Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brush Clearing near Gore Pond

Tuesday June 12th

We had an excellent crew out on the Trail yesterday!  A combination of new and old volunteers and Ridgerunners from DCR (Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation) met at 9am yesterday at the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Cheshire.

The Team Assembles
It's a jungle out there
We were out to clear a section of trail where the brush had overwhelmed the footpath.  Back in December of 2009, we had a pretty nasty ice storm here in the Berkshires.  At elevations between 1800 and 2000 feet, many trees were damaged.  This also happens to be at an elevation were Beech trees predominate--particularly in northern and central parts of Berkshire County.  The ice snapped off the tops of the trees, giving the underbrush in the area a large increase in sunlight.  In these sections of the Trail we now have a veritable garden of blackberries and beech sprouts that need to be clipped back often.  Other areas such as Becket and Walling Mountain and Finerty Pond, face a similar challenge.  We'll be getting to those areas later in the summer.

After a mile and a half hike from Furnace Hill Road to the work site, we formed two teams, each with a brush cutter and two swampers to clear the cut branches and stems off of the footpath and to clip any higher branches.

All in all, we cleared about a mile of trail Now that the worst of it is cut back, the maintainer for this section will be able to keep up with the seasonal growth with just a few visits per season.

A cleared section

From the photo above, it looks like we may have been a bit over-aggressive in clearing such a wide swath.  The standard approach is to clear a 4ft wide by 8ft tall clear space centered on the footpath.  This keeps things pretty much clear, even when the vegetation is wet.  In the locations were we are working however, the stuff grows back very quickly--raspberries can grow a foot in a week.  Don't worry, there will still be plenty of fruit within easy reach of hikers come mid-July.

No comments:

Post a Comment