Or maybe you prefer a bridge over troubled water, either way you likely have one or two songs stuck in your head after reading this!
The White Mountain Professional Trail Crew finished construction this fall on a 40 foot bridge on the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail. With the installation of the bridge ends a 4 year absence after TS Irene plowed through the Northeast dropping way too much rain for any watersheds to handle around here, resulting is severe damage not only to major trails in the Whites but major road systems as well. With cooperation with the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF-FS) and assistance from the National Forest Foundation (NFF) we began the ground work for the bridge in August.
As is with most trail construction projects in the Whites, Mother Nature always has a say in the matter and that was no different here. While the weather was rather good during most of the project, driving drift pins and setting timber members were sometimes challenging in the rocky soil, but the crews did a fine job with the challenges and the measurements came out just right! I’ll add here that our stringers were glulam beams — engineered and pre built to 40 ft., we didn’t have much room for error with our abutment measurements!
Design plans called for 3 beams, each weighing approximately 1,400 lbs.
With the abutments built and the approach from either side modified we waited until the end of September to airlift the beams into place and bring in the rest of the material for the decking and handrails. Airlifts came and went without much of a hitch, beams settled nicely and a 4lb sledge was enough to make the minor adjustments either left or right to square the beams up.
Once the decking material, hardware, and tools were on site the crew made quick work of installing the handrails, cutting and fastening the decking, and finishing the approaches.
Additional work went into two relatively short but significant trail relocations on the trail as well. With the banks of the Nineteen Mile Brook unable to contain the rush of rain runoff from TS Irene the brook jumped the banks in several locations, causing erosion and gulling beyond repair in sections of the old trail.
Both the Professional Trail Crew and Volunteer Trail Crews from Camp Dodge worked on both relocations, one of which started right from the parking lot, the second not much farther up trail — both relos are below the site of the new bridge.
A lot of rock was moved to build rock staircases and to replace roughly a foot of duff and organic material in effort to provide a more durable tread surface for users. Both relos likely won’t feel the effects of high water if we receive another Irene-like event as they are placed on much higher terrain than the old sections were originally.
Thank you again to the USFS and NFF for cooperation and financial assistance on this project.
The National Forest Foundation (NFF): Founded by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation works to conserve, restore and enhance America’s 193-million-acre National Forest System. Through community-based strategies and public-private partnerships, the NFF helps enhance wildlife habitat, revitalizes wildfire-damaged landscapes, restores watersheds, and improves recreational resources for the benefit of all Americans.
Want to learn more about AMC’s trail crew? Keep an eye on AMC’s YouTube page in March for new a video produced by AMC’s magazine team.