Written by Nick Olson-NFCT 14-week Summer Stewardship Intern
When you think of The Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the stewardship interns, smoke and destruction is the last thing you think of. Rather than constructing carefully planned structures and improving the trail, the week at Upper Saranac Lake was full of sledgehammers, fire, and saws. The Department of Environmental Conservation purchased a parcel of private land on the edge of the lake. Unfortunately there was quite the mess from an old cabin that had collapsed in on itself. Who better to clean it all up than the unruly New York crew? They came wielding trash bags, crow bars, and sledges wearing the same clothes from week one and smelling worse than the decaying bodies of mice in the walls of the cabin. The site was riddled with smashed lumber, old tiles, soggy insulation, brick, and other debris.
Before NFCT cleanup
Julie Harjung of the Department of Environmental Conservation organized a group of volunteers to help demo the cabin. She also arranged for a boat to transport the debris to the launch where it would be taken away by a dump truck. Everyone there worked really hard and we were able to band and remove all the debris by the end of the week. All the volunteers were hard working good people and it was a pleasure to work with them. We owe a huge thanks to Julie for inviting the interns into her home for a home cooked meal and a hot shower. It’s really nice to see people go above and beyond to support the trail. We also had the pleasure of working with a camp group called “La Vida.” Although the group was only there for a few hours one morning they made a big difference. The kids were freshmen in high school and after a short training became excellent nail pullers. Having the kids there to remove nails while we moved the big lumber around made things very efficient. By the end of the week all that remained was a fire ring with a few benches around it. It was pretty incredible to see the transformation happen so fast. A big thanks goes out to all that were involved.