Spencer Rips 2010 WWT

The final Waterway Work Trip of the 2010 season was a sunny success at Spencer Rips in Maine, which is a part of the NFCT and the popular Moose River Bow Loop Trail.  Working with the Maine Bureau of Public Lands, our goal of this work trip was to improve campsite and portage access points around Spencer Rips, which also serves as an access point to the environmentally rich Number Five Bog.  An old bridge abutment near the Rips narrows the river and intensifies water level change, creating steeply eroded and muddy banks.   In the wintertime, ice poses a threat to destroy permanently installed structures.  A removable log ladder was designed to protect the ladder from intense ice conditions in the winter and early spring while still being able to slightly adjust to the varying water levels in the summer and fall.  Although the ladder itself is a standard mortise and tenon model, the installation technique is a unique design.

The ladder installed on the south side of Spencer Rips is shown above. Wire cable was looped down through three eye-holes on either side of the ladder and then drawn through eye-bolts that were drilled into solid rock at the bottom of the bank.  The wire cable was then strung back up the ladder through the eye-holes and connected at the top of the bank by two helical anchors with eye-holes.

 The ladder above was installed on the north side of the Rips and is very similar to that installed on the southern bank.  Wire was looped through eye-holes in the same fashion; however, it was attached by four helical anchors. 

Thanks to a great group volunteers—Tim, Joe, Ben, Byron, Steve, Andrew, Joni, and Dave–and the additional help of the area trail maintainer, Jeff McCabe, for all of your help over the weekend.  Also, a special thanks to through paddlers Sean and Pat who took a “day off” from paddling the NFCT to help the interns prepare for the volunteers to arrive by harvesting heavy rocks and building one of the stone staircases.  Together, were able to install one ladder on each side of the river, two stone stair cases, one rock retainer step, brush in old portage trails, and put up new signage, all with paddling time to spare.  While in the area, we also scoped out the Demo Rd. portage and Hall Pond and its portage for future trail projects.   All of the volunteers brought something that helped us finish the project, whether it was chiseling expertise, a positive attitude, or a bottle of champagne to celebrate project completion.

After a hard day of work on Saturday to complete all of our tasks, we enjoyed time to swim, a hearty pasta meal, and apple crisp desert followed by light-hearted conversations around the campfire.  On Sunday we enjoyed the beautiful, sunny weather paddling on Spencer Lake where we saw a moose, a bald eagle, an osprey, and a family of ducklings.


The Spencer Rips Work Trip was a fantastic way to end a fantastic season!  Thanks again to all of our volunteers, trail supporters, through paddlers, and blog followers.  And an extra special thanks to Walter, Kate, Sandy, Rob, and Noah, and all NFCT board members who have made this stewardship intern season and the success of the NFCT possible this year.  All of your hard work is greatly appreciated and has been pivotal in the accomplishments of a great summer!

Brianna Baker, NFCT summer 2010 Stewardship Intern


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