Project Leader Name: Megan Petermann Project Dates: June 4, 2010 - Nov. 21, 2010 Email Address: email@example.com
SITES RESTORED 106
BLOWDOWNS REMOVED 160
TREAD RESTORATION 65’
TRAILS BRUSHED/MAINTAINED 107,164’
NEW TRAIL CONSTRUCTED 3,748’
ROADS CLOSED 14,512’
DRAIN DIPS 9 - 48’
DRAINAGE DITCHES 12 - 492’
ROCK WALLS 3 – 210’
ROCK STAIRS 6 – 37.5’
RUSTIC TIMBER RETAINING WALL 6 – 47’
ROCK TURNPIKE 1 – 12’
TOTAL STRUCTURES BUILT 29 – 492’
TOTAL STRUCTURES REMOVED 56 – 9’
SPRING INSTILLATION 2 – 4’
SPRING RESTORATION 1 – 9’
HORSE RAMPS CONSTRUCTED 1 – 60sq’
STREAM SIDE CLEARD FOR HORSES 1 – 60sq’
SLASH PILES MADE 119
TREES BUCKED 50
TREES FELLED 8
ANIMAL HABITAT CREATED 1
HOURS AGENCY MEMBERS WORKED WITH CREW 44
SIGNS/CARINS INSTALLED 93
GPS DATA COLLECTED 7 – 21,120’
INVASIVE PLANT CONTROL 82,700sq’
HISTORIC SITES RESTORED 16,587sq’
PARKING AREA CONSTRUCTED 2,646sq’
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and have since college; moved outwest, moved out east, and back to the west in Idaho. Idaho is where I like to spend my winters. I like to bike, hike, climb, and ski. I have been with SCA since 2008 as a trails member and look forward to being a project leader.
1491 Tyrell Lane
Boise, ID 83706
Mark A. Conley
Wilderness/NLCS Program Manager
BLM - California State Office
2800 Cottage Way
Sacramento, CA 95825
916 978-4641 (work)
916 978-4657 (fax)
Date Field Office Project
06/07/10-07/28/10 King Range Trail Maintenance
08/02/10-08/25/10 Arcata Wilderness Restoration
08/30/10-9/22/10 Bishop Wilderness Restoration(Inyo Mts)
09/27/10-10/21/10 Surprise Wilderness Study Area
Signing and Restoration
10/26/10-11/04/10 Alturas Wilderness Study Area
11/10/10-11/19/10 Piedras Blancas Site Restoration
Hitch Leader: David Nestor
Piedras Blanca’s, The final frontier. Well, the final frontier for the SCA 2010 Wild Corps. I can think of no better place to finish six months than this calm and beautiful light house. For the past two weeks we have been staying in bunk houses provided by the BLM on the Piedras Blanca’s point. This is easily one of the most incredible places we have stayed. In the mornings we stretch in the light rising over the mountains to our east. Working all day in the pacific sun and watching Seals, Sea Otters, Dolphins, and many other amazing sea creatures that move all around the light house. In the evenings we have been treated to some of the most spectacular sun sets you can find.
The Crew Worked on invasive plant removal and restoring a site where buildings once stood and are now being brought back to their natural beauty. The work and days seemed to slip by and now our time as a crew is almost over. This is our last hitch and it is the end of this Wild Corps’s six months together. We finished with gusto removing 82,700 square feet of invasive plants and prepping 16,587 square feet of ground for seeding. On the last day we slowly walked across the area we had worked so hard on and spread native seeds that will start growing in a matter of weeks.
We were also lucky enough to spend time with some people that make our work possible. On our last few days we where visited by Chris Sparks the Trail Corps Program Manager, who works very hard to make programs like this possible. With him came Mark Conley who is the BLM’s California Wilderness/NCLS Program manager. Mark is also responsible for making a trail crews and opportunities like the Wild Corps possible. It was a great opportunity for us to all get together and talk face to face about the season, program, and our experiences.
From Piedras Blanca’s the Wild Corps will be dispersing. Megan will be taking the truck and trailer back to Boise to do all the work that comes after our field time . Emily is flying home to Connecticut to be taken on a mystery vacation by her mother. Leah is headed home to Marietta Ohio for a short time before it’s off to school again to finish her degree. Erik will be slowly winding his way to Texas and eventually moving to New York. Chris is flying back to upstate New York with plenty of snowboarding and travel in the immediate future. David plans on traveling for a few weeks before landing back in Michigan.
The past six months have been some of the most amazing. We met up in Seattle as total strangers. From there we trained in the rain and mud, sat for hours in silence around camp fires, roamed the streets of major cities, completed a lot of very hard work, and ate a lot of food both good and bad. The best part is that we did it all together and built a community that allowed us all to learn and grow. Thank you SCA. Thank you BLM. Thank you Wild Corps 2010.
Hitch #11 – Alturas, Ca BLM Field Office
10/26/10 – 11/4/10
Hitch Leader: Chris Niebuhr
I can think of no better weather to work outside in than a clear, crisp autumn day. The chore of lacing work boots and walking out the door is made much easier on days like these. The WildCorps was fortunate enough to enjoy almost an entire hitch of these “perfect” days along with a tremendous view of the snow capped Warner Mountains of northern California. Hitch 11 provided us with a much appreciated escape from vertical mulching as well as the chance to blow the dust off of the crosscut saw that has been hanging on its hook in the trailer since we left the King Range. Due to a miscommunication, an area of a WSA in the Alturas BLM district was clear cut about 4 years ago of the junipers that have slowly encroached throughout the years. The area contains a spring ideal for wildlife, which has been enclosed by a fence in hopes of protecting it from being trampled by grazing cattle. We were given the job of cleaning up the mess of dead and down trees that scattered the hillsides surrounding this water source. Any trees that were big enough to be used as firewood were stripped of their limbs and cut into manageable sections to be moved out by an inmate crew. This wood will be given to less fortunate families and those unable to harvest enough for themselves. The scrap wood covering the ground both inside and outside of the enclosure was consolidated into “slash piles” which will be burned this winter. In total, we stacked 119 piles with 70 inside the fence and 49 outside. We also made a total of 50 crosscuts over the course of 10 days. During his final field visit, Claude expressed his desire to have the obvious line between the cut and the uncut areas blurred by removing select trees. After some instruction and demonstration by PL Megan we were able to get some hands on experience felling trees with a crosscut. 8 trees were cut total. Also, after hearing Claude share his extensive knowledge on the history of northern California we were fortunate to drive back to Alturas after lunch on day 8 and explore the Modoc County History Museum. The conclusion of Hitch 11 marks the beginning of the end for the WildCorps 2010 field season and although it may be bittersweet, we are grateful for the time spent working with Claude and the Alturas BLM field office.
Hitch Leader: Erik Schmahl
Hitch #10 was the Wild Corps second and final hitch working in northwest Nevada’s Wilderness Study Areas with the Surprise Valley BLM office. This hitch had a dynamic schedule and the crew completed a variety of tasks and was fortunate to work with some new faces from the agency. Overall, the work was satisfying and the multitude of projects helped break up the sometimes monotonous nature of desert restoration.
We met with our BLM contact, Kathryn Dyer, to discuss the hitch and formulate a schedule. As hitch leader, I allocated duties and oversaw the organization of materials we would need to bring into the field. Emily and Chris worked on a menu for the ten day hitch and packed the necessary food and produce. Dave and Leah organized the tools we would need to complete our projects and made sure that all of our base camp group gear was in order. Once all the food, gear, and personal gear was loaded into the rigs we made the drive north to Wall Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA). Kathryn gave the crew an educational lecture on the Aspen ecosystems that are found in and around Wall Canyon, and we proceeded to set up our base camp in the thick of an aspen grove.
We set off early for a day of road closures and desert restoration. We restored site #6; installed 1 carsonite sign, de-compacted and vertical mulched 160 feet of illegal road. We also restored site #8; installed 1 carsonite sign, de-compacted and vertical mulched 203 feet of illegal road. We spent the remainder of the afternoon scouting illegal routes that were shown on our map, but fortunately the passage of time since the map had been created was enough to restore the roads naturally, for we found no sight of them.
Days 3 and 4
We met up with the Seeds of Success Intern, Chris, and headed to a northern section of Wall Canyon WSA to check on some seed and learn a little bit more about the botany of the area. We then split the crew in two; half of us went with Chris to collect geographical data on some of the unmapped fence lines using a Trimble GPS unit, while the other half of the crew manually disassembled and removed an unmaintained barbed wire fence on a recently acquired BLM parcel. On day 4 we switched tasks and mapped more fences and removed another unmaintained barbed wire holding pen.
We packed up base camp in the morning in preparation to move to the southern end of Wall Canyon WSA. Along the way south we worked on more road closure projects. We restored site #9; installed 1 carsonite sign, de-compacted and vertical mulched 40 feet of illegal road. We restored site #6; installed 1 carsonite sign, de-compacted and vertical mulched 600 feet of illegal road. We set up base camp in the evening at a site near a creek.
We packed up base camp and then closed three road stems measuring 20ft each (sites #2, #3, and #4) using vertical and horizontal mulch as well as “iceberged” rocks to prevent OHV traffic. In the afternoon we drove back to Cedarville, Ca and spent the night in the BLM fire barracks so that we could meet up with Kathryn early in the morning.
In the morning we left the BLM office with Kathryn and the BLM Surprise wildlife specialist, Eli Flores, and headed to Massacre WSA. We spent the day with Kathryn and Eli learning about riparian ecosystems in the Great Basin. They walked us through a part of their management process known as Riparian Functional Analysis, were the agency assesses the vitality and sustainability of its riparian areas labeling them as “functional” or “at risk”. These RFA’s help the agency better manage these riparian areas. This educational day was productive and the crew learned about not only the ecosystems in which we work, but also how the agency works in these areas. Later we split up with Kathryn and Eli and made our way towards Bitner Ranch to set up base camp.
After a cold night (my water bottle was frozen solid in my tent when I woke up), we headed out for another day of road restorations. We restored site #4; installed 1 carsonite sign, de-compacted and vertical mulched 283 feet of illegal road. The terrain and spacing between sites made for a day spent mostly in the trucks. After discovering that the construction of an enormous pipeline outside the WSA had blocked the majority of our access roads, we restored site #2 (the only site we could gain access to); installed 1 carsonite sign, de-compacted and vertical mulched 240 feet of illegal road. We headed back to base camp and prepared for another cold night (potentially our last night in the field for the season).
We packed up base camp and drove back to Cedarville in order to meet up with Kathryn and Bob Wick from the state office. Bob has been with the BLM for quite a while and is very knowledgeable in all facets of the agency, as well as being the primary photographer featured in most of the BLM’s posters and postcards. Bob and Kathryn gave us a lecture on wilderness and the BLM’s stance as a management agency. We discussed the politics of wilderness as well as the history of the agency. It was a great opportunity to pick their brains on any subject regarding the agency with which we had been working for the last five months. Later that evening we had a cookout at Kathryn’s house and had an opportunity to socialize with our BLM contacts outside of work, it was a very nice gesture and everyone ate themselves sick - a nice ending to a very informative and fun day.
We woke up early and went through the usual post-hitch routine. We cleaned and performed preventative maintenance on the tools and group gear, as well as inventoried our remaining food and made a shopping list for next hitch. As project leader, I completed the post-hitch summary and service log as well as the post hitch report. We also washed and detailed the BLM rigs which we had dirtied over the course of the last ten days of off-road driving. Crew members logged their hours and organized their personal gear before calling it quits for the day, for the hitch, and for Surprise Valley.
Hitch Leader: David Nestor
After a short break between the town of Bishop that sits just to the east of the Sierra Mountains and Surprise Valley, Wild Corps members found themselves ready for work again. After two hitches of road closures Wild Corps is now well versed in the subtle techniques to use when erasing roads. These skills served them well because the Wilderness Study Areas in the Surprise Valley were ripe with closures waiting to happen. After meeting the BLM contact and making plans for the following days Wild Corps members prepared themselves and their equipment for the next hitch.
The first site to feel the wrath of this road closing tornado was an area called Buffalo Hills. The beautiful sun sets and rocky outcroppings that made up the background of this area were a perfect fit for the team. They set out closing five roads, placing five signs at the head of each and doing a total of 1,609 linear feet of road restoration. While here Wild Corps members were lucky enough to see wild horses, prong horned antelope, and a massive golden eagle. After finishing these sites the appetite of this crew was not satiated, they wanted more roads to close and so, moved camp to the next location.
Sheldon Contiguous Wilderness Study Area was the next chosen area for road decommissioning. Here the crew labored under the hot clear sky while admiring the stunning desert landscape that surrounded them. Here 12 roads fell victim to the crew and none survived, all were erased from the serene sage brush ecosystem after 2,513 linear feet of desert restoration. Sheldon Contiguous proved hot during the day and cold during the night until the last day. The crews last day at this location was a beautiful one because after four and a half months without seeing a drop of rain the desert skies opened up and dropped cool rain across the great basin brush.
After making it back to the BLM bunks for the night the crew woke up the next day ready for a muddy attempt up to the Wall Canyon Area. Some of those in Wild Corps showed great 4x4 driving skills this day. Megan and Chris piloted their trucks carefully up the steep road until it was decided that it was unsafe and turning around was the best choice. The way down proved even more difficult to navigate. The alkaline soils turned out to be as slippery as ice once rain had been on them and it took the crew three and a half hours to carefully creep their way down to main road. The next day a BLM Fuels Crew drove up with Wild Corps and powered the vehicles up in to the project site where the crew was able to close two more roads and do another 300 feet of restoration.
After a hitch of 20 road closures, wild animals, 4,331 feet of restoration, rain, and some of the most interesting driving some on the crew have ever been a part of, the Wild Corps now cleans and stows their gear for a short time. A nice five day break awaits the crew and soon all will be back to continue the much needed work here in Surprise Valley.
Hitch Leader: Emily Gelanto
Hitch 8: Inyo Mountains, Bishop, CA
Day 1: Today was the first day of our second hitch in Bishop. We got up early, packed up our camp and trailer at Horton Campground, and set off to do some food shopping and other preparatory errands in town. We then met up with Scott Justham, our BLM contact, packed up the rigs, and began our 3 hour drive to the Inyo Mountains where we’d be camping. The roads up to our campsite are pretty rough. One point of the journey is called “The Gauntlet,” which appropriately conveys how ridiculous this road is. We made it up safetly, set up base camp, and got to know Dave Kirk, a Mt. Whitney ranger/local famous artist, that would be working with us for the next few days.
Day 2: We started the day by working on a site that amounts nearly half a mile! We did some vertical mulching and decompaction of soil to erase the traces of an old road. We were having lunch at the old, abandoned Burgess Mine when we saw a NAVY rescue helicopter drop something in the distance, and then proceed to circle us in the air! So we spent the greater part of an afternoon searching for what the helicopter dropped, while also exploring the N.Y. Butte trail. After we searched to no avail, we continued working and finished off the site for the day!
Day 3: We finished 6 restoration sites today, and after such great work we went back to our campsite for some native Mormon Tea, which we picked ourselves.
Day 4: We worked through 8 more sites today, and unfortunately had to say goodbye to Dave Kirk. However, Scott Justham came to help us out for the next few days and brought us 2 dozen donuts, which were gone in about 5 minutes.
Day 5: Since we were working so outstandingly, Scott took us on a hike through the N.Y. Butte trail. We signed the register (representing SCA!) and then continued to hike around the area. We spontaneously decided to hike an interesting peak we saw in the distance which turned out to be called Survivor Peak. The last person to sign the register signed it 5 years ago! The hike was amazing and rewarding and we got to see a lot more of the Inyo Mountains!
Day 6: We moved 2 signs around our campsite to better convey the wilderness boundary, and then finished a site that ended up being over 2000 feet long!
Day 7: We finished 2 sites today, and also got the chance to meet up with Scott again, as well as Bernadette, the Bishop BLM Manager. Again, they brought us 2 dozen donuts which were quickly demolished leaving us all not wanting donuts for a day or so. Bernadette wanted our feedback, which we greatly appreciated, and we tossed around some great ideas for the future of the program.
Day 8: We drove up to the historic Salt Tram Transfer Station and did some clean up work around there. Then Scott met up with us and we drove back to our campsite to do some more wilderness boundary work.
Day 9: We got up early, packed up our belongings, tools and group gear and started the drive out. We did some work along the way, finishing up all the sites we had been working so hard on these past 2 hitches. We then visited the Lone Pine Film Museum, and the Manzanaar Internment Camp Museum so we could learn more about the area we’ve been working in all month. Lastly, we came back to the BLM office for some much needed showers.
Hitch Leader: Chris Niebuhr
For Hitch #7 the WildCorps found themselves working in the Inyo Mountain Wilderness with the Bishop, Ca BLM field office. Being the high desert of the Eastern Sierra, this was an area and ecosystem that the crew was unfamiliar with but thoroughly enjoyed. Desert restoration was the focus of the work which encompassed the decommissioning and restoration of incursions (unpermitted roads in wilderness). The methods for this sort of restoration include the installment of wilderness signage, soil decompaction, vertical mulch, rock work and seeding. The hope is to both camouflage the incursion from the uninformed public and provide a head start for re-vegetation. This hitch also provided the crew with a number of educational experiences. The second day of hitch was spent with employees from the Bishop BLM including the field archeologist, Greg who informed the crew of the importance of preserving the history of Native American culture, which is very important in this area and also very apparent in the Inyo. The camp used by the crew was also in a very interesting location because not only was there a spectacular view of the Sierra mountains to the west but also about 100 yards up the road was the historic Saline Valley Salt Tram built in 1911. This supplied the crew with a great place to star gaze on most evenings. On this hitch the WildCorps replaced 42 carsonite wilderness signs with 49 wooden wilderness sign posts. Also, the crew decommissioned 25 incursions and restored 7,900.5 ft of desert habitat. Last but not least, the crew as a whole would like to extend a sincere thank you to their new BLM contact and friend Scott Justham whos veggies are delicious.
Hitch 6, Lack’s Creek Field Write-Up
The early morning ruckus of 4 break days in Samoa Dunes—ATVs revving, boats and barges humming, a camper-neighbor’s chatter and other evidence of human occupation—is an old artifact now as we sit on our stoops around our Tupperware table. At 8:30pm the silence at our Lack’s Creek camp is so pristine that the cracks underfoot from an afternoon jaunt up the hill to the latrine make us skittish: “bear? Mountain lion? I hope it’s an elk!” By now, after riding a full 10 days here from last hitch, we’re not so ‘green’ toward frontcountry living but cherish this…comparatively ritzy (food smorgasbord, long-hiking famine!) existence. Rolling in from Arcata on Mon 8/16 we found our campsite hotter, emptier, and well-colonized with mosquitoes before we re-tarped our ‘mascot’ tan oak and made our cozy kitchen. Here we’d perfect our rummy and pitch finesse over evening tea, zapped from hard work, before waking up at 7am to a new tent arrangement. This Monday we awoke on Humboldt Bay, did our routine Hitch Day 1 prep—Target for officework and budgeting, food shopping, and parking lots for tidying the trailer—and drove 2hrs to our campsite before making ‘home’ late in the afternoon and discussing the next 9 days.
Day 2, 8/17, Bruce Cann and Ranger Casey met us here at 10am; as a work-task preview they escorted us around the Western slope of Lack’s Creek, stopping at 4 focus locations. At each one was a trickle of water embedded in a hillside…an ‘untamed spring’. An afternoon with Bruce and Casey, and the novelty of 3-4 new springs into our repertoire, was a nice breather after a full last hitch of treading a multi-use trail. After 3 days of springwork we’d continue with this trail until the last day, but many of us shared enthusiasm for these special projects: 2 springs, 1 clearing, 3 site ‘personalities’.
Day 3, 8/18, we began with Priority 1, a spring site around a pond we lovingly called Meditation Spring (or Bee Spring from a ‘landmine’ bee colony under a log); here we would both install a spring and add tread). The spring site itself was obscured behind the pond and was inaccessible, so we flagged a blueprint footpath (human, not horse) from the dirt road, around the pond, through a dense thicket, and to the spring site. For our first 2hrs all 6 of us assisted in sawing, weed-wrenching obstructions, and mattocking out the stumps on the heavily-sloped land. A mammoth rotting log lay in our way and, with Casey’s help, managed to dislodge it after 2hrs and heave it out of the path. Casey came armed with a chainsaw, and this helped with clearing some big debris further toward the spring. After lunch we began benching from the road inward, stopping at the perilous bee nest under the big log…Casey, ever the trooper, escaped with only one sting! We agreed to leave a 40ft section incomplete, waiting until Sunday when Casey could exterminate the hive. For the remaining 2hrs 4 of us began preparing and clearing mud and rock for the spring itself; after some struggling with the finicky water source we managed to install and secure the tub.
Day 4, 8/19, began with a foray into 100acre Field, a bubble of cell service that enabled us to stretch and conduct some hitchleader business. At 10am we began Priority 2, not really a spring so much as a streamside clearing we would flatten, refine, and enable horses to enter, drink from the stream pools, and turn around. This occupied us for 3hrs, leaving a smooth and comfortable…horse ‘bar’. Ending this site with time to spare we finally drove to Priority 3, a dual spring installation and horse-to-pond ramp, and spent the last hour carving the slope (3people) and preparing the spring (3people).
Day 5, 8/20, we battened our hatches and dove into what felt like the most scorching day in Lack’s Creek. Today’s project may take us a few hours, all day, or even spill into the next…there was no telling but to start. For 5hrs 3 of us worked on the roughly 10’ by 6’ (60ft squared) slope toward the pond, creating a slope that would please a horse with (maybe) a rider. Meanwhile, 3 of us carved into the water source about 100ft from the pond, hunted for anchor and support rocks, placed the oval tub, and finally sealed it in with mud-crete. It’s tedious work ‘capturing’ water…victoriously we finished this project today and looked forward to resuming our treadwork tomorrow.
En route to our trail on Day 6, 8/21, an unaggressive rattlesnake lay under a tree by our path, our first sighting in Lack’s Creek, second overall! Avoiding a strike, we resumed our treadwork on a lower section of the multi-use trail and, after a good, solid 8hrs of tread including a 10ft rock retaining wall, we concluded with 200ft of smooth tread. It was pleasingly cool after yesterday, ending a crisp evening…if only it weren’t fire season and campfires were permitted…
Day 7, 8/22, began with a brisk, mosquito-free breakfast, drive back to Priority 1 Spring, and a good stretch at the site. We approached bee territory not like daredevils but with the caution of workers intending to finish the day’s work uninjured. However, the trail necessitated the removal of certain debris to get work done and I must have disturbed the bees, avoiding a sting. Until Casey came and sprayed the nest we heavily benched and cleared parts of that 40ft section and finished after lunch with a silky-smooth trail+spring. After lunch we took a field trip to the Eastern slope of Lack’s Cr, absorbing our working environment and stopping for berries along the way.
Day 8, 8/23, was a sequel to last Saturday’s work on the trail, only we exceeded the tread length by 135ft, leaving 335ft of trail on a gnarly stretch, 2 beautiful 3.5ft drains (2people on each), 1 5ft drain (3people), and one rockless drainage flume (1person). I ended the day feeling accomplished, and I think this feeling was mutual.
We awoke on Day 9, 8/24, sweating in our sleeping bags. We knew today we’d hammer out the trail’s finale before 2:30 when we’d return to clean tools, inventory food, and generally prepare for tomorrow’s evacuation. The flagged to-be-trail snaked across decommissioned logging roads, making us level packed dirt ‘speed bumps’ and uproot quite a few stumps. That didn’t stop us, though, from treading 300ft and concluding this hitch in good spirits…was that really 10 days??
Hitch Leader Erik
BLM Lacks Creek, CA August 2nd-11th, 2010
The fifth hitch of our season marks Wild Corps’ first hitch outside of the King Range Conservation Area. After breaking down camp at the Whitethorn barracks and saying our farewells to the King Range staff, we headed north along the coast towards our next work site. Monday, August 2nd, started early with the morning commute to the regional BLM office in Arcata. Upon our arrival we met our new agency contact, Bruce Cann, who gave us a tour of the office and then led the way towards Lacks Creek, where we would spend hitches five and six. Several locked gates and dirt roads later we arrived at our new site. Bruce briefed Megan and I on the work we were to complete and gave us a tour of the two work sites where we would be making new trail. While Bruce, Megan, and I were out the rest of the crew set up our first front country base camp, equipped with sun shelter, kitchen, sump, latrine and personal tents. Upon our return, and shortly thereafter Bruce’s departure, we made dinner and fell back into the camping routine. After dinner we were visited by a small film crew from the BLM office in Sacramento. A few of us were interviewed for a BLM video while the other members of the camera crew snapped still photographs of us cleaning up, playing cards, and trying to juggle looking natural and busy. They left once the sun had fully retreated and the mosquitoes became unbearable.
The next morning, August 3rd, the film crew returned to complete their interviews and get some footage of our morning stumbling over coffee and the tying of boot laces. We headed to work after our morning stretch circle, complete with calisthenics and personalized yoga positions. Our second day of hitch would be spent at the first work site, a section of unfinished trail lingering between two sections of new trail completed by an SCA crew sometime earlier in the season. We split up into two groups and went to work clearing, benching and smoothing out the tread at a width of 3-4 feet for multipurpose usage, with hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders in mind. By the end of the day we had completed the unfinished section, adding an additional 544 feet of out sloped tread to the trail. We finished right at quitting time and started the hitch off ahead of schedule.
On day three, August 4th, we moved to the second work site. This second site is another yet to be named stretch of new trail connecting old timber roads to future camp sites. The California Conservation Corps had started work on the trail earlier in the year and our job was to continue where they left off. We brought tools to the site in the morning and created a cache; we then scouted the trajectory for the new trail and got to work clearing rock, duff, roots, and any organic soil. Again, our goal was to have 3-4 feet of tread with the corridor extending 8 feet high as to allow proper clearance for horseback riders. Knowing we would be spending the duration of the hitch on this trail we focused on making a well defined trail with compact tread, a difficult feat considering the rocky terrain and the amount of organic matter. We cleared one fallen tree that was lying across a section of the trail that the CCC had completed. Day four, August 5th, was spent continuing the trail. Our plan of attack was to split into small groups, with each group focusing on specific sections of trail, then “leap frogging” onward after each section was complete. Day four saw the completion of two 20 square foot drainage dips and the building of rock support for tread cutting through some hill side benching. After lunch we headed into Arcata to re-supply our food inventory, since we did not have time earlier in the hitch due to our re-location and travel time. Since the work day was officially over while we were still in town, we met up with a friend from the King Range for some locally made organic ice cream before leaving Arcata to make it back to Lacks Creek before dusk.
Day five, August 6th, was spent clearing more trail until we came to an impassable point in the trail, blocked by a goliath rock. After a rock bar workshop and refresher course we split into two groups, one group working on tread and drainage while the other put their heads and rock bars together to move the giant stone obstacle. Our agency contact, Bruce, came out to check on our progress and drop off some additional tools and ice. While Bruce and Megan discussed the work we had completed and what was left to do, the rest of us went to work on the rock. After lunch we finally moved the rock, quite successfully, off the trail. With the trail corridor open we filled it’s cavity with crush and mineral soil and continued working on tread. Dave went ahead to prep the trail by clearing rock and pulling stumps with the weed wrench. Chris cleared the vertical corridor with the pole saw and loppers. Megan worked on drainage, while Emily, Leah, and I benched and put the finishing touches on sections of tread.
Day Six, August 7th, was more of the same. We cleared more stumps, removed football sized rocks, cleared the trail corridor of overhang, benched, and worked on tread. On the steeper sections we continued to use larger rocks to support the outer sections of tread while maintaining a grade of out slope for drainage purposes. Megan and Emily created another drainage dip, 25 square feet, while Chris worked on creating a wide banked turn at a switchback for the future enjoyment of mountain bikers. We created a new tool cache further along the trail, taking careful inventory of all tools present in the field, we decided to take the rock bars and one of the weed wrenches back to camp in order to keep the cache more manageable. More than halfway through the hitch and we were making good progress.
On Day 7, August 8th, we worked on some projects around camp in the morning. Leah, Dave, and Chris modified the new spring that the BLM had drilled. They moved the basin from the old dried up spring and relocated it under the pipe from the new spring. In addition, rocks were added to support and cover the new pipe. Emily and Megan took food inventory and organized the trailer, an important task when working “front-country”. As hitch leader, I was kept busy with some paper work and made sure that records were being maintained and no work was going unrecognized. Once the base camp work was complete we headed into the field to continue blazing new tread at the second work site. We continued clearing rocks and stumps, benching, tamping, and adding larger rocks on the outer boundary of the tread. Chris and I back tracked and widened some section which Bruce had mentioned might be to narrow during his visit earlier in the hitch. After widening and tamping the tread, the trail looked much better and would be more manageable for horses and mountain bikers.
On Day 8, August 9th, Megan and David started out the day by clearing the vertical trail corridor for the more recently completed sections of trail. The pole saw and loppers really helped to open up the dense understory. The entire day was spent working on clearing and refining the tread. Three drainage dips were also added to the trail, totaling in fifty square feet of drainage.
On Day 9, August 10th, our last day at the work site, we managed to power through and get a good deal of new tread cleared. Rock and timber support was added to retain the tread. The corridor was cleared up to the last part of completed tread. At the end of the day we had constructed, for the hitch, a total of 1,493 feet of new trail, six drain dips totaling 12 feet in length, one drainage ditch that was 175 square feet, 210 feet of rock retention, and cleared one blow down. In addition, we modified one spring.
Day 10, August 11th, was spent as most last days of hitch often are, cleaning tools and breaking down camp. All the tools used were cleaned and sharpened, the trailer was organized and re-packed, tents and personal gear were packed away. All in all, the hitch was successful; we made serious headway on the project and the crew was respectful to each other, everyone worked hard, and spirits seemed to be high from beginning to end.
-Erik Schmahl, Hitch #5 Leader
Hitch Leader: David Nestor
After spending their time off in San Fran, the Wild Corps continued their work in the King Range. The first task was to get everyone to the bottom of the Cooskie Spur trail. After a windy night sleepiing in an old light house we were there. Unfortunatly we only had a little time to work with our fearless Leader, Megan, who would be leaving for some well earned time with her family and loved ones.
We completed in four days, a full quarter mile of trail reroute. The new trail now leads hikers across a beautiful hill side instead of along the beach. Hikers on The Lost Coast Trail will still have plenty of sand to cross and the hill offers a great view of the ocean.
After finishing the trail the crew moved up Cooskie Spur Trail and along the ridge to a new camp at Cooskie Creek. Along the way we replanted about 20 trail markers knocked over by cows who use them as scratching posts.
Once at the creek we split in two teams. One team building a stair case out of rock leading down to tthe creek. The other team headed up from the creek to lopper out Cooskie Creek trail. The stairs that were built are not only beautiful but, bomb proof. Now a lovely set of six steps take you down to the crystal clear water for a crossing. After our ten days we packed up and made the short climb up to Windy Point to our truck. We got a lot done, missed Megan, got soaked from the mist, and helped reroute The Lost Coast Trail. It was time for chocolate MILK!
Hitch Leader: Emily
We began our day by going over responsibilities and expectaions for our hitch. We then got our personal items in order and packed up as much as we could. Some of us then cleaned the SCA rig and some of us prepared a menu for the next ten days. After all that, we went into town to grocery shop, prepare an ERP (Emergency Response Plan) and JHA (Job Hazard Analysis) and finish up any last minute tasks. Upon returning back to the BLM, we cleaned up the bunkhouse, organized food and tools and drove about an hour to Northslide Peak Trail Head. We then hiked 3.9 miles into the Bear Hollow Camp where we slept out for the night.
Our crew woke up after sleeping out under the stars and had a quick breakfast and sretch before hiking out again. We hiked 2.9 miles down Rattlesnake Ridge while clearing blowdown. We crosscut 13 fallen logs, bow sawed 3 trees, and moved 9 trees with some team work and muscles! We set up basecamp and then scoped out our work for the next 8 days. We looked at previous cribbing work as examples and learned the basics so we would be ready to start out strong on our 3rd day.
We began the morning with another cribbing review and then go to work measuring for the first crib. After we made all the measurements we scouted for and found rustic timber (wind fallen trees) to be used for our 8.5ft sill and our three 4ft deadmen. For the afternoon we dug out and set our deadmen and sized up with our sill to make it perfect. We then split up into groups; one group finished up with the deadmen while others scouted for more timber.
The beginning of the morning was dedicated to notching. Oup Project Leader, Megan, gave us a small lesson. We all got a chance to practice and become familiar with the process. We finished up our first crib and did some retread and started measuring for the next few cribs and prepared our timber by debarking. After lunch we got to crosscutting and more debarking two 11ft sills and our three 4ft deadmen. The fallen tree we found was definetely a tricky tree to crosscut. At one point it began spewing water and next thing you know it simply would not let us cut all the way through; binding up taking 2hr to cut! But, with all that hard work we were ready to begin another crib for Day 5.
We bucked up a few fallen trees and made 3 deadmen and a sill. We rigged our own timber carriers out of p-cord and 2 hazel hoe handles to transport our timber. We set two deadmen notched up our sill, and set our 2nd crib in place.
We split up into two groups again; this time one group hiked out about a mile clearing blowdown while the other stayed and finished up the 2nd part of our second crib. The blowdown group cleared a 16" diameter tree out of the trail which took almost all morning! The cribbing group debarked the rest of the sill and set our deadmen in place! We all joined up during the late afternoon to set the sill in place. Some of us began notching and some of us collected rocks to set the crib. Our 2nd half of our second crib is almost done!
Today some of us finished up the 2nd half of our 2nd crib while the rest of us started cutting, debarking, and measuring for the 3rd crib. We met up with two Backcountry Rangers of the King Range for lunch and then kept on working! For the second half of the day we retreaded around our 2nd crib and were able to set our 1st half of our 3rd crib! We had groups getting huch rocks to set the sill, some acquiring and debarking timber and some notching up the sill. Lots of excitement!
Today we scouted for more timber for the next two cribs. We cut a 4ft and 6ft sill and another six 4ft deadmen. We also hauled a ton of rocks so we could set all this timber! The second half of the day was dedicated to debarking, notching, and setting timber. Our last cribs are almost complete!
Today we finally finished all of our cribs; making atotal of 6 cribs! We then packed up camp and set out to camp at Bear Hollow. It was a grueling 2.9 mile 88 switchbacks climb uphill but, we made it just in time for dinner.
After sleeping out under some madrone forest at Bear Hollow, we packed up and set out to finish our hike out. We hiked 3.9miles up the rest of Rattlesnake Ridge and along King Crest trail to Northslide Peak trail head. After we got back to the BLM we had a quick bite to eat before cleaning and sharpening tools and organizing bear bins. We finished our day with a nice and rewarding dinner!
Hitch 1 (June 7th – 17th)
Day 1,2: Lost Coast Trail – Southern Segment / Chinquapin Trail / Nedalos Trail (9 miles cleared)
The first two days of Hitch 1 we worked on the Lost Coast Trail – Southern Segment clearing blow down with crosscut and handsaws, as well as clearing brush and opening the trail corridor with loppers. We set off on Day 1 from the Hidden Valley Trail Head southward on the Lost Coast Trail working our way towards the Chinquapin Trail loop, which we completed before returning to the trail head. On Day 2, after spending the night back at our BLM head quarters, we worked from Nadelos Trail Head west towards the Lost Coast Trail, once we connected back to the Lost Coast Trail we worked south clearing trail until hitting the southernmost point of the King Range National Conservation Area just south of Red Hill where the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park Begins.
Day 3,4: Buck Creek Trail / Lost Coast Trail – North Segment (9.7 miles cleared)
After spending the night again at BLM head quarters, we started the seconded installment of Hitch 1. Day 3 we worked our way south from Saddle Mountain Trail Head clearing blow down and widening the trail corridor along Buck Creek Trail. After a long day we camped at a beautiful site at the mouth of Buck Creek, where the creek collides with the Pacific Ocean. Day 4 we hiked south along the beach on the Northern Segment of the Lost Coast Trail. Hiking with full packs and tools in loose sand is a challenge, but the incredible view of California’s Pacific coast made up for the sore feet. We made our way to Black Sands Beach, where the SCA truck had been shuttled.
Day 5,6,7,8,9,10: Lightning Trail / King Crest Trail (8 miles cleared)
After a nice warm meal and restful sleep at BLM head quarters we headed out for the final installment of Hitch 1. Day 5 started at Lightning Trail Head, from there we cleared blow down south towards Maple Camp, where we would set up base camp and spend the remainder of our hitch. Days 6 and 7 were spent opening the trail corridor of King Crest Trail using primarily loppers and hand saws, we also had the opportunity to get some crosscuts singing near Saddle Mountain. Day 8 we worked up to King Peak, notching a large tree that had fallen over the trail along the way. We got creative with the crosscuts and made a foot hold and a notch to get a comfortable grip with your hand, this obstacle should now be manageable by hikers with heavy packs. King Peak was windy, but we ate lunch at the peak and admired the view from the highest point in the King Range. On Day 9 we completed two re-tread areas on the ridge and worked our way down King Crest Trail touching up the brushing we started on days 5 and 6. Day 10 started early with a fast and efficient breakdown of base camp. After camp was packed we made the trek out down the mountain back to the truck, the downhill hike was a nice finish to a successful first hitch.
Hithch Leader: Chris
Originally scheduled to leave the BLM on Monday 6/20 for our second hitch, the WildCorps departure into the field was postponed by one day due toa suddne nast onset of the malicious poison oak contracted by Megan. Concerned for her safety and well being the group agreed it would be best for her to visit the highly regarded Garberville ER. After her triumphent emergence from the ward, the group decided that the prudent thing to do would be to wait until day two before heading into the wilderness. On the morning of the second day we parked at Northslide Peak trail head where we embarced for 9 days in the woods. Between the trailhead and our eventual campsite we brushed and retreaded 2.5miles of trail. Home sweet home was unanamously agreed upon to be a small but cozy spat just below bonus springs on the Miller Loop. Bay 3 began our onslaught of the Miller Loop which was rumored to be in great disrepair. It also provided the group with the opportunity to begin teaching Leah (our newest member) about trail maintenence. This would perpetrate throughout the following days. Days 4-9 were devoted to the same cause. It turned out that the rumors were true. 56 windfallen trees were removed, 10 drain dips repaired and 3 rock walls repaired and 41,184ft of tread restored! To provide ourselved with a change in senery, we decided to spend day 6 working towards Rattlesnake and Bear Hollow campsite. You may have heard of this treacherous trail and the 97 switchbacks that await any brave enough to include it in theiritinerary. This would be a project. Four cross-cuts were made by Erik and Chris while the rest of the group re-treaded. On day 7 we recisited Miller Loop to finalize it's completion. 3.1 more miles of King Range Trail in the books. Days 8 and 9 were devoted to working as much of the Rattlesnake as we could. Finally, day 10 had arrived. It was a day that we had been excitedly awaiting with anticipation because Alex (our firefighting friend) had mentioned the idea of a BBQ on this day. We arrived back to the BLM at about the same time as him however, he was not returning from doing 9 days of trail work. He was returning from a morning of diving and spear fishing in the Pacific Ocean. His trip proved to be a success because he was holding two Abalone and an admirably sized Capazone. Judging from our calused hands and full bellies both the hitch and BBQ were a sucess!
The Wild Corps is a 6-month, backcountry crew starting off in the King Range of Northern California. Nestled between the Mattole River and Pacific Ocean, the King Range National Conservation Area is one of the most pristine areas of Humboldt County. Our 5-member crew has been working hard cross cutting blow down and brushing overgrown trails. We have been working in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, and when we're not in the field, we're camping outside the BLM wildifire bunkhouse.
After we've finished up 4 hitches at the King Range, we will be traveling to Arcata, Bishop, Surprise, Alturas and finally, Piedres Blancas come November. We will be doing everything from general trail maintenance to wildnerness restoration.
We are a peppy and spry group of youngsters enthusiastic about doing conservation work and fostering the development of a tight community.
“The Tygers of Wrath are wiser than the Horses of Instruction” – William Blake
I want a trip through breathtaking Wrath and back—the kind found only on a 5,000ft. mountain crest flanking the Pacific—where “Instruction” boils down to your intuition, your crew members, and the wisdom gained from hours in the backwoods. I am late to this program , as I just flew in from Athens, OH at the end of June leaving me to miss Training in Washington and the first 10 day hitch in the King Range. Impromptu…just the way I like it. When (if??) I return to Athens I’ll finish an anthropology degree at Ohio University, keep trotting along trails in podunkity Appalachian places, and evangelize to everyone how to properly make and consume GORP (luscious dried trail food we pack by the bag).
|Map of Site|
|About the Site|
|Project Leader: Megan Petermann|
|End Of Season Wrap Up|
|Hitch 12 (11/10/2010 - 11/19/2010)|
|Hitch 11 (10/26/2010 - 11/4/2010)|
|Hitch 10 (10/12/2010 - 10/21/2010)|
|Hitch 9 (9/27/2010-10/06/2010)|
|Hitch 8 (9/13/2010-9/22/2010)|
|Hitch 7 (8/30/2010-9/8/2010)|
|Hitch 6 (8/16/2010-8/25/2010)|
|Hitch 5 (8/2/2010 - 8/11/2010)|
|Hitch 4 (7/19/2010 - 7/28/2010)|
|Hitch 3 (7/5/10 - (7/14/10)|
|Hitch 1 (6/7/2010 - 6/17/2010)|
|Hitch 2 (6/21/2010 - 6/30/2010)|