Will Krift of Trails Anonymous provided his expertise, volunteer supervision, and operation of a mini excavator to ensure a final product everyone can all be proud of.
“Working with Will is always great. He is a talented trail builder who knows how to make hard work fun,” said trail volunteer Gene “The Machine” Lemmenes.
“This has been the most complex project undertaken by Bayfield Area Trails to date due to the trail length, the relative inaccessibility of the route, and transporting equipment and materials,” observed John Ipsen, BATs Trails Subcommittee member and dedicated volunteer. “Xcel Energy has been great to work with, allowing us to use the power line road to access the trail,” he added. “That access greatly reduced the amount of time spent by volunteers to get to the trail.”
Building a Bridge Slideshow
In advance of building the trail tread, Ted May, Peter Rothe, and Kate Kitchell used chainsaws, loppers, and muscle to clear the trail corridor. While Will and volunteers built the trail tread, Sean Reagan led the construction of a small bridge to protect a drainage on top of the plateau as well as facilitate emergency access. He also mowed between the power line and the Jolly Long Trail to make the final trail connection.
Altogether, 34 volunteers contributed over 320 hours working on the new trail, flagging the trail corridor, cutting trees and small shrubs, removing stumps, hauling and dispersing trail vegetation, and raking a smooth four-foot-wide tread. After the snow melts next spring, follow-up work will address drainage and other residual needs to create a finished trail.
In 2022, BATs received $21,150 from donations and grants to kick off the project. This recent trail-building cost a little over $11,000, leaving funding available to put toward the cost of constructing a substantial steel or fiberglass reinforced plastic bridge to cross Pikes Creek that will withstand the periodic high-water events that can flash through the riparian corridor. To achieve this second phase of the trail in the summer of 2023, BATs will continue fundraising for the bridge, expected to cost as much as $55,000.
For now, the trail is best accessed via the Jolly Long trail at Mt. Ashwabay. The creek crossing bridge from the Hatchery trail is not in place yet. Stay tuned for opportunities to help with this next important phase of construction.
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