Project Duration: Phase 1, 2002 – 2004 / Phase 2, 2005-2007
Current Status: both phases completed
Londonderry Trailways is very active in upgrading hiking and biking opportunities in the Musquash Conservation Area. In March 2002 we received word that our second grant application to the NH DRED, Bureau of Trails has been approved for funding! This was the $9700 Musquash Trails Improvement Project for bridges, signage and maps. In March of 2005 we were fortuante enough to be funded again this time the $8080 project was for entrance gates, bollards, equipment and an updating of the trail map. In both cases the grants paid for 75% of the costs and 25% was in volunteer “sweat equity”.
We estimate there to be 10-15 miles of existing recreational trails already in the Musquash. Many of which are cut off by swamp water and overgrowth of brush.
- brush needs to be cut back, continuously,
- trails need to be routed away from wet areas,
- bridges are needed in about a dozen areas,
- a trail map needs to be generated,
- trail blazing (paint swatch on trees) to match the map is needed,
- signage is needed all over,
- trash always needs to be picked up
- a specific master “to do list” needs to be generated and prioritized,
Here’s a rundown of our progress (working backwards from most recent):
September 14, 2002 – Finish trail rerouting and work on bridge approaches for one of the new bridges, 2 people, 6 volunteer hours
August 26, 2002 - One bridge connecting the Landing and Overlook trails was built, 10 people, 35 volunteer hours
July 13, 2002 – One bridge built, some trail rerouting at a major intersection, 12 people, 44 volunteer hours. The bridge was built by nailing new treads to two long logs spanning a marshy area of the Overlook Trail. The trail junction of the Betty Mack and the Overlook trails had become wet and rutted from overuse and heavy rains this summer. The crew rerouted the Overlook trail around the wet area, shoring it up with logs and rocks, and then reconstructed the trail intersection making the junction drier and easier to locate.
June 1, 2002 – Grant funded phase 1 work begins – Two bridges built, 16 people, 86 volunteer hours. 8 sixteen-foot sections of boardwalk were assembled at the home of a gracious neighbor and were then hitched to a (properly permitted) ATV and transported to the bridge sites. Once on site, they were arranged and finished off. The project took over 7 hours and has improved hiking and biking through one of the nicest sections of trail in the Musquash.
September 2001 – Volunteer trail day to blaze more of the Scenic Overlook Trail and the Betty Mack Trail, to cut back the brush on both trails and to reroute another section of trail away from wetland. Three volunteers focused 4 hours on making a very detailed master “to do list”. Having and prioritizing this list will allow LT to be more organized at trail days AND it will allow any other volunteer group (like the Girls and Boy Scouts) to have a list of projects to refer to when they are looking for service projects.
Musquash Trail Map Complete! After many volunteer hours by Peter Desantis, version 1.0 of the map is complete. It has been shown to the Conservation Commission and to the Town Council where it was met with great appreciation. Every Londonderry Trailways member has been mailed a hard copy of this map already. Every new member will also receive a copy of the map. Over the winter we will pursue funding sources to mass-produce this trail map on a higher quality paper.
June 2001 – We met again for a volunteer trail day where we cleared the scenic overlook of vast amounts of overgrown brush and we rerouted two sections of trail. Unlike most other trail days, chainsaws were involved this time. One section of trail was routed away from the edge of a wetland, where the trail was always muddy and the second section was routed away from a steep incline that was completely eroded by illegal motorized vehicle traffic.
What about the map?!? Continuing throughout the spring and summer of 2001, Peter Desantis lead an effort to map the Musquash with a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite System). This takes hours of riding and re-riding the trails and then hours on the computer with the topographical software.
September 2000 – we held our first volunteer trail day at the Musquash. We were overwhelmed by the volunteer turnout. (160 volunteer hours were logged in that one-day!). Once we got going, there was no stopping us. We suspect some of those trails NEVER looked this good!
- Two utility trailers full of trash were picked up, included an old mattress and an old bicycle.
- The loppers and weedwackers did an amazing job trimming back the branches from the trail. In some spots the trails were almost un-passable.
- The blazing job was just begun. The trail known as the “Overlook Trail” was blazed yellow and the “Betty Mack Trail” was blazed orange. Both are about half-complete and many other trails still need to be blazed as well.
- The Musquash sign and kiosk at the Hickory Hill Drive entrance have a fresh coat of dark brown stain and look marvelous.
We had excellent volunteers, excellent weather, and it produced excellent results. What we collectively accomplished was FAR MORE than we expected in one day.