The Chequamegon Chapter's last trail workday

Rick with the improvised cart being pulled by the DR mower

Rick with the improvised cart being pulled by the DR mower

Five hardworking Chequamegon Chapter volunteers, Mike Ryan, Kevin Schram, Peter Freiburger, Mary Stenberg, and Rick Pomerleau, participated in the trail maintenance event on Saturday, October 20. The project involved replacing the rotten decking boards on a bridge on the NCT near Esox Lake north of Drummond. The length of the wooden walkway bridge was extended from 25 feet to 45 feet. By extending the length of the bridge the approaches to the bridge were made less steep – better for hikers and better for getting the DR mower down, over and back up on this section of trail.

The decking material, 30 pieces of green treated 2” x 6” x 12’ lumber, was way too heavy to carry the, nearly, 1 mile to the bridge location. So, Western Trail Manager, Rick Pomerleau, built a two-wheeled cart that could be pulled behind the DR Mower. 8 pieces of lumber could safely (?) be carried on each load. The DR/cart was also used to haul in hand tools, the generator, and all of the nails and screws needed to complete the project. The DR Mower towing the 2 wheeled cart, stacked with 12 foot long lumber was a sight to behold. A total of 4 trips in and out were made. Despite the strength of those who walked beside the cart trying to steady it, the cart tipped over a few times (Darn those rocks!) All in all, it was a great way to get heavy materials to the work site.

The finished bridge/puncheon

The finished bridge/puncheon

The existing bridge was 6 feet wide. The rotten decking boards were being supported by 4 –25’ long, 8“x 10” wooden beams which were still in good shape. The two inside beams were left in place and the walkway was reduced to 3 feet wide. The two outside beams were cut in half and pulled up the hillside on both ends to create the extension. The whole process was an engineering feat! The group worked for nearly 5 hours on Saturday and completed about ¾ of the project.

Kevin, Peter, and Mike Ryan laying the first of the decking

Kevin, Peter, and Mike Ryan laying the first of the decking

On Sunday afternoon, October 21 (the weather was perfect), Mary Stenberg and Rick Pomerleau returned to the worksite along with Marty Swank. The trio finished seating and fastening the extension beams on the east end of the bridge and finished laying the deck boards on the bridge.

Kevin Schram, Peter Freiburger, and Mary Stenberg

Kevin Schram, Peter Freiburger, and Mary Stenberg

Today, a photo of the completed project was emailed to Teresa Maday of the Washburn District of the US Forest Service. Quoting Teresa, here is her reply: “Holy smokes you all are good! That bridge looks awesome!! Thanks again for another great job! Looks great! Please thank everyone for me.”

Teresa’s reply says it all. The new bridge is impressive, thanks to a great group of Chequamegon member volunteers. Get out, take a hike and walk across the beautiful new bridge.

Report and Pictures by Mary Stenberg

Bridge Engineering/Material Transportation Method and Crew Chief – Rick Pomerleau

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