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!
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
Ore Hill could use a good deal of work to generally spruce the place up and show that we care about all the enjoyment the trails provide for us.
There should be more stepping stones on the trail up to the shelter because there are some muddy sections. Also, some of the existing stepping stones are very wobbly and should be replaced. Water bars need to be cleared and some need to be rebuilt to be more effective.
There are some large tree trunk blowdowns lying across the trail that need to be chopped up and cleared. It's probably a good idea to have at least two axes to handle this.
The actual shelter site needs to be cleaned up. First of all, there are large rusty metal sheets from the roof that need to be disposed of (note: they are studded with sharp, long, rusty nails so be very careful). GLOVES ARE MANDATORY for this. EVERYONE NEEDS A PAIR. Take the metal sheets down the trail to the trailhead and stack them in a neat pile. If that is not feasible, at last bring them down the trail as far as you can and stash them in the woods where they are not visible. The ground needs to be raked since the top layer is charred and dusty and is not really soil. If after raking away the top layer, the soil is still not suitable to be camped on, dig a "borrow" trench somewhere in the woods not visible (dig down to the good stuff - mineral soil), and ferry soil over to the site (where the shelter used to be) and cover the whole thing with the "borrowed" soil. Then smooth it out to make a tent site (well, sites for two tents; they can either be right next to each other or a little spread out...up to you...there are two fire pits there already). The tent site mound(s) should be slightly curved (higher in the middle, lower on the outsides) so that water runs away from the tents (you can even dig a small trench around the mound(s) if you have time).
Tools you should bring: rockbars for the stone work shovels dirt rakes and fire rakes GLOVES!!!!!! Â¡Â¡Â¡MUY IMPORTANTE!!! pick-mattocks loppers some kind of hammer or other tool to remove spikes from the charred logs a 5-gallon bucket or two to carry soil from the "borrow" trench to the tent site
as scouted by Rory Gawler and Molly McBride, 4/20/12
Trailwork trip 4/28/2012, led by Vipul Kakkad and Anabelle Ferguson: We trimmed overgrown brush along the trail to the campsite and also set two new stepping stones. The trail is still in need of more stepping stones, though, preferably larger ones. The water bars still need to be cleared and reconfigured to be more effective (we did that for one of them). At the campsite, we pulled the spikes out of the charred logs, put the logs in the woods at some distance from the campsite, and packed the spikes out (along with other nails we found). We hung up two signs, one at the campsite explaining that it will be rebuilt in summer and another at the privy explaining the same thing (they also have the CnT email address on them so people can contact us with any new site problems). We carried out a couple sheets of metal, but there are several large sheets still at the site that are studded with very rusty nails. Gloves are crucial. The campsite still needs to be raked over and have tent mounds built.
- 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
1/28/2012 there are a couple blowdowns that'll require chainsaws, plus on bridge has a tree growing into it (so you have to crawl underneath for a bit)
We cleaned up most of the blowdowns, but there is still one about a mile from the Lodge that requires a chainsaw, which we did not have. There is a lot of flowing water on many sections of the trail, so a re-route may be necessary. At the least, more water bars need to be built. We cleared some of the water bars, but some still need to be cleared. A plank collapsed on one of the two-plank bridges that needs to be repaired. We re-blazed the entire trail. -Mac Murphy, 5/12/12
- Carriage Rd.
- Beaver Brook
- from Goose Pond Road to the North summit on the AT, there are numerous blowdowns requiring a chainsaw according to adopter Jim Mason and numerous SOBO thru-hikers.(note: I cleared nearly all the blowdowns from wolfeboro to goose pond on 7/17/11. There are still three large step-overs on the goose pond side that will need a chainsaw, all within a mile of the road or so. Jason Berard 7/17/11)
- 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 (edit: 8/1/11 taken care of, Jason Berard. There are still blowdowns from the S. Summit to Wolfeboro Rd.)
- 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
- Three Mile Rd to Hanover Ctr Rd: Adopter Jim Wooster noted 3 blowdowns that need clearing about 1-1.5 miles south of Three Mile Rd. all are in the 6-10"range. Jason Berard 7/1/11
- Needs chinking
- Harris Trail
- Could use some drainage work or stepping stones. Many sections were quite muddy. The AT section, however, seemed to be in pretty good shape. Jocelyn Powelson 4/15/12
- Drainage work would still be appreciated, and maybe some better signage in getting to Harris Trail. Kathryn Waychoff 4/20/14
- A trip went out on October 1st, 2011 to do work just north of Goose Pond Rd. The area is flooding by beaver activity, and the beavers have been industrious. We placed 10 or 11 12' long bog bridges, but still need several more. There are also a few places where a stepping stone or two could make for a much nicer walk. What's more, the introduction of the base logs on the trail have created drainage issues which hold up water on the trail. There is probably at least one more trip of work left there. -David Rice
- A trip went out on August 23, 2012 and noticed a recent blowdown about .5 mi from the skiway parking lot, as well as a 1 or two older ones further up on the trail (maybe at 1 or 1.2 mi from the trailhead). Will require chainsaw work.
- Trailwork trip went out May 10, 2013 and cleared most of the blowdowns on the AT from the skiway parking lot to Holt's Ledge (with handtools only). Left one blowdown (past Trapper John Shelter) across the trail that needs a chainsaw to clear, but is easy to step over. Tree in middle of trail by the 1/4 mile away from Trapper John shelter sign (first one you come upon going uphill) is dead and wobbly. Might come down in a future storm, probably needs a chainsaw to remove. Trail was dry and otherwise in good condition. - Anna Knowles and Max Deibel
- There is a small bridge consisting 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 pieces 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
- The trail on the north side had one or two blowdowns, the part of the trail immediately south of Bracket Brook was quite muddy and could possibly use some stepping stones. We were told by two hikers that the trail on the south side needed new markers. - Patrick Campbell & Will Bishop, April 1, 2012
- 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
- 7/3/11 Installed some new signage to clarify confusing junctions. Link to signs at: http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41021 Jason Berard
- Cabin / Tentsite
- No trash can, no bark mulch (edit: last I checked, it was off in the woods by the "temporary privy" along with a mulch fork. jason berard 7/1/11)
- Scraps of metal roofing in the woods near the privy and the ranger cabin July 19th
Webster Slide Mountain
- Webster Slide
- Wachipauka Pond
This trail is in need of scouting for a possible grant for a trail crew. It has been suggested that we sign it as unmaintained until that time. (July 2011)
- 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
- Cistern near the shelter is missing its lid, and has a number of deceased animals in it. Either the lid should be replaced, or the entire cistern removed
- Sign directing people from the trail to the shelter is missing, should be replaced
- Toilet is full
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)
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 <email@example.com> 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