The biggest crew assembled to date completes work between Wassataquoik Stream and the summit of Deasey on the Maine section of the IAT.
Four parties comprising 14 individuals from northern, western and southern Maine converged on the lean-to at the confluence of Katahdin Brook and Wassataquoik Stream east of Baxter State Park shortly after noon on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. Thanks to the support of the landowner, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. (EPI), the group was able to travel by truck and SUV to the lean-to. This special access greatly simplifies the transport of equipment and tools, including chain saws, scythes, loppers and all of the kit to support a large work group in the field.
In addition, a grant in 2011 from the Quimby Family Foundation (QFF) helped to offset the cost of food and some of the materials for the work trip. The support from EPI and QFF makes this work possible.
Professors Chunzeng Wang and Dave Putnam of the University of Maine Presque Isle lead a group that also included Presque Isle High School student, Angela Wang, UMPI student, Walter Guerette, Dave Rand, Cheryl St. Peter, and Cheryl’s husband, Kirk rounded out the Aroostook County contingent. Chunzeng, Dave and Cheryl are Maine Chapter Board Members, and Dave coordinates all trail work on the IAT in Maine.
Professor Julia Daly of the University of Maine Farmington – and also a Maine Chapter Board Member – lead a group that included UMF students Sarah Lavorgna, Murphy Doughty, and Cree Rousseau.
Walter Anderson, Earl Raymond and Don Hudson traveled from southern Maine for the work trip.
On Tuesday afternoon, Earl and Don scouted out a new route for the IAT leading east from the Katahdin Lake unit of Baxter State Park. The donation of the former Huber Lot on Katahdin Lake to the Park has provided an opportunity to create a new and more scenic path to link the IAT with trails in the park. The new route will follow Katahdin Brook from the Gardiner Road that runs north along the boundary of the Katahdin Lake unit. The new trail will cross the outlet of the brook at Katahdin Lake, and thereby connect the IAT to the existing network of trails that lead from the lake to Avalanche Field and Roaring Brook.
The remaining crew divided themselves between the High Water Alternate Trail and the lower section of the Deasey Mountain trail, clearing blowdowns and brush, as well as installing a safety rope across Wassataquoik Stream for the aid of hikers.
On Wednesday, a small group completed a thorough clearing of the annual growth of brush and ferns that fills the first 1.5 miles of the trail from the Wassataquoik lean-to te base of Deasey Mountain. A short section of wet trail along the river was rerouted to higher ground. The rest of the party ascended Deasey Mountain, removing blowdowns, clearing the treadway, and clipping back the relentless growth of shrubs that invade the trail. New wooden signs were installed near the summit of Deasey to provide clear directions to the summit, Lunksoos lean-to to the north and Wassataquoik lean-to to the south. Anyone walking this section in the coming months will note the improvements. In addition, the youngest member of the party, Angela Wang, located each trail marker along the 5.3 miles, which provides the Maine Chapter with an important layer of information for the long-term maintenance of the trail.
At the end of a very full and productive day, the group enjoyed dinner prepared by Walter Anderson. Though rain showers came off and on during the day, no one complained. Walter Anderson observed that we all completed two very important tasks: First, the annual maintenance needed to support safe hiking and, second, the introduction of the trail to a new generation of enthusiastic trail workers.