Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-09-07

Krister Raasoch with Art and Harry, David Weisel, Matt Edson, John Hudachek, Trails Chief John Herrick and Pisgah Park manager Whip Newell met at the Reservoir Road Trailhead in Hinsdale at 9:00 am.  John Herrick and his John Deere tractor rake contoured the Reservoir Road hill between Route 119 and the first electric wires.  The rest of the crew used shovels and rakes to smooth out the gravel and remove the large stones.  We dug two water bars to channel water to the ditch.  We also removed a dead tree overhanging the road.

We then drove to the Visitor Center on Old Chesterfield Road in Winchester.  We cleaned up the area north of the Visitor Center that was filled with branches and debris from a recent timber harvest.  Krister cut 3 dead birch trees around the picnic table area.  John used his tractor to push branches and old logs down the hill out of view of the picnic tables.

John Hudachek

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-08-10

Matt Edson, Bob Miller, Kathy Thatcher, John Hudachek, Trails Chief John Herrick and the new Pisgah Park manager Whip Newell met at the Kilburn Trailhead at 8:00 am.  The goal for the day was to dig water bars on the road hills between Kilburn Pond and the trailhead.  John Herrick brought his John Deere tractor to dug the bars while the rest of the crew used shovels and rakes to smooth out the gravel.  We completed about 10 water bars and were back at the Kilburn trailhead by 12:30.

We calculated that the average age of the crew was over 65 years...it sure would be nice to get some younger people to help. 

John Hudachek

Click here to view photos by John Hudachek

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-06-08

David Weisel, John Bernstein, John Hudachek and Friends of Pisgah (FOP) trails chief John Herrick met at the Kilburn Trailhead at 10:00.  While discussing the activities for the day we noticed a group of 3 dead birch trees leaning over the parking lot.  So our first job was to cut and remove the dead birch trees.

We then proceeded down the Kilburn Trail.  After tropical storm Andrea dumped alot of rain this morning, water was running down and across large sections of the trail.  We determined this was an opportunity to drain water from the low spots and divert water flowing down the trail.  Much work was done with potato hooks and a mattock.

On the trail the mosquitoes were very annoying. Sitting on the walkway above the Kilburn dam for lunch we enjoyed a strong breeze from the north that freed us from the mosquitoes.  We observed two loon diving for their lunch.  Back on the trail after lunch I saw my first deer fly of the season sucking her last lunch from my wrist.

We were back at the parking just before 2:00 concluding a very productive day.

John Hudachek

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-05-11

Friends of Pisgah (FOP) President Kathy Thatcher, John Hudachek and FOP trails chief John Herrick met at the Kilburn Trailhead at 10:00.  It was decided to remove several dangerous trees leaning over trails at Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area. So we drove to the Gorge and removed a half dozen dead trees.

FOP had received an email the previous day that trees were down on the Bear Mountain Trail east of Plain Road.  So on the way back to Kilburn we detoured down to the Plain Road Trailhead.  While the two Johns ate lunch on the back of John's pickup Kathy hiked up the trail and found the fallen trees. After lunch we hiked up Bear Mountain Trail and removed the fallen trees and branches.

The crew returned to John's truck, then drove to Kilburn parking lot at 1:15.  Since the rain had become steady at this point we decided to call it a day.  

John Hudachek

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-04-13

Krister Raasoch, David Weisel, Wendy Jacobs, Val and Jon Starbuck, John Hudachek and Friends of Pisgah (FOP) trails chief John Herrick met at the FOP Dort property at 10:00. The Dort property is a piece of land located in Chesterfield between Route 63 and Pisgah State Park.  The Dort Trail starts on Route 63 about 1.5 north of the Kilburn Trailhead and leads up to our proposed overnight shelter. 

With Krister and John Herrick cutting branches and trees and the rest of the crew moving the cut wood off the trail the majority of the trail is cleared.  John Herrick intends to continue leveling and moving stumps so that the shelter building materials can be transported up the trail to the shelter location beneath Hubbard Hill.

Lunch was enjoyed at our vehicles parked at the site vista.  After completing the tree cutting around 2:00 the group checked out the proposed shelter location and then hiked to the Hubbard Hill vista. The crew returned to their parked vehicles just after 3:00.

John Hudachek

Spring Greenery in Pisgah

Most of the snow has melted and the silence of Winter is now replaced with bird song and the robust chorus of amphibian mating calls. Spring is also presenting itself throughout the woods. Ground covers are some of the first to greet us, reappearing as the snow melts away. Looking as though pressed between the pages of a book, fronds of ferns emerge, scattered across the forest floor. 

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-03-16

Krister Raasoch, David Weisel, Wendy Jacobs, John Hudachek and Friends of Pisgah (FOP) trail chief John Herrick met at the Kilburn Trailhead at 10:00. With reports of numerous trees down on the Kilburn Loop the group decided to hike and clear the Kilburn Loop.

The woods were still full of snow and the trail was predominantly compacted snow with some ice.  Many trees were found fallen across the trail - at one spot five trees were found across the trail that had been downed by beavers.  Lunch was enjoyed on rocks overlooking water near the south end of the loop. The entire loop was cleared and, after a short excursion to the explosives site near the Hinsdale Town Forest, the group returned to the parking lot just after 3:00.

John Hudachek

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2012-12-08

Krister Raasoch, David Weisel, Tom Duston, John Hudachek and Friends of Pisgah (FOP) trails chief John Herrick explored the FOP land referred to as the "Dort property" between Pisgah Park and Route 63 in Chesterfield. The FOP Council recently voted to fund the construction of a lean-to shelter on this land to be used by Pisgah Park and Wantastiquet-Monadnock Trail hikers. See our Facebook picture for a similar shelter.  Several excellent spots were found that we felt suitable.

The next day, Sunday, December 9, John Herrick and John Hudachek met Kim Nilsen at the Dort property to review our findings from the previous day.  The three of us decided the best spot to build the shelter would be on FOP property below the Hubbard Hill vista on a level site with water close by.  We also envision locating a composting latrine nearby.  Access from the Park would be from the corner of the Davis Hill trail that runs through the FOP Dort property.  A mini shelter was also discussed to be placed on FOP land at the Davis Hill trail west vista.

John Hudachek

Pisgah Trail Maintenance - 2013-01-12

Friends of Pisgah trails chief John Herrick, Krister Raasoch, John Hudachek, Wendy Jacobs and Tucker started work on the trail from Davis Hill to our proposed shelter on FOP land below Hubbard Hill. We then cut the trees where we intend to build the lean-to in the spring before breaking for lunch.  After lunch we cut trees where the road will be going up from Route 63 towards the shelter. We finished work about 3:00 pm.

John Hudachek

Click here to view photos by John Herrick

When Doing Nothing Is a Viable Alternative

Many people have been apprised of the value of early successional growth that results from commercial timber harvests. The following from Tom Wessels is another perspective that is in support of the ecosystem that an older forest provides:

There has been lots of research at both the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA and the Hubbard Brook Research Station in NH regarding how older forests sequester carbon to a far greater degree than younger forests. I am sure there is also good research on the relationship between forest disturbance and increase in invasive exotics although I haven't delved into that. The key to countering there argument is that whenever we manage for certain species, like early successional wildlife, we also are managing in ways that are detrimental to other late successional species. Also what makes Pisgah so unique at a larger landscape-scale is exactly the large array of older forests it holds that is very different from the rest of Cheshire County. 

Tom Wessels is a terrestrial ecologist and a professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental Studies, where he founded a master's program in conservation biology. He is the author of three books and is an active environmentalist.

Also the attached document Preemptive and Salvage Harvesting of New England Forests: When Doing Nothing Is a Viable Alternative by David R. Foster and David A. Orwig suggests that the best approach to forest management is to do nothing.