Sunday, February 11, 2024

Fixing Fences, Finally

A large group of trail volunteers got to work on Saturday morning to repair a large number of broken fences along the RecPath at Silent Waters.

The fences suffered a lot of damage during December storms and several section had collapsed or were ready to collapse.  The first task was getting all the replacement materials in place.  The second was digging out the old posts.  Here Jeff, Boodie, and Gary  are digging out the old base and trimming stumps so we didn't fall off the old dam.

Did I mention that the RecPath runs along the top of a historic dam that used to supply downtown Shelton with water?  So we were often working several feet above ground and didn't want to trip on some piece of brush sticking up and fall.

This is one of the "before" pictures from late December.  The string of storms was too much for the fence built in 2006.  The post had rotten, falling over and several sections of fence were compromised all at once.  We did wrap the fence with pink tape to let people know not to lean on it and take a selfie, and that seemed to work.

It took a while to purchase this much fencing, get it delivered (long saga), and schedule the work party.  Here are Zach & Brooklyn digging out the old post.  Luckily today was unseasonably warm for February and there was no frost to break through.  Even so - Removing the bases of the old posts too a lot of digging bar, post hole work and hand work; the posts were stubborn and didn't want to come out of their warm home in the ground. 

But, with some persistent digging we got them out, lined up the posts, inserted the rails, and got them back together.  Once a section of fence was removed and the post loosened it was easier to replace the rails.  Sometimes it was necessary to partially dig out a solid fence post and loosen it to replace a rotten bottom rail.  But that is where the Fine Adjustment Tool (our 15 lb. sledgehammer) came into play.  Many of the trail volunteers had never had the joy of replacing a split rail fence before; but now they can add this to their list of job skills.

Helpful Trail Tip:  Use the weight of the digging bar to work for you.  Raise and drop the bar to break up the soil and posts where you can, rather than driving it down.  You back will thank you the next day.

The Gator was helpful in getting all the parts out to the job and we ferried or carried all the rotten pieces out to the road for later pickup.  Mark had to make several trips to get more posts and fence rails.

Luis was helping hold the post straight while Zach and Zion tamp in the backfill around the new post.  The round end of the digging bar for pounding the loose soil to compact the soil firmly around the post.  Many, many times.

And that new fence is solidly in place.  Great job.  It's gratifying sometimes to see trail work where you go out and at the end it is a dramatic improvement like that.

The old fence posts and rails were hauled out to Constitution Blvd. N. for later pick-up.

Today was a good morning's work.  The RecPath was pretty busy during the work party and all the trail users liked the fence being repaired.  It was really helpful to have a lot of trail volunteers on this job to take turns digging, setting the new fencing, haul all the materials on and off the RecPath, etc.  Thanks to Bodie, John, Zach, Zion, Brooklyn, Val, Annie, Luis, Gary, Jeff, Mark, Bill, and Terry.  

And nobody fell off the dam. 

Val posted more, and better, pictures on the Facebook page.

No comments:

Post a Comment