Work Day: Upper Ballard Trail, July 12, 2020

Celebrating job completion (l-r): Jonathan Smolin, Kyle Koehler, David Hubbard, Jim Faughnan, Richard Adams, Calvin Adams, Doug Hardy, John McCormick, Cody Williams.

On July 12th, volunteers for Norwich Trails gathered at the Parcel 5 trailhead parking lot at 0800, to rebuild approximately one-half of a 55-foot long bog bridge in a perennially wet section of the upper Ballard Trail. On this rainy morning, we were all happy to see so many volunteers ready to carry materials to the work site, 3/4 mile up the trail:

  • Jim Faughnan (organizer)
  • Richard Adams and Calvin
  • Larry Babcock
  • Bob Fisken
  • Doug Hardy
  • Kyle Koehler
  • Curt Koehler
  • Conner Koehler
  • David Hubbard
  • John McCormick
  • Allison and Rob MacCormick
  • John and Jane Phipps with Simon
  • Gerry Plummer
  • Jonathan Smolin
  • Cody Williams

(Apologies for any omissions or misspellings.)

Jim Faughnan had pre-cut and pre-drilled about 80 pieces of lumber, which were stacked at the edge of Charles Brown Brook (site of the destroyed bridge, replacement not yet available). So our initial challenge was to move the wet wood plus all tools and hardware across the brook and up the trail to the work site!

The first arrivals at the work site immediately began to remove rotten deck pieces from the upper half of the old bridge. The underlying support timbers were found completely embedded in muck. After some digging out, the old sleepers were pried up and additional new sleepers added below. On-and-off rain showers made for very slippery conditions (and a few muddy bottoms).

As each section of the structure was stabilized at its new elevation, other crew members could begin to distribute and fasten the decking boards. Other crew members succeeded in moving a 250 pound boulder uphill, providing a safe transition from the newly raised upper end of the bridge.

Thanks especially to the many volunteers who showed up early to carry in material, the job was completed in only 2-1/2 hours! Before and after views below (from the south end, where decking boards were not replaced yet).

Norwich Trails will soon be scheduling another work day session, to repair the remaining deck and extend the bridge over the 10+ feet of slick mud beyond the upper end of the current bridge. Hope to see you then!

Story by Gerry Plummer; photos by Jim Faughnan and Gerry Plummer.

%d bloggers like this: