The Dartmouth Outing Club is responsible for maintaining 50 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail, an endeavor run primarily by Cabin and Trail. Trailwork includes many different maintenance skills from clearing brush and blowdowns to construction projects like bridges, privies, and shelters. Trailwork is important for keeping trails passable and safe, as well as ensuring minimal environmental impact when connecting hikers to the great outdoors.
NOTE Usage of the wiki has changed. Now, instead of reporting work to be done on the various links, you report them on the current project list below. There, projects are not sorted by time requirement or date but instead by location. If the location you are reporting on is not there, add it! In other words, to report a place that trailwork needs to be done, find the location in the list and write up what needs to be done (as well as your contact information and the date). Please remember to be as specific as possible about where work needs to be done. Including information like where you got on the trail and an evaluation of what will be needed is very helpful. Thanks!
- 1 Appalachian Trail
- 2 Current project list
- 3 Projects From Phil Wagner
- 3.1 Moose Mt. Stepping Stones
- 3.2 Just-South-of-3-Mile-Road Mudopolis
- 3.3 Ore Hill Privy Repair
- 3.4 Atwell Hill Trail Mudapalooza
- 3.5 Velvet Rocks Mudfest
- 3.6 Mud and Bog Bridges in West Hartford
- 3.7 Moose Mt. Stairs and Waterbars
- 3.8 Signage
- 3.9 Woodstock Stage Rd to Pomfret Rd;
- 3.10 Around Trescott Boardwalk
- 4 More information
- 5 Old Links
The DOC's maintenance of the Appalachian Trail is performed by a wide variety of means. Cabin and Trail runs frequent trips to deal with major blowdowns or drainage problems. The DOC Summer Crew uses grans and endowment funding to put trail crews on the ground to deal with long term trail degradation and construction. Day to day monitoring of the trail and the public lands on which the AT runs is done by a couple terrific groups of community member volunteers, the Trail Adopters and Boundary Monitors.
If you have information regarding a problem with the trail, it should be posted here, or you can contact Cabin and Trail
Current project list
- Jeffers Brook Shelter
- Between Mt. Mist summit and Jeffers Brook Shelter exist several blow downs. You will need a chainsaw or many hours with an axe to clear this section. We also found that many bushes and small trees have started colonizing the trail so lopping would help too. Carsten, July 11, 2010
- Gorge Brook
- Microburt of spruce November 16th, 2010
- Ton of blowdowns Eric Benson May 16th 2010
- Al Merrill
- A few blowdowns Eric Benson May 16th 2010
- Carriage Rd.
- Beaver Brook
- Benton Trail
- Nat Thompson
- Harris Trail
- Frank and I were up the south trail to the summit today and there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Many trees down above the Harris Trail and it appears a good deal of trail erosion (maybe from the spring runoff). There is one large tree down just above the Harris trail and we cleaned what we could with a bow saw and pruning shears but this is going to need a chainsaw to finish up. About a quarter mile from the summit there is another large tree across the trail and 4 others that are broken some distance above the base and are resting precariously on neighboring trees. There must have been a hell of a combination of snow and ice to drop as much as we saw today. This cleanup is going to take someone who really knows how to use a chainsaw (much better than I). If this can be done on a weekend I would be happy to help. I will send a work report tomorrow but wanted you to have a "heads up"!! - Bob Ellis 05/15/2011
- We were working on the portion of the AT that is south of 3 mile Road (so instead of taking the trail North and up Moose Moutain, we went the other direction). About 1/4 mile into the trail, we removed 3 blowdowns. One of the blowdowns had the CnT trail blaze so that will need to be replaced on a currently upright tree. Additionally and more importantly, there is a widowmaker hanging over the trail at that exact spot that we cleared today. Somebody who is extrememley experienced with a chainsaw should take care of that right away because it is very tenuously hanging over the trail. Alternately, somebody who knows what they are doing could try winching it down. -Alix Lawrence, May 16 2010
- Needs chinking
- Some blowdowns near the summit that would require a chainsaw, for the next time folks go up there. They sounded kind of icky, so an experienced sawyer is recommended. - Lauren Lesser, May 17th 2010
- About .2 miles south of the summit, there is a very large spruce across the trail. It is about 20" dia, with numerous branches. Also, there are three large blowdowns between Hexacube shelter and Quinttown Road. All four of these blowdowns will require a saw. Jason Berard
- The 25A trailhead does not have a sign for the trail, distance to the summit, etc.
- There is a small bridge conssiting of rotten planks.old topped logs that need to be replaced, less than .5 miles up the trail. I'd estimate it's about 5 feet. A couple of sturdy planks/anchor peices could be hiked in to make a good replacement - Lauren Lesser
- Penta Privy
- Steps going up to it are broken and need replacing - June 20th
- Ranger Trail
- There were several blowdowns, both stepovers and duckunders along the trail, especially between the garage and the 2400 feet elevation. This will take a crew with a saw. There is one especially nasty section where the trail is covered with several blowdowns for about 40 feet. June 4, 2011 Jason Berard
- Way past due for side brushing and pruning and clearing of debris from the tread way, especially above the garage. Also, C&T sign near th summit that says "Smarts Tent Platform .1" with an arros is broken in half and needs to be replaced". July 26th, 2010
- Daniel Doan Trail
- Cabin / Tentsite
- No trash can, no bark mulch
- Scraps of metal roofing in the woods near the privy and the ranger cabin July 19th
Webster Slide Mountain
- Webster Slide
- Wachipauka Pond
- Ore Hill
- On the path to the privy there are two nasty blowdowns - ThruHiker reported June 20th
- Velvet Rocks Side Trail
- Noticed a few fairly recent blow-downs. There are a couple on the spur from the AT to the shelter, and then some more on the short-cut trail between E. Wheelock and the shelter. - Dan Nelson. April 20 2010 NOTE SOme cleared on June 4th, three more that require chainsaw
- Velvet Rock Shelter
- Needs bark mulch for people to use after their business
Projects From Phil Wagner
Moose Mt. Stepping Stones
On the north side of Moose Mt., just south of Goose Pond Rd., there is a muddy section of trail that needs stepping stones. This section of trail is both close to campus and close to the road, so this would make a great afternoon trip. The trail is muddiest for the first few hundred meters as you go southward into the woods from the trailhead on Goose Pond Road.
- Pick mattocks
- Rock bars
- Lopping shears (for cutting roots)
Mosquitoes are pretty bad here in late May and June; so, I would do this project in late July or August, or in the Fall.
Installed bog bridges on one section (10/11/09). Water bars and stone work (10/25/09)
Similar to package #3, but on a larger scaleâ€¦ If you hike about 5 or 6 minutes south from 3 Mile Road, you will find a lengthy stretch of muddy trail that needs some serious love in the form of stepping stones. (3 Mile Road is the road that the Harris Cabin parking area is along). Some of the existing stepping stones need to be rearranged, and many more need to be added.
- Pick mattocks
- Rock bars
- Lopping shears (for cutting roots)
- Mosquitoes are pretty bad here in late May and June; so, I would do this project in late July or August, or in the Fall.
- When you place stepping stones, they should be easy for hikers to useâ€¦ keep in mind that people with short legs wearing heavy packs need to be able to use them, and keep them close together. Better to do a really good job on a short stretch of trail than to do a lousy job that someone else will have to redo.
Ore Hill Privy Repair
About a mile north of Cape Moonshine Road, there is a lovely shelter called the Ore Hill Shelter. Just behind the Ore Hill shelter, there is a lovely privy called the Ore Hill Privy. This privy would be a lot more lovely if it had a door. (photo to the right taken Fall 2008). The doors fell off and need repair. As you can see, the original door-makers favored saloon-style doors, which seems like a good way to go given the wide opening. The wood the doors are made of isnâ€™t very much rotted, but it looks like it was too thin and so all of the screws pulled out of it. Therefore, Iâ€™d suggest some thicker and sturdier boards. Perhaps you could nail some new thicker boards, like 2x4s, to the outside edges of the existing doors, and then screw the hinges into those to prevent what happened last time. The opening in front is 4 ft., 6in. wide (from outside wall to outside wall) and is 4 ft. 0in. wide (from inside wall to inside wall). It is also 6ft. 6in. high from floor to ceiling, but thereâ€™s no need for the door to go from the floor all the way to the ceiling; as you can see, the other three walls only go partway up to the ceiling (theyâ€™re about 4ft. 6in. high) for a pleasant breezy feel. The hinges that are still on the privy use Philips-head screws, so make sure you have a screwdriver that can remove them. Clearly they were pretty crappy hinges, so best to buy some bigger and sturdier ones. A latch would also be nice. Finally, itâ€™s a big step up to the privy; there used to be a ramp but that collapsed too. If youâ€™re feeling ambitious you can build a ramp or put in a big rock or two as steps.
Boards (your call whether you build all new doors or fix the old ones) Cordless power drill, screwdriver bits to go with it, and spare batteries Wood screws and Nails Carpentersâ€™ saws Screwdriver Sturdy hinges Door latch of some sort Materials for ramp; or, materials to dig up stones and move them in front of the privy
Atwell Hill Trail Mudapalooza
Some stone work done by Lauren and Caitlin (10/3/09), some done by Kevin Miller Fall 09
The stretch of Appalachian Trail between Rt. 25A and Cape Moonshine (Atwell Hill) Rd. is called the Atwell Hill Trail, and it has some nasty muddy sections. Most are low-lying sections where the water has no place to go, and in these the best solution would just be to put in lots of stepping stones (stonework is always preferable to log construction since logs rot and rocks donâ€™t). Bog bridges or turnpiking might be suitable for some places, though.
â˜º Mosquitoes are terrible here in late May and June; so, I would do this project in late July or August, or in the Fall. â˜º The worst sections are closer to Cape Moonshine Road than they are to Rt. 25A. Therefore, itâ€™d be best to launch the attack from Cape Moonshine Road. Hiking south from there, Iâ€™d estimate less than a mile (20-30 minutes of hiking) until you get to the muddy stuff. There are sections of nasty mud separated by sections of fairly nice trail.
Pick mattocks Rock bars Shovels Lopping shears (for cutting roots)
Velvet Rocks Mudfest
For muddiness on a smaller scale that the Atwell Hill Trail, there are some short but ugly stretches of mud on the Velvet Rocks trail, just south of Trescott Road (Between Trescott Road and the boardwalk over the marsh). Stepping stones should take care of most of them. This is both close to the road and close to campus, so afternoon trips would be good for working here.
Pick mattocks Rock bars Shovels Lopping shears (for cutting roots)
Mud and Bog Bridges in West Hartford
Just south of the town of West Hartford, VT, there are some stretches of muddy trail that need stepping stones, and a stream crossing or two that might benefit from bog bridges. Fairly close to the road, and thereâ€™s good swimming in the White River in West Hartford afterwards.
Moose Mt. Stairs and Waterbars
For those interested in more technical trailwork, Moose Mt. has a lot of sections of trail that need love in the form of stonework. The stretch from South Peak to the North Peak has some nasty erosion and some muddy sections, and there is also erosion and mud on the north side of the North Peak. This is easily one of the worst sections on the DOCâ€™s stretch of trail and will take many days of trailwork to repair, but itâ€™s also close to campus and fairly convenient to get to so it makes an excellent target for weekend trips and a good place to teach things like stone stairs and waterbars. The work needed is mostly water bars and stone stairs, and also stepping stones in some muddy spots (particularly in low lying areas between the north and south peaks). Of course, the tools needed for all three are the same so you can play it by ear.
â˜º There is a side trail that goes from 3 Mile Road (a bit beyond the Harris Parking lot) to the saddle between the north and south peaks, just south of the Moose Mt. Shelter. Rory Gawler should be able to give you directions, I believe this route was used for the construction of the shelter. The turnoff from 3 Mile Road looks like a gravel driveway but it actually takes you to a gate where you can pick up a trail. The trail is muddy and not maintained, but much faster than taking the A.T. This would be a great way to access the trail between the peaks of Moose Mt. â˜º The beautiful shelter also makes this a great spot for an overnight trip; use the side trail to haul up all the tools on a Friday or Saturday evening, spend a night in revelry at the shelter, and then you can get an early start the following day. Just be careful about water supply, the water source at the shelter is not terribly reliable and you might have to send someone down the mountain to get water unless you arrive well-supplied. â˜º Thereâ€™s also the Harris Trail, that goes from Harris Cabin to the South Peak of the mountain. Ashley Morishige and Matt Dahlhausen and others have been up that trail, itâ€™s not too difficult to follow. There are some steep eroded sections on the A.T. just north of South Peak so this trail might be handy for accessing those; for an overnight, you could spend a night at Harris and then hike up and start trailwork on the A.T.
Pick mattocks Rock bars Shovels Lopping shears (for cutting roots) Rock hammer Maybe buckets for moving dirt Your A-game
"As I reported on an online hiking forum (link below), I'm sorry to say that one of your trail signs is missing. It's the one on Mt. Mist (Wachipauka Pond Trail) that pointed the way to a nice little viewpoint via a short spur path off the main trail. The link below shows a picture of the sign that had been there for many years.
Woodstock Stage Rd to Pomfret Rd;
Muddy Section off Totman Hill. Contact Marie Hanson <firstname.lastname@example.org> from the NPS to involve the local 6th grade class?
Around Trescott Boardwalk
Sections needing work (from trailhead to boardwalk, and also from highest priority to lowest): 1. Swampy flat section near the road. Install six 10-12 ft natural bog bridges. 2. Muddy flat section about halfway to the boardwalk. Includes logs laid laterally in the mud. Remove logs; install 3 or 4 bog bridges. 3. Two bog bridges and lateral logs in the mud. Install 2 or 3 bog bridges OR 1 bog bridge and 15ft turnpike. 5a. Existing turnpiking/cobbling near boardwalk (100+ ft on either side). Messy but functional. Add gravel (we would hike it in). 5b. Extend turnpiking about 25 feet.
Recap: Natural Bog Bridges: Install 10 to 12 new. Existing Turnpiking: Improve with gravel or dirt. New Turnpiking: 25-40 ft.
Materials: Softwood is readily available for bog bridges and turnpike cribbing. Rocks: I'm not sure, but I think we can find enough and avoid disturbing wetlands. Gravel: Could be purchased and hiked in. I can make an estimate (# of 5 gallon buckets) if we want to do this. 10" Spikes: Need ~50.
Tools: 1 chainsaw 1 axe 1 or 2 drawknives 1 sledgehammer 1 pick-maddock (or digging trowel, for setting mud sills)
- Clearing blowdowns
- Water bars
- Stepping stones
- Bog bridges
- Make signs
- List of individuals knowledgeable about trailwork