135,000 pounds

135,000 pounds.

That’s my calculation of how many pounds of stone, timber, and gravel our stewardship crew and its partners moved, installed, and fretted over this summer. 

Physics tells us that work is “a measure of energy transfer that occurs when an object is moved over a distance by an external force.” By that definition, the accomplishments of our stewardship crew and our cadre of volunteers were impressive. Over a 10 week season, we:

  • Tackled 12 projects
  • Ran six waterway work trips
  • Rehabilitated over 8,400 feet of portage trails
  • Installed 80 timber steps and 65 stone steps
  • Moved 102,144 pounds of gravel
  • Poured 18,000 pounds of concrete
  • Built 2 campsites, 7 picnic tables, 3 privies, 2 sign-in boxes, and 1 boat rack
  • Repaired a 30 foot dock
  • Installed 30 feet of bog bridging
  • Built an 8 by 10 foot stewardship crew hut in Waitsfield

While these numbers are impressive, I get equal satisfaction from the high priority items we were able to check off our list this summer.

One of these was the revamp of the Nulhegan River Stone Dam portage. When I was an intern over 10 years ago, one of my jobs was adding signage along the trail. I remember arriving at this portage, where paddlers take out above a challenging Class III section. Seeing no good option for a take-out path, I affixed a sign to an existing post above a steep, riprap bank. But now, thanks to the work of our crew, the Silvio Conte Refuge, and the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, paddlers are now greeted by an incredible set of stone steps.  This project highlighted what we do best: challenging projects at the interface of water and land.

It is wonderful to hear from the Conte’ Refuge’s manager, Steven Angius, about how this access has transformed what was formerly just a roadside parking area serving as a dumping grounds for garbage to an access used not only by thru-paddlers but day paddlers now able to explore the beautiful waters upstream. 

The overhaul of the Highgate Falls portage trail is another item I’m happy to have checked off. In one week, our crew replaced over fifty rotten steps. In late August and September, we returned with a crew from the NorthWoods Stewardship Center to tackle additional stormwater and erosion control projects along the corridor.

Our work along the Androscoggin River has been equally gratifying. Over two years, we’ve transformed two of the most popular river access points in the North Country with long lasting, durable systems designed to meet the needs of anglers, paddlers, and rafters alike.  

This work would not have been possible without the myriad of volunteers, landowners, and donors that make up our community. A big thanks to the 28 volunteers who joined us during the work trips — especially William Kenyon and Michael Mowry, who pitched in on multiple projects. 

We had a stellar crew of three interns — Laslo Reed, Josie Bourne, and Jackson Happ — led by crew leader Brian Kohr, who took up the cause with stride and good cheer.  

We’re already planning out projects for next year. Turns out there’s no shortage of stewardship work needs along our waterways. We’re always open to suggestions for potential projects. If you have ideas on projects worth tackling, please send them my way: [email protected].

Thank you to all that help make our efforts possible! You can help too by donating to the Trail Fund!