Story Board Sign for the Trail Town of Darlington

It’s amazing what an artist can do with the scattered pieces and parts of things, pulling them all together and putting them into a form that is, in this case, both artistic and informative.  Graphic Designer and Wampum Volunteer Tracy Hager recently gathered up various photographs and writings and put them together into our fantastic new trailside sign boards.  With the help from our carpentry artist Dave Wright and his helpers, the chapter will be mounting these on stands and installing them along the North Country Trail at Hell’s Hollow, in our Trail Towns of Wampum and Darlington, and at the trailhead at Watt’s Mill.

Funding for this project was provided by both the Lawrence County Commissioners and through Wampum Chapter NCTA funds.  We appreciate the support of our local elected officials and our volunteers in helping us to build this National Scenic Trail.


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November Trail Work Report

by wam_chapter on November 26, 2016


ADA Trail At Watts Mill

The Wampum Chapter’s group trail work focus the past thirty days has been primarily on development and building projects, working at Wampum Underground, Watt’s Mill, and Hell’s Hollow.  We also did our last run with the DR mower this season before the snow fell, doing maintaining work on the mile of NCT near Darlington to make sure that the weeds and multi floral were pushed back for our hikers.

Three separate trips were made to Wampum Underground in connection to our shelter-building project, first delivering the foundation stones to the site and then spending one beautiful Sunday afternoon getting them set in place and leveled.  After the lumber is prepared and hauled to the site for the shelter we’ll be ready for a quick install.   Also, kudos to Dave Wright for quickly repairing the damaged DR Power Wagon so that we could accomplish the hauling of the stones! 

At Watt’s Mill the crew spent a couple of hours one afternoon starting work on an ADA-compliant section of trail along the bank of Little Beaver Creek below the shelter.   A good-sized crew worked quickly to clear the brush and multi floral rose and to level the new pathway for about forty yards in order to test the feasibility of using the natural soil there as the surface of the trail.  Sister Lynne was able to add some gravel to that surface last week in order  to try to firm it up, but it appears that it will take some more effort and finer material as we go forward in order to make this pathway work to its intended purpose.  We will keep on working with this.

In response to a request from McConnell’s Mill State Park, five volunteers spent a morning exploring the possibility of building a spur trail from the horse trailer parking area on Heinz Camp Road over to the Hell’s Hollow parking lot in order to alleviate some of the parking issues that have cropped up there recently.  There is a plan to expand the parking lot at Hell’s Hollow to accommodate more vehicles as well as improve the lot on Heinz Camp in order to have additional parking available.  After about three hours of exploration and getting the lay of the land, an acceptable (and scenic!) route for the spur trail was GPS’d, and the proposal has been sent to the park management for their input.  As we receive approval we’ll make plans to build that spur trail.

Our individual Trail Maintainers were also out over the past thirty days, checking their NCT sections and reporting blown down trees that needed to be taken care of.  A quick check of the numbers shows nine trees removed from our pathway over the past four weeks. Their efforts are truly appreciated!!

My thanks to these folks for making the trip out for our group sessions in October and November:  Dave Wright, Mike Troy, Doug Lawrence, Kathy Rea, Tom Domer, Matt Williams, Sabrina Royea, T.J. Lane, Dennis Garrett, Candy Sprecker, Rick and Sher Eiler, Sister Lynne, Carolyn Moss, Bill Geenawalt, Joe Hardisky, and Tom Baumgardner, and to everyone for their support.

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Wampum Scarecrows

by wam_chapter on October 22, 2016

‘They bring in visitors and keep out the crows.’  Thanks to Dorothy and JoEllen for our Wampum Chapter scarecrow at the kiosk in front of the train station.

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October Trail Work Report

by wam_chapter on October 19, 2016


Volunteer Deb Charleson repainted the Watt’s Mill Trailhead sign. Standing tall for another 10 years

Wampum Chapter volunteers kept the DR Field and Brush mower running hot this past month, tackling basic maintenance issues on the Cemex property from River Rd. to Fletcher Hill Road, and at the trailhead area at Watt’s Mill.  All in all we worked on about four miles of our North Country Trail sections to keep the multi floral rose and goldenrod pushed back away from our pathway.


We also utilized the mower to help out with our shelter-construction project at Wampum Underground, spending one morning clearing about a half mile of the non-maintained access road through the strip mine area so that we will be able to haul in material with our trucks.  We then worked to identify and clear the route beyond the drop off point so that we can Power Wagon the construction material the last 900 or so yards through the woods to where the shelter will be built.


Other trips out over the past thirty days involved a session to work on the switchbacks above the Dismukes’ bridge and also, a walkthrough of our reroute of the NCT at the Mines and Meadows ATV Park.  The new trail there is in great shape, with no overgrowth along that quarter mile, and no sign of ATV incursions.


Our Trail Maintainers worked hard this past month keeping our NCT sections in great shape for our hikers.  Appreciate their efforts to keep the weeds under control and sending alerts on blow down trees along the way that need to be cleared.  A reminder that the National Park Service and Ice Age/North Country Trail Associations have developed the Trail Safe! program for all volunteers who are out working on the trail to participate in.  Based on NPS Operational Leadership Training, this series of videos focuses on the Human Factor of safety.  The program can be found here and we ask that all of our Trail Maintainers complete this program in order to receive their chapter maintaining patch.

Dave Brewer

October 17, 2016

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Wampum Chapter Volunteers Recognized For Service by the NPS

October 6, 2016

John and Jim Rarick and Kay Houk recognized for 400 hours of service to the North Country Trail. Matt Williams and Corinne Theileman recognized for 200 hours of service to the North Country Trail Sister Lyn Szymkiewicz, Matt Williams, Carol Wright, Sher Eiler, and Pastor Larry Reitz recognized for 100 hours of service. The National [...]

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First Trail Maintainer Patch Awarded

October 4, 2016

Congratulations and thank you to Doug Lawrence, the first recipient of the Wampum Chapter’s Maintainer Patch.  Doug (along with Kathy Rea) keeps the North Country Trail section between Georgetown Rd. and the Dismukes Bridge in great hiking shape with their regular visits.  He completed the National Park Service Trail Safe! program this week and we’re happy [...]

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Recognition For Our Wampum Trail Maintainers

September 25, 2016

The Wampum Chapter is fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteers who make their way out to our sections of the North Country National Scenic Trail and work to keep it in excellent shape for our hikers.  There are those who are regular attendees of the chapter’s organized trail work sessions and also individuals who’ve [...]

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September 2016 Trail Work Report

September 20, 2016

The big trail-work news for the Wampum Chapter over the past month has been the granting of approval from Wampum Underground to build a hiking shelter along the section of North Country Trail that they host, the selection of the specific spot, and the beginning stages of clearing the area for our construction.  We’ll be [...]

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Hiking Stick Medallions Available

September 20, 2016

The new, limited edition, Wampum Chapter NCTA hiking stick medallions have arrived! These are available to purchase from the chapter at this weekend’s McConnell’s Mill Heritage Festival, at the Pumpkin Pie Hike on October 16th, or at the regular Wampum Chapter monthly meetings (while supplies last). Thanks to volunteer Tracy Hager’s hard work to get [...]

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August 2016 Trail Work Report

August 23, 2016

  Natural bridge along the NCT at McConnell’s Mill This month’s shout out and kudos goes to our Wampum Chapter Volunteer Trail Maintainers.  As we’ve added more miles of off-road North Country Trail segments over the past several years the need has become acute to have people willing to get out and work with a [...]

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