A Summer in the Woods
Every morning I wake up at 6 a.m. I drink my coffee then bike to the garage where the team meets at 7 a.m. before heading out into the Land and Garden Preserve. We hop in the John Deere gators and drive to work. As the early morning sea fog starts to clear, the mountain across Little Long Pond reveals itself. My team and I take the canoes or hike to our work site, and the day is spent rerouting trails. The natural lands team reroutes the trails to prevent ecological damage to the natural environment and guard against erosion which negatively effects the water quality of Little Long Pond.
When we reroute trails we cut the layer of roots and top material, called duff, making piles of everything along the sides of the new trail. Once we have gotten down to the soil part (in most cases called mineral soil or sometimes clay), we then find small rocks or medium rocks to pound into the soil areas, known on the trail as crush. This allows for a more stable surface and base layer.
We dig borrow pits in the woods away from the trail to retrieve sand, clay, or rocks to help the process of crushing and filling the new trail. If a step needs to be put into the trail, large rocks are scouted from across the mountainside in the woods, and worked carefully and meticulously into the tread of the trail. Each reroute takes about a week or so to complete from start to finish. The process is amazing to watch as each day passes and more and more work is done to the new trails. The finished product is incredibly satisfying to see and makes all the sweat and long tiring days even more worth it. All throughout the hard work the eagles, loons, bullfrogs, ospreys, and cicadas can be heard as the natural theme song for each day spent on the trails.
The Richard G. Rockefeller Internship has been such a fulfilling experience. I have enjoyed every minute of every day working on the trails in the Land and Garden Preserve. This has been such an amazing summer, and I want to thank MCHT and everyone at the Land and Garden Preserve for making me feel welcome and letting me share in their summer.
Katherine Sullivan worked for the Land and Garden Preserve as a 2021 Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Intern.