Project Leader: Tyler Kimble Project Dates: April 19 - September 12 Members Arrive June 2
Our seventh and final hitch was also our most diverse and differnent in terms of projects. Because the SCA and the Forest Service's agreement stated that 10% of our time this summer would be dedicated to developed recreation projects, we spent most of this final hitch doing just that. All the projects were concentrated around the Tollgate area, a high elevation, mountainous area that is especially well-suited to winter recreation; cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, etc. For the first few days, we installed and adjusted signs in "Sno-Park" parking lots. Some of the signs we moved and replanted were ones that were simply planted in the snow the season before and had fallen over when the snow melted in the spring. Then we went over to Horseshoe Prairie, series of cross-country ski trails built in a stacked loop system. In addition to installing and replanting signs directing the skiers where to go, we brushed the ski corridor, which was interesting since we had to shift the whole focus area 10 feet up because that's the level the snow pack reaches in the winter!
Mid-hitch, we had a fun project in which we assembled beautiful, brand-new picnic tables and placed them in the Target Meadows campground. Corrollary to this task was deconstructing the old picnic tables that were built in the 1960s. And in truth, breaking apart the old tables with crowbars and sledgehammers was possibly more fun than building the new ones! We placed the old lumber in the "boneyard" behind the Tollgate work center so that they could be recycled for use in later projects.
For the last part of the hitch, we worked in around the gorgeous Jubilee Lake, the crown jewel of the Walla Walla district, at least from our experience. After replanting a bulletin board here, we brushed the whole 2.6 miles of trail around the lake, which was actually in decent shape to begin with because of the high use the trail gets. Indeed, it was odd to have hikers pass and chat with us with such regularity. But we also enjoyed the mostly positive things they had to say about our work.
Well, that about wraps up the summer for Umatilla 3! Hitch 7 was a great way to go out, especially because we got to do new and interesting projects and got to use a bunch of tools that had previously sat unused in our trailer (or were borrowed): polesaw, chainsaw, post-hole digger, tamping bar, power drill, impact hammer, level, measuring tape, crowbar, and more. The final figures for the work accomplished this hitch are as follows:
New signposts installed: 9
Signposts straightened or moved: 17
Length of trail brushed: 2.6 miles
Length of tread restored: 150 feet
New picnic tables assembled: 5
Old picnic tables disassembled: 11
Bulletin boards put together and stained: 6