looking forward to working with my hands this summer and experiencing the beauty of the eastern Sierra Mountains firsthand.
Hey all, my name is Alice and I am the Project leader for the upcoming trail season in Eldorado NF. I hail from the richly diverse state of New Jersey. I spent my time growing up split between NJ and Maine, fortunate enough to have the opportunity to appreciate both city and outdoor living.
After graduating with a Printmaking Degree from Purchase College, NY in 2008, I headed West to participate as a member for SCA's Desert Restoration Corps, team Wildcorps. Since then, I've led a High School crew in New Jersey, been a member on a leader crew in Kentucky, and am most recently coming out of the field from a Leadership Development Crew on the PCT in Southern California.
When I'm not moving rocks on trails for SCA, I love to keep myself and my dog busy with outdoor sports, soccer, and getting lost. If you ever find me inside, I'm probably baking.