By PAM GILLIS
I am happy to report that we have cleared the Long Trail and all side trails of blow-downs within our area of trail maintenance Rt. 108 to Jonesville.
Despite the damage left by the January ice storm, the overwhelming volunteer response made this trail clearing season very successful.
Co-chair John Sharp and I had a new (but welcome) problem - not how to get all the work done but how to use all the volunteers! With record turnouts ranging from 20 to 27, we were able to divide workers into three groups and cover several trails on each outing. The heaviest damage we found was on the side of Mt. Coldly on our May 23 outing.
In addition to our work groups, trail adopters and unknown others went out and cleared trails. Greg Western from the GMC field staff helped lead one of our groups, and six members of the Long Trail Patrol worked with us. Seth Coffey, the GMC Ice Storm Coordinator, assisted us with reports on trail conditions, crews, extra tools, and new safety and trail-clearing equipment. Our section owns a new chainsaw plus safety equipment through efforts of the GMC staff.
The early snow melt this year also helped. Having cleared the trails within our section, we were able on National Trails Day, June 6, to help clear the Jerusalem Trail and Long Trail on Mt. Ellen.
Many, many thanks to all who showed up, even if it may have seemed to you that you didn't do much. All the work added up to a lot of trail clearing and an open trail for the hiking season.