Saturday, April 14, 2018

Birchbank Mountain Gets Cleared

Volunteers cleared winter storm damage from three miles of trails at Birchbank Mountain. We have a great turnout, with lots of high school students in need of community service hours. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of the kids working because all the photographers were busy using a chainsaw. The kids went up and down the trails picking up sticks and branches and cutting overgrowth.

Jim and Luis work on an ash
We also had three people with gas powered chainsaws and one with a battery-powered saw. The saws were going non-stop for hours at the park. Hope no one was trying to get a nice peaceful walk in.

 A few Dutchman's Breeches are starting to form buds
We have the annual wildflower hike coming up, but the wildflowers are just starting to emerge from the earth. They normally are going strong around opening fishing day, but not this year. It's been a cold spring. The Dutchman's Breeches are up, but other like Trillium haven't even emerged from the ground yet.

Mark tackled a huge oak. Wow.
There were trees down all over. Maybe twenty or so across the trail. Our volunteers are not professional sawyers, and they don't lug the biggest saws down the trail, so a big log can be a real project.

On the Blue-White Connector ("before")
One blow-down mess on the Blue/White Connector trail actually fell a few years ago, although a big new tree was added to the pile over the winter. The original blowdown included some so-called "widow makers" and the Trails Committee members decided they weren't paid enough to die clearing that booby trap. Hikers have had to simply make their way around it. Last year the booby trap collapsed and became safer to cut. It was still a challenge with some smaller trees and logs under tension, meaning they could spring when cut. But the guys got it done.

Terry and Bob got this one cleared. 
Teresa stuck a tiny battery-powered chainsaw in her backpack and wandered south along the rugged Paugussett Trail to the Indian Well border. Fortunately there was nothing needing the gas-powered saws because that's the most difficult section of trail in all of Shelton.  The battery-powered saw is a new addition to the trail clearing arsenal, and it's been working great for small diameter or rotting logs. It takes a lot longer to cut a log, but the saw much easier to carry down the trail.

Battery-powered saw cut through this log (slowly)
To reach the Indian Well border from Birchbank, you have to scramble over some large boulders using your hands, so the ability to put the chainsaw in a pack is important.

The tools about to get thrown in a pack to scramble over "The Boulders"
The weirdest find of the day may have been the site of a carnivore's meal at the top of a root ball next to a blowdown that was cut. It was up high and covered with feathers and some other stuff that used to be inside the bird.

Someone had dinner here.
But mostly the day was cutting logs like the one below. Over and over. That was a tough winter!

There was of a lot of this kind of thing

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