Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wampum November 2012 Trail Work Report

Our chapter volunteers stayed busy over the past month tackling a variety of maintenance and improvement projects along our trail sections in both Beaver and Lawrence counties.  We’ve done some digging, bridge and culvert work, and have also utilized our new chapter chainsaw to keep the trail in good hiking-condition.

At Cemex near Fletcher Hill Road the crew rebenched sidehill in order to enable the DR mower to better navigate the section heading towards Snake Run, and also installed anti-skid strips on the bridge to the east of that trailhead.  Seismic testing activity all over the Cemex property has us in the mode of “what next?”, but so far, no major disruptions to our trail route or the hiking experience that we can see.  The hiker-journal box newly installed along the trail, in the woods, about 120 yards from the Snake Run Road west trailhead was checked an all is in order with that.

At Gamelands 285 we employed the chapter’s new Stihl chainsaw to take out blown down trees east and west of Watt’s Mill Rd.  The new saw is lighter than the one we had been using and is a joy to carry through the woods to the worksites.  Also in that area, we rebenched fifty-five yards of sidehill east of Painter’s Run making a huge improvement to the treadway there.  Volunteer Eric Watson has been working on a solo project to improve our trail just east of Booth Hill, leveling it out and making it a more comfortable walk.  And lastly at GL285, we installed a culvert pipe near the old trailhead along Watt’s Mill Road, resolving a perennial wet and narrow spot that had been a challenge to navigate with the DR mower.

At Watt’s Mill itself, we installed anti-skid strips on the bog bridge along the shelter spur trail, repaired the gunshot wound to the Carsonite post that indicates the shelter area, and visited the shelter a couple of times - once to prep for the Pumpkin Pie hike and once to get the fire pit cleaned up and check on the general condition of the area.

Lastly, we walked our proposed new section of trail between Hodgson Rd. and Route 168 across the Crawford, McGaffick, and First Energy Properties with Mr. McGaffick’s daughter to get her input and approval for the route.

All in all a well-rounded month of trail work!  Wanted to appreciate these volunteers for coming out:  Eric Watson, Lee Fairbanks, Jim Rarick, Dennis Garrett, Eleanor Fairbanks, Sabrina Royea, John Rarick, David Wright, Patty Brunner, Jake Erhardt, and Doug Turner, and everyone else for their support of the effort.


Monday, October 22, 2012

2012 Wampum Chapter Pumpkin Pie Hike

Good Morning Fellow NCTr's:
Another beautiful October Sunday afternoon and another herd of pumpkin pies led to slaughter and consumption along the North Country Trail. They were delicious! We had over forty hikers take the 2.5 mile walk from Hodgson Rd. over to the shelter at Watt's Mill (with a side trip to Indian Rock along the way), joined at the mill by another dozen or so people for some NCT comaradarie (and PIE and cider!)
I have some photos from yesterday's excursion posted here
Thanks to everyone for organizing, contributing, participating in, and supporting the effort. And also for everyone's hard work on building and maintaining the trail as we received many nice compliments from our constituency about what we do and how well we do it year-round. 
This was, I believe, our fifth community outreach event of the year, Ellwood City's Earth Day, Darlington Days, McConnell's Mill Heritage Festival, and the Gear and Beer Autumn Festival at Brady's Run Park being the other four, and compliments to everyone who put all the time and effort into making these successful. Gettin' the word out about this great community resource. Happy to see another four groups of hikers just out walking our section of NCT yesterday - we invited them all to have some pie with us.
Dave Brewer
Trail Work Coordinator/Communications Coordinator

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're Busy Here!!

Busy, busy, busy. We're so busy that even the beavers stand in awe of how busy we have been and will be. That's busy. Really busy.

Two great trail work sessions over the past few days and I appreciate Doug Turner and Lee Fairbanks for coming out on Thursday morning to get some mowing and pruning done each direction from Fletcher Hill Rd., as well as doing what we do best - digging holes and filling them right back in. Two blaze posts and a Carsonite sign installed to help ease the challenge of navigating a well-run-over and small-explosives-impregnated Cemex property.

This morning Lee and I headed out to the Hodgson Rd. trailhead to install our new sign there. T'was freezing but it is amazing how digging a three-foot-deep hole (next to a gas pipe) and carrying 150 lbs of sign will warm you right up. We also picked up some trash along the road and did some mowing out on the Kirkwood Farm, as well as enlisting Eleanor's help in doing some trail checking between Hodgson and Watt's Mill in preparation for next Sunday's hike.

Also, Dennis Garrett and his travelling promotional team have been getting everything ready for our trip to the Tri-State Gear and Beer Conservation Fest at Brady's Run Park tomorrow to talk to people about the North Country Trail. I can't name the names because I'm not sure who all is doing what and I know if I try I'll leave someone out, so I'll leave that for Dennis's recap of the day.

Monday evening, the 15th, is our monthly chapter meeting at Hito's in West Pittsburg - 6:00 PM (come a bit earlier if ordering dinner) and next Saturday morning, the 20th, is an American Heart Association First Aid class set up by Dennis as the final step for chainsaw certification and for anyone else who was interested.

Of course, next Sunday afternoon we'll have hikers gathering at 1:00 at Watt's Mill for our 2.5 mile Pumpkin Pie Hike. Come out for this walk on a very, very nice section of trail - especially at this time of the year. Beautiful out there. Bring a friend along and introduce them to the trail. Or, just come on out to the shelter to enjoy some NCT comaradarie.

We'll need to sneak in one last trail work session before the hike, primarily to get the Rickstrips put down on the shelter access trail bog bridge. We'll go Friday sometime - giving it a couple of days for the weather forecast to firm up before deciding on what time would be best.

So, we've been busy and there's more to do. The beavers shake their heads in disbelief. Then they lower their heads in shame in the knowledge that they've been defeated.

Thanks for all you do for the trail!!

Dave Brewer
Trail Work Coordinator

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

McConnell's Mill Heritage Festival Follow Up

Hello All,
I am reporting on the Chapters two days at McConnells Mill State Park Heritage Festival this past weekend. We were blessed with two beautiful fall days which brought out great crowds of people to this 20 year old event. This being our first time attending, we were not sure what to expect, but whatever we might have been thinking, I doubt it could have matched what actually happened.
We talked to hundreds of people about the trail, mostly just casually interested people, but many sincerely interested in where to find the trail, where it went, etc. We had printed 100 of our new chapter brochures and only have about 10 left. We sold 75 raffle tickets for the picture of the Mill in the park, donated by Jim Nocera. I am going to guess we made 50 to 75 hiking sticks; mostly for kids, but also a couple adults. We distributed 140 NCTA orange bandannas supplied to us by the National Park Service.
Dave Wright's shaving bench was the star attraction of our display area; often families waited 45 to 60 minutes to peel the park off their hiking stick. Dave was the hardest working man at the event. Between he and Jim Houk, they make a huge pile of shavings. (On Saturday late in the day, kids standing in line noticed we had run out of sticks to carve, so four of them went to the woods and came back with their own sticks - and Dave just kept on working.)
The park personnel were very pleased with our display area, especially the hiking stick venue. They invited / encouraged us to be at National Get Out Doors Day at Moraine State Park next June.
Along with being a successful "trail awareness" event for the Chapter, this was a very good fund raiser - Photograph Raffle - $130
Hiking Stick / Bandanna Donations - $240
Total - $379
We all had a good time. Thanks to Jim Nocera for all the work on the brochure and the donation of the beautiful photograph that was raffled; for Dave Wright and Jim Houk working for many hours with all the kids, making all the sticks. For all those who helped talk to all the visitors - Gail Blakley, Dorothy Buquo, Kaye Turner, Herb & Kathy Adams, Susan Fudurich, Lee & Eleanor Fairbanks, Cathy Garrett.
Buckle up and get ready for the Gear & Beer Tri-State Fallfest on Oct. 14th - 12 PM to 5 PM.
We'll do it again one more time this year.
Thank you all for making this such a beautiful weekend.
Dennis Garrett

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gonna Marry My Chainsaw

* Seemed like a song that comedian Rodney Carrington would write. Other titles considered for this blog entry were: "He Aint Heavy, He's My Chainsaw" by the Hollies, and "It's A Beautiful Chainsaw" by U2. But this isn't a song, just an update.

Good Afternoon Fellow NCTr's:

First want to appreciate Doug Turner and Jake Erhardt for coming out on Tuesday morning to Cemex near the lime kiln where we accomplished a bunch of small tasks including cleaning up the trailhead access off of Snake Run Rd., getting the cornfield and lime kiln weedwacked and pruned, and plotting out a reroute thru the woods to shorten our field walk through that area. A strong two hours that has the trail in good shape out there. Some pics starting from Tuesday here.  Again, if the whole album opens, close it and hit the 'here' again to get to the photo.

Secondly, to the matter of the subject of this entry, apparently we had some kind of "wind event" in Beaver County sometime over the past two or three weeks resulting in a large number of trees coming down across the trail at Gamelands 285 and the Kirkwood Farm. Four days later - giving my cheap Poulan chainsaw ALL of the credit - we are clear from the state line to Hodgson Rd. I lost count at around 40 trees cleared - if I had to guess it was probably 55 to 60 trees blocking us over that six miles of trail. Wanted to appreciate Dennis Garrett for the support (and dinner!) on Tuesday afternoon and for his scouting the mile of trail south of Watt's Mill Rd., saving me that walking to check it out. Job security indeed.

Lastly, a reminder that our monthly chapter meeting is being held at the shelter at Watt's Mill on Monday the 20th. It is a hot dog roast, campfire, pot luck event and I have been informed that Mr. Chuck Townsend of the Little Beaver Historical Society will be in attendance to give a presentation. Several items to discuss also including the Geo Trail, the chapter brochure, recent communication from First Energy regarding our trail extension, and I'm sure a report from the national conference. Hope you can make it out on that Monday night.

Thanks for all you do for the trail!

Dave Brewer
Trail Work Coordinator

Monday, June 4, 2012

Darlington Days 2012

Hello Everyone,

We completed our Darlington Days trail awareness mission late this afternoon, just as the first rain storm of the weekend set in.
We had our display in operation all day Saturday and Sunday; we were visited by a lot of folks that were interested to know about the trail, where to find it and how to become involved - some serious, some just curious.  One new member signed up.

Our hikes on Saturday afternoon, originating at Watts, went well.  Charles Townsend, from the historical society, preceded the hikes with a most interesting presentation of the history of the Watts Mill area.  Pictures of the hikes, the talk and the stone house foundation are attached.

A big thanks to Gale Blakely for arranging with the Little Beaver Historical Society for the space we used for our booth and all the prep work that made our display area work so well & being on hand all weekend.  Lee & Eleanor Fairbanks were full time the entire weekend, manning the booth, managing the hikes and setting up & tearing down, the whole nine yards. 

Jim Houk was a force at the marshmallow roast, creating interest in our hiking stick project and as a major fund raiser - Jim purchased a small truck load of flowers at the Roger's Sale on Friday, sold the flowers at the booth on Saturday and Sunday and donated the profits to the chapter - $54. We also sold one cookbook, one hiking stick and received generous donations from visitors for an additional $21.00.

Also, JoEllen Sokolosoki, Dorthy Boquo and Dave Wright were on hand throughout Saturday & Sunday at the booth and setting up.

Dave Brewer, the trail was in beautiful shape, the shelter area looked great and the old house foundation area, where the history talk as given, looked better than it has in 30 years. There were many compliments on the condition of the trail, the many great bridges, serious interest in the Jimmy Hupp memorial, and not one person opted out of the steep hike up the spur trail to Indian Rock, where a short talk was given by our newest Chapter member, Mike Appici, who has lived his entire life within a 1/2 mile of the rock.

(My thanks to John Vlah for doing a bang-up job of clearing that foundation last week and to Jake Erhardt for walking the sweep on the long hike!  - Dave)

The weekend was busy, but fun and I believe fruitful for our Chapter.  Thanks for all the work and fellowship and we will thank God for the two beautiful days that allowed it to happen in such fine fashion.

Dennis Garrett
VP, Wampum Chapter, NCT