Having just dragged a metal culvert down the side of Glastenbury Mountain, Katie Rice and the team of volunteers alongside her were downright exuberant.
“We got stuck in the mud pits a couple of times,” she admitted, “but we got through it.”
Rice, a California native and recent college graduate, recently traveled to Vermont for the first time as a crew leader for the Student Conservation Association. Working under the guidance of local U.S. Forest Service employees, the SCA volunteers — many ages 16 to 19 — have traveled to the region from across the country to undertake a series of projects in the Green Mountain National Forest.
Beginning with Woodford’s Little Pond Trail, the SCA volunteers installed approximately 15 water bars — drainage structures used to prevent erosion — before laying stepping stones and other drainage mechanisms on an adjacent trail. The crew then moved on to the popular Bald Mountain Trail which, according to fellow SCA crew leader Bailey Hutchison, proved to be a little more complicated.
“We did a trail relocation to pull the path further away from the stream, about 74 feet away, to keep it safe for water quality,” Hutchinson explained. “It was a really good experience to do a trail relocation with respect to wilderness guidelines; to make it clear that the trail is there without degrading the surrounding area.”
By the time they had reached their third project in the Glastenbury Wilderness, however, Hutchison and Rice’s crew realized that the problem solving had just begun. Awaiting them, among a wealth of trash in need of removal, was an approximately 20-foot-long culvert located about a mile up the mountain.
“Our grand finale really brought the team together,” Rice said with a laugh.