Mt. Agamenticus Trail Work
Widespread and intense recreational use has lead to forest fragmentation, water quality and wildlife habitat degradation, but probably the most noticeable impact is EROSION. Erosion is a physical process in which sediment and soil is detached and transported through the combined effects of wind, water and gravity. The soils within the Mount A. area are generally very thin, making the effects of erosion more noticeable. As a general rule, areas with a steep topography experience more rapid erosion, and this holds true here at Mount A. Human activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and other forms of recreation also increase the rate of erosion on the trails. Over time foot and wheeled traffic cause the soils to become more compact, which reduces the soil’s absorbency.
In some areas, water will run down the trails in a rain event. As the water moves downhill and gathers speed, it dislodges the top layer of soil. This fast running water can have a serious impact on the tread of the trail. Areas where erosion is a problem can be recognized by the large amount of detached gravel and cobble that is left behind after the stabilizing layers of soil have been washed away. In some cases the erosion has been so severe that trails have been washed down to the bedrock. Eroded sediment that is washed down slope from the erosion in turn degrades the vernal pools and streams that provide important wildlife habitat and public drinking water supplies in the area.
The Mount Agamenticus Conservation Crew is currently working to improve trail conditions on the mountain. The objectives of the Crew are to reduce erosion and restore trail compatibility with natural resource and water quality protection. The Crew works throughout the trail network, and builds water bars, drainages, and water dips throughout the recreational area.
These structures are designed to escort water off of the trails and into the forest where the soil is undisturbed. Water that is diverted off of the trail is absorbed into the soil more readily, and can be taken up by plants and trees.
In addition, this minimizes the time that running water is present on the trails, which helps reduce the amount of soil that becomes dislodged and eroded. Sedimentation is controlled by directing visitors around or over water in wetlands, streams and vernal pools. By mitigating erosion problems and managing recreational use, it is possible to protect the natural resources of the area.
You may notice some of their handiwork while you are out exploring…
WATERBARS are intended to impede the flow of water down slope and direct water off the trail. They are constructed with large, angular rocks with flat surfaces and can be found near the top of the grade. Because the large rocks protrude out and can interfere with tires, new waterbar construction is being limited to closed or hiking only trails.
CRIB WALLS made of large rocks or wood are being built in areas of severe gullying to stabilize or rebuild side hill trails.
DRAINAGE DIPS AND DITCHES are used in relatively flat areas where water has the tendency to pool. Dips are constructed by digging a shallow trench across the trail at an angle and making a mound on the downhill side with the soil. Ditches are made by removing the berm along the downhill side of trail and trenching an outlet to drain water.
CHECK DAMS are generally used on areas of abandoned trenched trail to arrest further erosion and hold material in place. They are made of large rocks and are intended to slow and hold water long enough to deposit transported sediment.
BRUSH and DEBRIS has been placed along the sides of trails in areas where trails have been excessively widened. This will help to narrow the path and allow plants to reestablish. Debris has also been used for trail closures in areas where multiple spider trails develop from the original trail or where we have redirected the path.
REROUTES have been constructed where the original trail section has been determined unsafe or unable to sustain recreational use. We have re-routed small sections of trail to more suitable terrain.
INTERESTED IN DOING TRAIL WORK?
If you are interested in volunteering organizing a small group to volunteer time on trails at Mount Agamenticus please go to the "Get Involved" section or to volunteer, please Contact the Conservation Coordinator for more information.