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National Trail Day Recap and Trail Update from EJ

Submitted by Erik Jacobson

That was one heck of a National Trails Day up at Munger Mountain! Just about everyone on this e-mail was there, so I won’t go into the details too much. It was our largest National Trails Day ever with over 90 people working on the Munger trails. Thank-you Tim Farris for all your hard work putting together the project work and logistics. Thank-you Chis P. for all you time organizing the event and celebrations. Thank-you Teton Freedom Riders for showing up in mass, kicking butt, and giving us your June dig day for NTD. Thank-you Jackson Hole Ski patrol for coming out to dig for the “Big”. Thank-you Andy and Kichan of Wilson Backcountry Sports for donating great raffle prizes. Thank-you Friends of Pathways for all your help with the event. Thank-you Jackson Trail Crew for prepping out all the projects and leading the crews. And thanks to everyone else I may have forgotten.

The FOP trail crew had a good week of project prep work. We became almost a full crew this week on Thursday. Drew Kneeland, Lloyd Wiser, and Clay Curley joined the crew on Thursday. Galen and I are glad to have them on board, since it is going to be a huge summer of trial building. Mike Piker also came on board as trail ambassador. Chris P. reports that he is kicking butt and already very busy clearing and opening up the trails as they melt out. This is a huge help, since the rest of us are so focused on trail construction this summer. Randy Roberts, Walt Berling, and Chris Owen will be working with us soon.

Galen and I were busy in Game Creek this Tuesday and Wednesday. We brushed and cleared the new alignment. The SCA crew begins work this Thursday. We will be ready for them. They are an eight person crew. They will be camping out near the end of the Game Creek road close to the project area. I have a nice camp picked out for them. The FOP trail crew will be joining forces with the SCA’s as much as we can. The SCA crew will be digging in Game Creek almost straight through from June 10th until June 20th.

I contacted Jill Harkness via e-mail and expressed my concerns with the Cache/Game race scheduled so close to the trail construction in Game Creek. I will be meeting with her and Dee Dee Witsen, the permit administrator, on Tuesday afternoon. We will discuss postponing the race. Stand by for news.

The FOP trail crew spent Thursday and Friday prepping out the project area on the lower Ridge Trail section. The FS Jackson Hole trail crew already did a lot of the clearing last year, and I thank them. It is a huge help. Engine 41, Kevin Maloney, Chris P., and Andy Hudkins already did a lot of clearing 2 years ago for a Boy Scout overflow project. There is still quite a bit of clearing to do as alignment changes to reduce switchbacks and massive wind events such as the one a couple of weeks ago happen. We put a big dent in the lower section.

The lower Ridge Trail construction is not going to be easy. Game Creek is going to be a breeze compared to the Ridge Trail. The one section that continues to cause layout and construction logistical problems is what Chris P. has dubbed as “Shock Treatment”. It is in the middle of the project area. There is not too much room to put the trail here, and it is riddled with switchbacks and thick brush. This area and the switchbacks look like they are going to be very hard to build by hand. I’m starting to rethink about using a mini-excavator. We spent a lot of time Friday looking at the whole project. We identified areas where it made sense to dig by hand, and areas where the mini-excavator made sense. I feel that “Shock Treatment” really should be built by a mini-ex. We have two very capable operators, Drew and Lloyd. We can save a lot of hard work that could bog us down for a long time by running a mini-ex with two good operators in “Shock Treatment”. Stand by for news.

Tomorrow we are going to finalize the Game Creek layout. Clay and Harlan are coming along to put some expert eyes on the alignment. This new section really wants to flow, and Clay and Harlan really know the flow. This new section of Game Creek is going to be world class.

The new Game Creek alignment has only one switchback near the top of the divide. I plan on having the FOP crew work on this early this week before the SCA crew arrives. I want to build a Freedom Rider style turn such as the ones on section 2 of the Arrow Trail. It will be nice to have this pre-built by the experts.

Have a nice week.

One Response to “National Trail Day Recap and Trail Update from EJ”

  1. Dave Byers says:

    Keep the updates from EJ coming! It is great to read it straight from the source. Thanks.

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