Howker Ridge Trail Project

Before   After

Steep, root-covered sidehill on section of trail leading down to Hitchcock Falls. A few roots and a rotting stump are the only things keeping the trail from eroding downhill.

22' of 2' high log cribbing was constructed on the sidehill to hold the slope back. Rocks and gravel (crushed onsite) topped with mineral soil created a flat, well drained walking surface. Native spruce logs are rot resistant and should last 15-20 years.

View of the stream bank on the East side of Bumpus Brook before construction began. Loose soil and rocks were eroded by hikers and high water.

The completed rock retaining wall of East side of Bumpus Brook. 16 rocks were moved and set against the bank to create a stable treadway.

View looking down from the top of the eroded steep section that was eliminated by the relocation.

Trees and brush cut from the relocation were piled into the old trail to make it inaccessible to hikers and give it a chance to start growing back.

A number of staircases were built on the steep sections before the Howks in spots where the trail was beginning to gully out.

Howker Ridge and Pine Link trails overlap for 0.3 mi. This section gets significantly more traffic than any other part of the trail. In this particular spot, the combination of high traffic, steep ground, and water flow has caused the trail to wash out.

A completed 7 step staircase. Hidden by the brush to the left of the staircase is a 25' long side ditch to divert water off the staircase. At the bottom of the frame is a rock water bar to divert even more water off the trail.

Two old, rotten bog bridges used to cross this muddy spot.

Nine stepping stones were quarried and set to replace the bog bridges. Unlike bog bridges which need to be replaced every 10-20 years, the stepping stones could last forever.

Additional Photos

Two rock stairs followed by a 30' side ditch at small stream crossing (approx 1,000' before Hitchcock Falls)
View of the cribbing from the far end, including the top step of the staircase.

Eight rock stairs, leading from the log cribbing down to the Bumpus Brook crossing at Hitchcock Falls. Prior to the construction of the stairs, the slope was eroded and very slippery.
Another view of the retaining wall, from across the brook. The finished wall is 5' high and 12' long.

280' of new trail was cut to avoid a section of extremely steep, eroded ledge. Close to the start of the relocation, the new trail passes around a large boulder and the treadway is supported on the downhill side by a 13' long section of rock cribbing.
Natural stairs on the relocation.

Crew Photos
Deva Steketee (shovel) and Duncan Lennon (axe) prepare the site before the Bumpus Brook crossing prior to the construction of rock steps.
Using a skyline, second year crew members Liz Pfeffer (left) and Deva Steketee lower the last rock of a staircase into place.
Crew leader Duncan Lennon stands beside a felled spruce tree, soon to become log cribbing. All but the last 6' of the log was used.
First year crewmember Alex Leich takes a well earned break while working on his first solo staircase project.

Matty Zane and Liz Pfeffer celebrate the completion of a seven-step staircase.

Photos by Ben Lieberson