SCA Crew Improves Trails at Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Antrim

Posted on October 2, 2015
The conservation crew poses for a brief rest on Goodhue Hill. Photo by Phil Brown

The conservation crew poses for a brief rest on Goodhue Hill. Photo by Phil Brown

A conservation crew from the Student Conservation Association’s AmeriCorps program recently completed a 10-day service ‘hitch’ at NH Audubon’s largest wildlife sanctuary, the dePierrefeu-Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, in Antrim. The crew tackled trail improvements on existing trails such as the Mill Pond Trail, Tudor Trail, Goodhue Hill Trail, and Tamposi Trail. They also installed a new loop at the end of the Goodhue Hill Trail and cleared a grown-in section near the summit, where improved views and access can again be enjoyed. In total, this crew of six young adults cleared over one-half mile of new trail (including switchbacks and re-routes), cleared problem vegetation from atop and below the Willard Pond dam, closed eight unofficial sections of trail, and removed a few dozen trees to open up views and clear trails, constructed two water bars, one stone turnpike, and an earthen berm. And on the final day, they were able to install the first part of what will become a 70-foot long railing along a potentially-hazardous section of the Mill Pond Trail. They were busier than the Mill Pond beavers!

The improved view of Willard Pond from the Bald Mountain ledges. Photo by Phil Brown.

The improved view of Willard Pond from the Bald Mountain ledges. Photo by Phil Brown.

The crew, which spent 10 days camping at scenic Willard Pond, was made possible to NH Audubon through a Quabbin-to-Cardigan Trails Grant, a competitive grant process that awards funding to non-profits and other groups in a specific land conservation and stewardship focus area. Additional stewardship plans for the sanctuary include placement of bridging wet portions of the Tudor Trail, more water bars on steep sections of the Tamposi Trail and Bald Mountain Trail, completion of the hand-rail on the Mill Pond Trail, and construction of a canoe rack.

This most recent work was completed just in time for hikers to enjoy peak fall foliage from the sanctuary’s several miles of trails. Conditions are already approaching peak with red maples, yellow birch, American beech, and sugar maple turning the forests red, yellow, and orange. October at Willard Pond is a great month to get out on the trails or on the water (kayaks and canoes, or electric outboard motors allowed; no gas engines permitted).