Saturday, March 24, 2012

Project #1--Hubbard Brook Boardwalk Repair

This boardwalk just south of the Shays' Rebellion monument in Sheffield has been having problems staying on it's feet.  This past winter, three sections tipped sideways, making it impossible to walk on.  Fortunately, our mild and relatively dry winter permitted hikers to bypass the broken sections.  We knew that once things started to melt in the spring this area would become a mudhole, so we scheduled an early project day in March to try and correct the problem.

It seems we timed it just right, we had a beautiful, sunny day.  The red-winged blackbirds had arrived from the south, frogs were singing, and we had 9 volunteers ready to go.

We toted about 200lbs of lumber and tools to the worksite, about 1/4 mile from the parking area.  Pete, Jim, Adam, Dave and Don worked on getting the fallen sections up off of the ground by setting jacks under the framing and slowly raising it up. 
Jacking it up

Setting a jack

Bob, Mary and Dave were cutting 6x6's into 2ft sections and constructing cribs of stacked timbers to slip under the sections of boardwalk once they were raised to the correct level.
Crib #1 under construction

Setting the crib under the framing
We had some concerns that the cribbing would just sink out of sight into the mud beneath the boardwalk, but by completely covering the bottom of the cribs with boards we were able to increase their footprint enough for them to remain stable--we hope.  By lunchtime, we had all the sections jacked up, and one crib set.  An hour after lunch we were done and once again, we have a passable trail through this swampy area.
Load Test

  We had enough time left in the day to head over to a field near Rt 7 and recover some bog bridges from an area being flooded by beavers.  Last year we had to relocate the Trail to avoid the flooding, but now it appears that the water will continue to rise as the beavers expand their territory.  We placed the recovered bog bridges in the lowest section of the relocation--dry for now, but likely to see some water as the season progresses.  More about beavers and the Trail in a future post.

Photos by Jim Pelletier and Cosmo Catalano

1 comment:

  1. Good think we did this project when we did. I checked on Sat April 7th and the water level was up quite noticably. Obviously the beavers are back at work downstream somewhere and we would have been a VERY wet miserable bunch working on this were we there now!