Conservation group sprucing up trails in Maine, New England

Posted July 30, 2012, at 10:44 a.m.

EAST CHARLESTOWN, Vt. — Student crews have been busy repairing hiking trails and building new ones in New England’s mountains.

Seventy workers ages 14 to 20 have taken to the trails this summer in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

They’re part of a nonprofit conservation group called the NorthWoods Conservation Corps, which works in partnership with other organizations, such as the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Trails director Luke O’Brien told the Caledonian-Record that one crew is working on northeast Vermont’s Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, which was established to conserve plants, animals and their habitats in the Connecticut River watershed.

O’Brien said another crew is building a one-mile trail to the summit of Middle Mountain in Essex, part of a network of trails being connected between Bluff Mountain in Island Pond and Gore Mountain in Avery’s Gore. Another group is putting in new steps and water bars on a trail up Mt. Pisgah in Westmore.

Next week, a crew will work on developing a comprehensive system of trails on property donated to the NorthWoods Stewardship Center.

Crew members for the summer are hired from communities surrounding project areas and are provided with training and education.

“What we’re looking for is maturity, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and challenge themselves,” O’Brien said.

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