Trail maintenance workshop held

Larry and Sherry Baysinger BCH of Washington members, in conjunction with USFS Recreational Ranger Molly Erickson, held a trail maintenance workshop on Saturday, Feb. 15. There were 20 attendees including instructors. Fortunately, most of the class was held indoors as it was a blustery rainy day on the wet side of the Olympics.


Larry, who facilitated the workshop, recently was awarded a BCH of Washington grant to work on the Littleton/Mount Muller trail. The trail workshop was held in preparation for trail work to be accomplished on the approximately 20-mile trail.


Molly gave a brief history of the trail and the horse camp there. Larry then described the work that is planned for the trail, including brushing, turnpiking, tread work, installation of hitch rails, water and switchback maintenance.


A USFS film on trail maintenance was viewed and after each segment trainers then shared personal experiences with the various trail building/maintenance techniques.


Larry and Sherry, of Solduc Valley Packers commercial, and volunteer packers spoke on planning, safety and medical emergencies. Clare Donato, Olympic National Park mule packer, retired, spoke on water management and turnpiking. Ernie Vail, past ONP trail maintenance supervisor, along with Sarah Woodard who together operate Olympak Llamas, talked about logging out and clearing trail.


They demonstrated their light-weight back pack system for carrying a chain saw, saw tools and fuel into the back country. Vicki VanCalcar, a 15-year volunteer backcountry ranger in ONP, talked about the importance of brushing. She encouraged brushers to be aggressive when keeping the brush and small trees away from the trail. Carl Pengrass, ONP trail maintenance supervisor, retired, spoke of his love for the mountains and the joy of building bridges, puncheon and trail for 30-plus years.


Larry then talked about switchbacks, reroutes and trail obliteration. Del Sage, BCH Peninsula Chapter, described cable rigging using grip hoists and pulley systems. He had a system set up outside to demonstrate how a cable system works to ferry gravel or to move materials. Safety was emphasized, both in the set up of the cable system and for those using the system.


Stories and experiences were shared with plenty of humor mixed in. Three teenagers were in attendance. They each hope to add to their scholarship opportunities by doing community service on the trail.  


It was a great day to hold a workshop since the weather was not conducive to horse people being able to ride or work on the trails. Those who attended are now trained and ready to show up for work when the first work party is announced sometime after winter monsoon season.



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