The Life of an Intern…

Hello! I’m Susan, the pre-season intern.  I’ve been here for two weeks now with just one more week remaining in my internship.  I’ve been working with Walter to prepare for this year’s paddling season and the Stewardship interns that will begin mid-June.  The following are the highlights of my time here and the many adventures of Walter and Susan.

Last Friday, we headed to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom for a day on the Clyde River.  Our main objective was to clear out strainers to prepare for the season and a band of paddlers for the ‘Clean Up the Clyde’ event to be held on June 5th.  It was the perfect day for a paddle down the river (and under the hotel too!). However, we did encounter our fair share of downed trees and sections of impassible obstacles.  Have no fear though, Walter and I were on the job! We extracted one washed out wooden bridge and several logs and trees. Here’s Walter in action…

On Thursday, we were off again! This time, to the Connecticut River in Maidstone, VT.  After a brief conference with the landowner, Walter and I were off to the Samuel Benton Campsite.  First, we finished the roof of the moldering privy.  Next came the staining of the privy. And then after beautifying the outhouse, we closed it back up.

Why restrict campers from using this fine and elegant restroom you may ask? Well, we have been given the opportunity to relocate and redesign the current waste management system.  The privy that has already been constructed there is a double chambered moldering privy(above).  This privy was built during the 2009 WWT.  The outhouse is elevated and two composting chambers are located beneath the structure.  The moldering privy allows for the decomposition of waste over several years until the pathogens have been destroyed and the waste becomes compost that can be spread on the ground.  The new design will prove to be a better fit for the location of the campsite and its close proximity to water.   The soon-to-be waste management system will involve a catch barrel beneath the seat which is connected to another barrel so that the liquids can separate from the solid waste.  The liquids will then be filtered and the solid waste will eventually be transported to a composting area further away from the water.  Walter and I are very excited about this new design called a beyond-the-bin composting system.  It is commonly used by the Green Mountain Club and Appalachian Mountain Club and with minor modifications will help us solve our human waste management challenges.  Unfortunately, my time with NFCT will expire before the completion of this project but I still look forward to its debut on the NFCT.

So enough potty talk…We concluded our day on the Connecticut River by installing the final board on the picnic table.  Also, check out the new ‘Campsite’ and ‘NFCT’ signs that are visible from the water and the trail journal on the picnic table.  Once again, the day was a success in part to  the near-perfect weather conditions and the completion of projects.  So for now it’s back to the office…

Happy Trails!



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