New Crushed Stone Pathway on Vernal Pool Trail at CRNP

By George Jutras, BTLT Land Steward
The Land Trust’s stewardship team has been hard at work for the last few weeks finishing up a much-needed infrastructure project on the Vernal Pool Trail at Cathance River Nature Preserve! The Vernal Pool Trail connects Rensenbrink Dr to the Highland Trail near the CREA Ecology Center as it runs through forest, over ledge, and by some wetland areas. A long series of old rotten bog bridges were first removed with the help of two Bowdoin College student volunteer groups, then the surface was prepped for the construction of a 120 foot crushed stone pathway. A crushed stone pathway is preferable to bog bridging in this area primarily due to the longevity of the materials. Bog bridges in the soil type found at CRNP can be only expected to last 2-3 years, and the crushed stone pathway should last significantly longer.
The pathway required digging and smoothing of the muddy soil to create a stable surface to build on, then the laying out of a geotextile fabric to help hold the foundational layers together. Next, 6 to 12 inch rocks were carefully placed in a strong jigsaw pattern to hold the ever-shifting path as it lives through future seasons of freeze and thaw cycles. After several layers of this careful stonework (known as rip-rap), a few final layers of gravel were spread on top to fill in gaps and create a smooth walking surface.
A huge THANK YOU to our many incredible stewardship volunteers who truly carried this project – without you we wouldn’t be able to tackle these amazing infrastructure projects!

GIS Mapping & Trail Markers

By Connor Rockett

One of the highlights of this past week was getting to work on GIS mapping. GIS is a program that helps design maps and incorporate a wide range of information into them. I worked with GPS data for a map of the Crystal Spring Farm trails and drafted a map of the upcoming Woodward Cove preserve. Since getting introduced to the program at the start of my internship in mid-June, I’ve started to get the hang of it little by little. Given the importance of GIS to environmental organizations, the experience I’ve gotten with it is useful for going further into this field of work.

I finished my week by eliminating old, faded trail markers at Cathance River Nature Preserve. Elimination blazing can take a lot out of you – between dealing with mosquitoes and scratching at tree bark, it takes some grit to push through it! If you get into a groove with it, your mind wanders off to think about whatever while you work – in that sense it can also be a relaxing task. What’s more, working outside in the beauty of the Maine summer is always uplifting.  Heading out of the trail system with sore arms and back, I was glad to have put in an honest day’s work and took my exhaustion as a good sign.

Over the course of the week, I again got to experience the variety of tasks involved in stewardship; on any given day, I might be working with mapping software or outside improving trails. Both types of work teach different skills and require different ways of solving problems that come up. All in all, I’m grateful to be spending my summer doing this diverse, varied work.

Cathance River Nature Preserve Summer Changes