Finding Our Way – Hitch 1


Our team started our Conservation Season with a pretty challenging first project. The location: Middlesex Fells Reserve – a large reserve ten miles north of Boston. The project: install stone steps on a 100 foot portion of the Skyline trail. From the beginning, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to lay 100 feet of stones in 5 days. I spoke with our State contact about this and he agreed that the project was ambitious for the period of time. He left it up to our team as to how we wanted to improve the trail with the time we had.

This was pretty daunting for a first time crew-leader, but also a great opportunity for my team to shine in a number of ways. Just out of our trail training – we all had fresh ideas about how to tackle trail projects. Together, we came up with a plan for how to reduce erosion on this section of the trail and install steps to more gradually grade the trail. We installed 3 timber steps on the lower portion of the trail where the grade was shallower and 5 stone steps higher up the trail where the grade increased. We also created a timber water bar to send water off the trail before it reached the steep section.

While the work was hard and the goals weren’t clear, the ambiguity of the project allowed my crew to shine in terms of making decisions, discussing our options, and working together to implement solutions. Our contact came out the final day and said he was very impressed by the work, especially since it was our first hitch, and only wished that we had had more time to work in the area.