Corridor clearing 1500ft
Berm removal 200ft
New trail/ rebenching 700ft
Check Dam steps 8
Drainage dips installed 55
Dirt moved tons
Another great week on the Naked Ground trail in Joyce Kilmer Wilderness. We are really getting to know this trail personally! Our focus on this hitch was drainage, drainage, drainage. The Naked Ground trail is benched into a very steep hill that is often times on a 75% grade. The trail naturally wants to fall downhill, but we are determined to keep it in the bank! Wherever the trail is falling off the hill and the tread was just 6 inches, we benched it back into the hill to get at least a 24 inch area to give it a fighting chance. In many areas there are rotten trees literally holding the trail together. It seems counterintuitive to pull them out but that is exactly what we needed to do. We pulled out the trees and rebenched into the bank to insure a longer lasting trail. When the trail flattened out we knocked off the berm to make sure that water flows off the trail rather than down the tread.
The check steps we installed were on a hillside that was heavily eroded and had a tread width that was down to 6 inches. This project was a real improvement to the trail! We used our carpenter skills and our master gardening skills on this section. We moved tons of soil to make a more workable slope and supported the bank with beautiful vegetation. As the group would say “It was epic”!
The second half of the hitch was drainage on some very steep terrain. Imagine a trail that increases 1100 ft in the span of one mile. We found a lone locust tree that we are installing to back up the drainage dips in this area. This part of the trail starting at about 3200ft has very rich soil. It is almost impossible to find any good mineral soil but we were determined to get that water off the trail. We ended up the shift creating a 20 ft X 20ft reroute for a washout that appears to occur when we get a heavy rain. We literally redirected a stream so that it doesn’t come down the steep trail. We are nurturing nature to keep the trail as dry as we can, hopefully Mother Nature will agree with our plan!
There were two large old growth trees blocking the trail and hikers were creating trails to get around them. These are not the kind of trees that one can step over, and behind them tends to be a build up of organic soil. This creates a challenging tread repair. Removing the tree can cause the soil above to wash away so we utilized our natural recourses and use the tree wisely. The team worked hard to axe beautiful steps into the trees to allow hikers to pass thru the tree. On the other side of the tree we backed the trail up with drainage dips.
Our agency contact Dwayne came out for a visit on Tuesday. He was pleased with the work we have completed so far. This was encouraging for the whole group to have a professional trail builder tell us that he liked what he was seeing. We also had a hiker report that he had walked the Naked Ground
trail about a month ago and found this trip much more enjoyable. He was able to really see the differences since his last visit was so fresh in his memory.
The hitch was full of beautiful days. We had mostly dry weather and although the surrounding cities were in the 90’s we stayed much cooler because of the height we work at and the lush vegetation over head. Nature provides us with natural air conditioning!