PA State Game Lands 95: Trail Project Highlight
The NCTA Butler County Chapter in Pennsylvania was awarded a grant to rehabilitate and rebuild bridges and boardwalks, and to armor the North Country Trail through State Game Lands 95.
Part of the Trail runs through eastern Massasauga rattlesnake habitat, a snake that is classified as endangered. As a result, trail work in this area must be done between early November through the end of March.
In January 2021, NCTA Regional Trail Coordinator Tom Moutsos sited and laid out a replacement bridge with Butler County Chapter President Dave Adams. In early February, Dave and Tom were joined by five Butler County Chapter volunteers to clear some small trees, move the current bridge to a temporary location and set the foundations. The next step is to install bridge stringers.
There are five other bridges and a lot of boardwalk that will be rebuilt as well, but they are outside of the snake habitat so that work won’t take place until the summer. The bridge in the accompanying photo (left) will be replaced soon. It is about 20 years old and has fallen into the small creek it crosses, and the foundation of the bridge was in danger of again falling into the creek. Because the creek bed has widened, the bridge is now too short to be correctly sited with the Trail, with slippery, steep ramps leading to the deck on either side. The new bridge will be 32 feet long and both foundations will be set far enough back from the creek bed that erosion should not be a problem.