Narragansett Chapter Trails Committee

Dav Cranmer, Trails Chair

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General Notices

Chapter members interested in helping prepare trails and bridges for summer hikes by brushing, blazing and painting please contact the trails chair person. Indicate days and times that you prefer to volunteer. No experience necessary.

If any members or leaders find trail damage that should be repaired or looked at, please use this email Form to report the problem. If you have a camera, a photo would be useful.

AMC Adopt-a-Trail Notice

Outdoors.org Listings

How To ....

How to build a Bog Bridge

2016 Trail Projects

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Arcadia CCC Pavilion Restoration, Fall 2016

This Pavilion was built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) about 1936-1938, as part of a "Day-Use, Recreational Picnic Area". Over the years the building had deteriorated such that it was a non-functional building. The AMC obtained from the Trails Advisory Committee (TAC) a RIDEM grant of $4000 with the obligation that we contribute at least the equivalent of 20% of the grant in labor valued at $25/hr. So far about 1000 hours (about 60% AMC members) have resulted in an almost completed project after 4 days of site work. Offsite work has been done in Dominic's shop in Wickford. The project leader is Dominic D. Zachorne and assisted by co-leader Kerry Robinson.

The building is being restored in the same modified Post & Beam construction as the original building was constructed. The lumber came from the DEM forestry dept. from local forests and was milled to specification by them for the project. Additional trailwork in area has included; putting in a bog bridge, stepstones, waterbars, clearing debris, excavating historic stonework and re-habbing the backpacking sites. The AMC has been assisted by many other community members who are local hikers, and acquaintances of leaders. When finished the Pavilion will be open to anyone to use for picnicking or resting, at any time, such as it has always been.

View Photos (Kerry Robinson)

2015 Trail Projects

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Wood River Bridge Project, July-Aug, 2015

The Chapter was awarded a $100,000 Recreational Trails Program grant in 2013 to construct a bridge over the Wood River on the Mt. Tom Trail. The purpose of the bridge is to eliminate the need to walk on Rt 165 in order to cross the river. Over the following 1 1/2 years, an engineering firm was contracted to obtain necessary data needed to apply for a wetlands permit which was finally issued in October 2014. A fiberglass truss bridge was selected and an engineering firm was contracted to design the concrete abutments. The abutments were installed by a contractor in May 2015. The bridge was ordered and it was delivered unassembled on July 11, 2015. Assembly was done in the east parking area over the next 12 days by many volunteers and was lifted into place by a crane contractor on July 23, 2015.

ADA compliant access ramps of our own design were built over the next 6 weeks, again by many volunteers. Oak trim and ADA compliant handrails were added to finish the project on August 29, 2015. The Trails Committee is grateful to the many volunteers, including members of the Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited, who contributed a total of nearly 1100 hours to this project allowing the project to be completed in a timely manner.

The bridge has a span of 65 feet with an additional 65 feet of access ramps.

View Photos (Jim Dowling)

2014 Trail Projects

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Wood River Bridge Site Preparation, Nov. 8, 2014

View Photos (by Dav Cramer)

Burlingame Trail Project Sept. 5-7, 2014

A variety of trail projects were worked on at Burlingame State Park with participation in boardwalk building, trail hardening, and brushing. After trail work, a members could swim, and join a group dinner in the evening at campsite.

View Photos (Bob Tessitore)

National Trails Day Bridging Project, June 7-8, 2014

This year's National Trail Day Weekend event was a great success with a huge amount of work accomplished over Saturday and Sunday. A few volunteers took advantage of the free campsites offered for the weekend, but most commuted for one or two days work. The primary project goal of making significant improvements to a few sections of the Walkabout trail where it is very muddy and wet year-round, such that hikers will be able to comfortably pass through these sections, was met with dedication, fun, and camaraderie. Many timber beam bridges and extensive stretches of log corduroy were constructed under the leadership and direction of Chris Shaffer, our chapter Activities Chair. Volunteers from our chapter, as well as from Tony Chernasky's crew at RI Hiking Club, (with many belonging to both clubs), worked together with the highest degree of cooperation, enthusiasm, and commitment. A lot of the work was difficult. Heavy lumber and tools all had to be hand carried down the trail to the construction sites. Logs for the corduroy were harvested on site from nearby woods and then rolled, dragged, and carried to the installation sites. All was completed safely, with the end results being a lot of high quality workmanship and a lot of very tired but very happy volunteers. Unfortunately not everyone made it to the photo gallery, but then that's not what we were there for, We were there to work. And I can tell you... EVERYONE WORKED, AND WORKED HARD! It was hot, it was dirty, and it was buggy... and everyone still gave 100%. (B. Tessitore)

View Photos (Bob Tessitore)

2013 Trail Projects

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2012 Trail Projects

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Environmental Council of Rhode Island, John H. Chafee Conservation Leadership Award

The Narragansett Chapter's Trails Committee was honored on May 4th at a festive event held by the Environment Council of RI. Twenty-three AMC members were present to receive the prestigious Senator John Chafee Award for outstanding conservation contributions to our state by preserving 60 miles of hiking trails through RI. Heartiest congratulations to our Trails Committee volunteers for all the work they have done for 85 years - and for all they do year-round to keep our trails safe and beautiful. Read more...

2011 Trail Projects

Trail Maintenance Training Workshop with REI and AMC

This is a grant from REI awarded to AMC’s Narragansett Chapter for training volunteers on trail maintenance techniques.

View photos (Jim Dowling)

Trail Crew Volunteers busy with Maxwell May's Trail

The Narragansett Chapter Trail Maintenance crew has been diligently working on Audubon Society’s Maxwell May's Trail throughout the summer. This past winter, Audubon asked the trails crew to help them develop a new trail on their newly acquired Maxwell May's property in Coventry.

Several trails volunteers have been busily dedicated to two projects – planning the trail and the refurbishing of the donkey shed. The crew readily took on tasks – walking the field, noting GPS coordinates, and flagging the trail. The lower loop is almost developed with trimming and clearing dead fall being among the last tasks. Clearing huckleberry and monitoring the pond area for trail wetness is a future chore.

The donkey shed on the property, used as an informational entryway, was made structurally sound and rotted wood was replaced. A new roof and painting are left to be done. “It would have been a shame to demolish it as it now provides shelter on a rainy day and retains an aesthetic link to the property,” said Roy Benoit, trail crew volunteer.

The Mays trail development crew incuded: Mike Parker, Jennie Crooks, Jim Dowling, Henry and Martha Cruciani, Roy Benoit, Steve Higgins, Fred Griffith, Maria Earley and Chris Shafer. The Donkey Shed renovation crew included: Roy Benoit, Jim Dowling, Henry Cruciani.

Marking the trail.

Dedication Ceremony

2010 Trail Projects

Burlingame State Park Trail Weekend, Sept. 10-12, 2010

This year's event on Sept. 10-12 consisted of Friday and Saturday camping at Burlingame campground, Sat. trail work on mostly the Gormley trail as well as some work on the North-South trail south of the Gormley trail, Sat. evening community meal at one of our campsites, and Sun 8 mile hike on Gormley trail. We had about 60 people attending the trail improvement event, about 25 people attending the Sat. meal and campfire, about 20 people that camped over, and about 20 people that did the Sun. hike. Those attending the trail project, camping, and Sat. evening meal activities included AMC, RINEMBA, and Westerly Track and Athletic Club members (these three separate organizations all use the the Gormley trail for their activities during the year); the Sunday hike consisted only of AMC members, as far as I know. I would estimate that about 35 of the 60 people attending the trail improvement event were AMC members.

Our trail improvements on the Gormley trail included installing a covering layer (geofabric blanket topped with gravel)over muddy areas on the trail, building a boardwalk bridge over a deeply eroded area, leveling existing boardwalks that had been affected by the spring floods, building waterbars and steps in other eroded areas of the trail, as well as filling in significant depressions on the trail with soil or gravel, and brushing of scattered sections of the trail. We also did brushing and blazing on the North-South trail south of the Gormley trail. We had approximately 7 different work crews spread out over a large area and different sections of the trails. (C.Shafer)

Photos of trail work.(J&BCrooks)

Bridge Repairs on the Ben Utter Trail, May 15, 2010

The recent reconstruction of the bridge on the Ben Utter trail which had been destroyed by the spring flood illustrates a method similar to others we did in the past. This system has proven to be resistant to heavy flow rates but the design has not been recorded.

After studying the options a design involving two intermediate piers was the agreed upon solution.

First, the abutments at both ends were constructed. In this case, the bridge is four feet wide and forty-two feet long. Taught lines were strung from each abutment four feet apart to mark the path of the new bridge. After determining the location of the piers, short strings were tied to the lines and were used a rudimentary ‘plumb bobs’ (we used machine nuts as the ‘bobs’). This gave us the exact locations of the four corners to build the piers.

That area was excavated sufficiently to allow the four foot 6 X6’s to be placed and leveled. The leveling of the base timbers in both directions is the critical part. Three quarter inch holes had been pre-drilled at each end of the timbers using a ‘jig’ to ensure that all the holes were exactly the same distance apart. Once the base course timbers were in place ½” rebar was driven through the four holes into the soil. In this case, five foot long pieces were adequate. It now became a simple project to just drop successive courses over the rods until the proper height was reached. At this point the timber piers were in-filled with stones. Additional stones were stacked around the outside to act as buffers against current erosion.

On this project we were able to salvage a good portion of the old bridge. On a new project, the same method could be used and construct appropriate beams to span from the abutments to the center of the piers to support the deck. In this case the beams consisted of two 2 X 12’s bolted together but size can be modified as required. (R. Benoit)

View photos of repair. (JCrooks)

Mt. Tom Trail Bridge Repair, April 17, 2010

Due to the historical record rain on March 31, 2010, a bridge on the Mt. Tom Trail in Arcadia Management Area was lifted and shifted off its foundation by the swollen stream. The Trail Committe had to lift and drag the bridge back to the trail crossing as seen in the photos.

Photos of bridge repair. (JCrooks)

2009 Trail Projects

Penny Hill Trail Signs, June 13 2009

Signs were placed at either end of the Penny Hill section of the Breakheart Trail.

Photos of work. (FGriffith)

Whitney Bridge Maintenance, May 23, 2009

Whitney Bridge cleaning and painting.

Photos of bridge work. (HCruciani)

Tippecansett Trail Improvement Project, May 2, 2009

The bridge construction work was on the southern most portion of the Tippecansett trail, south of Rt. 138 and just north of the north end of the Narragansett trail. As you can see from the photos, one bridge was built across a stream/muddy area and the other bridge replaced an eroded bridge (one or more of the photos shows the existing eroded bog bridge, prior to our replacing it last Saturday.) Each bridge, consisted of approximately two 20 foot long stringers (logs) supported by a log sleeper at each end of the bridge. Some of the photos show the work crew carrying/dragging the logs to be used for the bridge from the location where the tree was felled to the bridge site. We then stripped the logs of their bark (as this provides a longer life for the log, since otherwise rain would get inside the bark and create rot.) Then after placing the sleepers at their desired locations, we notched the sleepers so that the stringers could be placed in the notch and then attached the stringers to the sleepers with spikes, then flattened the top of the logs, using a chainsaw and ax, to create a desireable walking surface. (CShafer)

Photos of trail work. (HCruciani)

2008 Trail Projects

Arcadia Management Area work on Ben Utter Trail, November 22, 2008

The Narragansett chapter trails committee continues to improve the Ben Utter trail in Arcadia Management area in Exeter, RI.

Photos of trail work. (JCrooks)

AMC Members Erect Fence to Save Blackstone Bluffs, October 25, 2008

Late in October members of the Conservation and Trails committees working with the Friends of the Park and supervised by the Providence Parks Department constructed a classic split rail fence at Blackstone Park, Providence. The fence routes walkers away from the eroding and crumbling bluffs overlooking the mouth of the Seekonk River. The new routing is on a wider, safer trail that was upgraded to handle more walkers.

Chapter volunteers have completed trail repair and improvement projects as well as water bar installations at the Park each year since 2004. Eroded trails and informal trails have also been closed. The results: reduced erosion. Better trails have improved use. AMC is now helping Friends of the Park to develop a plan to stabilize the bluff by planting trees and shrubs and provide long term solutions for the wide spread erosion problems. The plan would include options for improved public utilization of the superb location of this large, rustic, urban park by the river. (JSchempp)

Photos of the fence construction. (JBoodon)

Blackstone Park, Earth Day Project, April 19, 2008

This Earth Day Projoct helped in restoring the charming but neglected Blackstone Park (Providence East Side). Many walkers of all ages are now using the trails. This project upgraded another worn section, including clearing winter debris, placing & raking wood chips, placing edging to define trail width, and help shoring up eroded areas. (MK)

Photos of the trail work. (JBoodon)

March 27, 2008 Lumber lift by National Guard to Ell and Long Ponds for new bridge.

To enable the chapter's trails committee to replace some worn-out log bridging over a stream and its approaches on the Narragansett trail near Long Pond/Ell Pond, an efficient means of bringing the lumber materials to the site were needed. Manually carrying the lumber from the trailhead to the bridge site was ruled out, due to the extensive amount of materials and the difficult trail terrain. Bringing the materials in by boat on Long Pond or sliding the material on the ice on this Pond during the wintertime was investigated and ruled out as not being possible. The only other option was to airlift the materials. The Army National Guard was contacted in late 2006 and an airlift was initially scheduled in 2007, but was ultimately postponed due to National Guard support personnel being unavailable on the scheduled date. Eventually, the airlift was re-scheduled to March 27, 2008 and the airlift was successfully carried out. The lumber was brought from the lumber supplier to the parade field at Boy Scout Camp Yawgoog and divided into three bundled loads. The Blackhawk helicopter airlifted each of loads (in three separate flights) the one mile distance to the drop point, a rock ledge above and next to the trail near the bridge site. The loads were lifted from the ground and eased to the ground using a sling and hook method, to enable the helicopter to hover above the loading/unloading points, during the transfer of the materials. This was the first time in the history of our Chapter, that we have moved trail project materials by this method. (CSchafer)

The principals that were involved in the airlift include:

Blackhawk Helicopter Lumber Lift

2 minute (60MB) Helmet Cam of Third Load

Staging Field (JCrooks)

Photos of Lift (MParker)

Final Bridge Construction (SKelley)

2007 Trail Projects

New Chapter Tool Shed for Trail Maintenance

This toolshed cost approximately $3000 to build the structure, plus an additional $500 to outfit the interior of the shed with various necessities. The $3000 structural cost was covered by a grant the Narragansett Chapter got from the Rhode Island State Trail Advisory Committee (federal money) and the $500 interior costs was covered by a special project fund grant we got from the AMC. The chief volunteers who constructed the shed and outfit the interior included Henry Cruciani, Roy Benoit, Jim Dowling, and Bob Holcombe. Jennie Crooks, Bob Holcombe, and Martha Cruciani performed the painting of the shed.

Enlarge Photo

March 31, 2007 Barrington’s Veterans Memorial Park

Trails & Conservation Earth Day Projects: AMC Members and friends spruced up three parks and collected obsolete computers for recycling during the Earth Day period. Chris Shafer and Henry Cruciani lead an AMC-REI team of 30 in building board walks and removing debris in Barrington Memorial Park. Barbara Flagg, Jack Schempp headed a productive group, a mix of AMC and Roger Williams U. international members, who restored the appearance of a section of Colt State Park. Their work commended by the Providence Journal in a story featuring Barbara's comments. On Earth Day, 10 AMC members, a squad from Bryant University and a neighborhood group installed earthen stairs and water bars at Neutaconkanut Park under the tutelage of Chris Shafer. The work will reduce erosion of a scenic trail, a step in the restoration of a park offering great views. Meanwhile, Leader Linda Pease created an AMC obsolete computer recycling station-trailhead at the Johnston landfill and followed up with a hike though the mysterious Snake Den Park. Participants enjoyed good weather, interesting work, new friendships and the satisfaction of improving recreational open space. JS LP

Photos of Barrington’s Veterans Memorial Park Project

June 2, 2007 Breakheart Trail Construction

The photos show the sequence of constructing a rock turnpike to span a wet area of the trail. It included laying down two logs that created the edges of the rock turnpike. Then large rocks were placed against the logs to hold them in place as well as covering the inside of the turnpike. Then small rocks were placed to fill the voids between the various large rocks and to top the large rocks. Then a layer of soil was placed over the rocks to create the trail top surface. One photo of the Breakheart trail photos shows a small bridge that we are making improvements around (filling with soil and small rocks some eroded areas adjacent to the bridge, so as to maintain the integrity of the bridge.)

Photos of trail construction

2006 Trail Projects

April 22, 2006 (Earth Day) - Francis C. Carter Preserve Project

Our first project of the year was a joint endeavor with the Conservation Committee. Although it was cold and cloudy we were able to build six board walks (a total of 72 feet) over a marshy area in the preserve. The pictures show the team cutting the wood, carrying carrying the material to the site about a quarter mile, the actual construction and the final product. The Francis C. Carter preserve consist of 841 acres of oak forest, pine barrens, wetlands, and grasslands Charlsetown, RI.

Photos of Francis C. Carter Preserve Project

April 28, 2006 - Corduroy on the Narragansett Trail

The Narragansett Chapter of the AMC's Trails Committee has maintained the Narragansett Trail, including the section that goes through Camp Yawgoo, together with the Boy Scouts, since it was laid out in the early 1930's. There is a section of the trail near a stream that is usually muddy. Bikes attempting to ride through the mud were deepening the treadway causing more water to fill the depressions. There is no way to drain this area as there is swamp on one side and a hill on the other. Corduroy, which is a structural unit composed of a series of logs placed perpendicular on the trail provides a method of crossing wet area. Corduroy is a 7-10 year fix to facilitate walking on the original path rather than to the sides of the trail thereby widening the trail. As it rots, it adds "fill" to the footpath. The pictures show the view before the corduroy was put in and after it was finished.

Photos of Narragansett Trail Project

June 3, 2006 (National Trails Day) - Penny Hill area on the Breakheart Trail

The Breakheart trail at Penny Hill has become severely eroded during the past 10-15 years, resulting in the trail becoming increasingly difficult to use for recreational purposes and also becoming very unsightly. Our Narragansett chapter trails committee proposed to the DEM Division of Forest Environment to make vast improvements to this section and, because of its fragile condition and based on the types of improvements to be made, to make the Penny Hill section a hiker only trail, with other user groups diverted to the bypass trail. DEM approved our request.

We determined that a series of log steps and waterbars would enable the trail to be stabilized and result in proper control of rainwater flow down the trail to minimize further erosion. The first task was establishing a plan for the layout of the steps and waterbars. A series of stakes were planted in March at the desired locations both north and south of the hill’s summit, as well as determining the appropriate sizes of the steps and waterbars to be built. Due to a lack of fallen trees of sufficient size in the Penny Hill area, we checked off-site locations for our log supply and obtained DEM’s permission to use a former tree cutting area in the Arcadia Mgt. area as the source, since many fallen red pine trees were still available at that site. The fallen trees were cut to proper size and the bark was stripped off as a preservative measure. The logs were then trucked to the site’s trailhead.

During a series of work days from June 3 to June 17, we carried the logs from the trailhead to the Penny Hill area and implanted the logs at the desired locations. Approximately 32 steps and 6 waterbars were implanted, from the efforts of approximately 35 volunteers for a total of 310 hours. The steps varied in length from 5 feet to 12 feet and waterbars varying from approximately 10 foot length to 40 foot length were implanted. Preliminary signage was also established at the approaches to Penny Hill from the South and the North, directing the non-hiker user groups to the by-pass trail.

The following pictures show the crew hard at work in the various phases of the project: Stripping the Logs, carrying the Logs, implanting the logs, and the final results.

Photos of Breakheart Trail Project

September 9, 2006 - Vin Gormley Trail Work at Burlingame

Many projects were completed today by a group of 30 hard working volunteers for a total of 200 hours. We built approximately eight boardwalks on various sections of the Vin Gormley trail, added ramps to some existing boardwalks on that trail and on another section of the north-south trail, installed stepping stones and some temporary walkways, and filled in some depressions near the covered bridge.

Photos of Burlingame Trail Project

2005 Trail Projects

View Photos of 2005 Projects

Narragansett Chapter Trails Committee (1921-2001)

2001 was the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Narragansett Chapter of the AMC. To celebrate this milestone, Jennie Crooks, Marjorie Gaunt, and Ann Perkins of the Trails Committee updated a brief history that was written in 1984. Look at old photos and read about of this interesting Narragansett Chapter Trails history.

Leadership Requirements

The overall AMC Leadership Requirements and Guidelines will apply to all our leaders. will apply to all our leaders.

Trail Leader Category Minimum Projects Co-Led
(of this category of trailwork)
Brushing/Blazing 1
Stone Work (rock turnpikes, step stones, etc.) 2
Boardwalks/Bog Bridges 3
Steps/Waterbars 3
Bridges/Construction Projects Depends on experience and approval of committee
Trail Crew Leader (Designing, planning, and overseeing projects) Depends on experience and approval of committee

"Many hands make light work." -- John Heywood

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