Congratulations to volunteers with the Bayfield Area Trail Stewards (BATS)—18 of them!--who are working hard on improvements to the Gil Larsen Trail—also known as the Iron Bridge Trail—in Bayfield’s Big Ravine.
On June 12, 13, 26 and 27, under the leadership of professional trail builder Will Krift of Trails Anonymous in Ashland, the group began construction of a new, sustainable walking trail; they have completed three new creek crossings and several rock retaining walks, and they have improved drainage. Ultimately the work will double the length of the trail, also flattening it for easy travel.
Krift identified the trail route and flagged it. Using hand tools, volunteers cleared vegetation, established trail tread approximately four to six feet wide, created the proper slope and drainage to mitigate erosion issues, and constructed rock creek crossings and retaining walls. Certified operators did some chain saw work.
Many of the trails through the Big Ravine already exist as “social trails” developed by people finding their own way. These social trails can cause damage to vegetation and soils, and also present safety concerns. This project aims to construct the trails to protect resources, ensure safety, and provide a quality walking experience for citizens and visitors.
The next work sessions are July 10, 11, 24 and 25. Work will focus on constructing trail access into the Ravine from the end of Sweeny Avenue off of 2nd Street and, after that, a trail link between the Gil Larsen Trail and the Iron Bridge. Signs will be installed to mark trails and provide clear direction.
The Gil Larsen Trail can be accessed from parking lot on Washington Ave. Work sessions will continue through the summer, every other Friday and Saturday.