Trails Skills - Coconino National Forest

Trails Skills – Coconino National Forest

Hitch 4: September 13, 2016 – September 16, 2016

Coconino National Forest (Flagstaff, AZ); Pine Grove Campground Interpretative Trail and Little Bear Trail

Project Partner: US Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

Hitch Accomplishments:  Trail Skills Training; Re-Tread Construction and Trail Maintenance; Rock Work; Drainage Construction; Burn Area Restoration; Interpretation Design and Implementation.

Total Miles Hiked: Over 6 miles between Little Bear and Pine Grove Interpretive Trail

Trails Constructed/Maintained:

Little Bear Trail:  Cleared four drainages, hiked over 2 miles round trip, highest elevation reached was 8,400 ft., reconstructed a large stretch of damaged trail with Mark Loseth (approx: 100 feet, with producing a large steep back-slope, and removed one large rock from trail with two members of the other ACE crew)

Pine Grove Interpretive Trail:  Put down over 600 ft of mulch, (40 total trips of wheelbarrowing full of mulch) approximately .25 miles of widening interpretation trail to four feet, taking over 10 large rocks with a rock bar, and removed all vegetation in that stretch.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-4-32-36-pmDay One, September 13, 2016:  Coconino National Forest, Pine Grove Interpretative Trail.

This week’s hitch brought the Field School crew up northward to the land of the Arizona Pines to assist the Coconino National Forest with trail maintenance and development of an interpretive trail at the Pine Grove Campground located east of Lake Mary.  The crew arrived at the Project Site around 11am and were met with the USFS Project Partner to go over the trail project. After lunch and Safety Circle, the crew jumped right into work, transporting mulch with wheelbarrows the trail site, laying and spreading mulch ( 200 ft. in length)  to widen and define the heavily used trail located right off the popular 46-site campground.   The crew were met with some late summer rain showers in the afternoon but that did not hinder productivity!


Day Two, September 14, 2016: Coconino National Forest, Little Bear Trail #112.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-4-37-12-pmWaking up to a chilly, windy mountain Fall morning, the crew started the day at 7am by first visiting the ACE screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-5-11-05-pmFlagstaff Office to fix a couple of pick-mattocks and meet the ACE leadership and field staff. The crew actually had the opportunity to meet and speak with ACE Founder and President, Chris Baker as he happened to be in the ACE Flagstaff Office this particular week! The students spoke with Chris regarding the different projects they are working on, including Little Bear which happened to be Chris’ first field project when he was a conservation volunteer.  The crew then navigated to the Mount Elden/Dry Lake Hills Trail System of the Coconino National Forest tscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-4-37-07-pmo access the trailhead of Little Bear Trail. It was a new type of trail experience with the crew at 7600 ft but everyone was in good spirits and enjoyed the mountain scenery of pine and aspen as they hiked to the project site on the Little Bear Trail where they were met by ACE National Trails Coordinator, Mark Loseth who worked with the students to teach them how to properly build drains, conduct rockwork and re-establish tread on the trail corridor. The area of trail that the crew worked on was greatly affected by the 2010 Schultz Fire which burned 15,000 forested acres in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, AZ and the 3.5 mile Little Bear Trail is part of the Schultz Fire Recovery area. After a hard, yet rewarding day in the field, the crew stopped by the ACE Office for a quick Happy Birthday Donut Party for Morgan before heading back to the Pine Grove Campground for dinner.

Day Three, September 15, 2016: Coconino National Forest, Pine Grove Interpretative Trail.

After the daily Safety Circle, the crew broke off into two task teams to take on trail maintenance on the Pine Grove Interpretative trail. One team did wheelbarrow work, transporting and laying down new mulch and the other team started fixing and widening a new part of the trail.  Additionally, the crew removed encroaching vegetation and  removed rocks, as well as large fallen dead trees that were blocking the trail.img_5603-1

It was a busy day with about 200 ft. of trail widening, and 300 ft of new mulch. (22 full wheelbarrows between all of the crew). As the mulch pile was .25 miles to where it needed to be laid, it was a  .50 miles of a round trip hiked to-and-from by each crew member.

Day Four, September 16, 2016: Coconino National Forest, Pine Grove Interpretative Trail.

Friday began with the crew packing up camp and then heading out to finish trail maintenance on the Pine Grove Interpretive Trail. Temperatures in the morning were 35 degrees, the coldest is was all week, and crew members found breaking down camp was a good way to warm up. As it got warmer, the crew did a longer Safety Circle and Stretch as many found they were sore after this week of work. The sunshine around the mulch pile provides warmth, and the silly question of “If you were a fish, what fish would you be”, brought everyone’s spirits up to start the day.  On the trail, the crew removed what was left of the invasive vegetation, filled holes where rocks were removed to level tread and removed the rest of the rocks on the corridor, and laid down about 100 more feet of mulch. Around 9:30 am, the crew was met by USFS Project Partner, Paul Dawson and Interpretive Ranger Zack  to go over USFS Interpretation Programming and to learn more about the Coconino National Forest.

The crew learned about how to create interpretative signs that the public can easily read and learn from. The ranger showed us examples of the signs he created for multiple parks, and examples of bad signage. The crew thescreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-4-37-24-pmn used this information to create interpretive signs of their own and presented them to the group. Afterwards, the crew learned more about career building skills and how different agencies hire, and about different job titles each agency utilizes. Paul and Ranger Zack also discussed their past experiences with different agencies and jobs, and also how careers can end up very differently with making the right connections with people and networking, even if an individual started in one career field and ended up doing something completely different.



Jaemin and Kam show off how to effectively pack the field van for success!

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