This post was written by Ilana Copel, Field Supervisor, and a version of it previously appeared in the Winter 2017 Long Trail News.
Although most of our caretakers and field staff packed out in mid-October, this week we say goodbye to the last of our field staff – the construction crew just finished working on Bolton Lodge!
A rainy and chilly summer didn’t stop the field staff from enjoying the woods and summits this year. It was a productive season on the trails!
Serving four summits, four ponds, and nine overnight sites on the Long Trail System, caretakers:
Spoke with thousands of hikers. They explained Leave No Trace principles, and described the fragility of alpine ecosystems and pond shorelines. They answered questions about the mountains, trails, shelters, and surrounding landscape. And they told hikers how to avoid trouble with wildlife, especially bears, and how to store food properly.
Maintained privies. This was a big job, with seventeen batch-bin composting, twelve moldering, and six pit privies attended weekly. Field assistants and many volunteers helped maintain the other thirty-nine privies on the Long Trail System and Vermont Appalachian Trail.
Working all over the state, and at all elevations, the construction crew:
Renovated historic Butler Lodge. With airlifted materials, they rebuilt the front porch and replaced the roof and rotted front log courses.
Restored historic Bolton Lodge. They stabilized crumbling lower stone walls, replaced the rotted floor, and added new sheathing. They also replaced failed roofing shingles with architectural shingles matching those installed when the lodge was built in 1928. In late fall the crew finished the interior, and built a wood shed and a composting privy. The lodge will open for public rental in December.
Converted Seth Warner’s pit privy to moldering. Usage is now too high at this site for a pit privy.
Dismantled temporary tent platforms at Taft Lodge. Platforms were built in 2016 to house Mount Mansfield field staff while Stone Hut was being restored after a fire. The crew used the platform lumber for new puncheon (bog bridges) on Mount Mansfield.
Installed a trailhead information kiosk at the Bald Mountain Trail. The project was part of substantially improved access to the trail. The crew also built a ladder at the base of the trail to control erosion.
Installed a bigger wood stove and supplied firewood at Bryant Camp. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation improved the road to the cabin, so supplying firewood is now easier.
Long Trail Patrol
One summer and one fall Long Trail Patrol:
Completed rockwork on the Long Trail between Tillotson Camp and Belvidere Mountain. This hardened the treadway and improved drainage.
Completed the new East Dorset Trail. The trail, which connects East Dorset village to the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail in Mad Tom Notch via the scenic Mad Tom Brook ravine, was destroyed in the 1970s by a flood. The crew constructed new tread and stabilized steep sections prone to erosion.
Continued work on the Burrows Trail and the Monroe Trail on Camel’s Hump. The crew returned to these heavily used trails to improve erosion control and reinforce stonework and waterbars.
Built steps and a ladder on severely eroded sections of the Frost Trail on Mount Mansfield. The crew used lumber airlifted to the site in 2016.
Continued to reroute the Long Trail in Smugglers’ Notch. In 2013 the patrol cut a rough relocation to return the trail to its original route past Barnes Camp Visitor Center. This fall Timber & Stone, LLC, built an accessible boardwalk through the Notch Brook wetlands to complete the new route, which will open next year.
Reclaimed and maintained Appalachian Trail open areas near Woodstock. The crew removed invasive species, released apple and cherry trees, and mowed meadows.
Volunteer Long Trail Patrol
Five volunteer crews, over five weeks, worked on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail this season to:
Relocate a stretch of the Branch Pond Trail. Volunteers from as near as Rutland and as far as China also replaced many feet of failed puncheon on the south end of the trail.
See you next year!