On most weather permitting Mondays, members from Saratoga PLAN’s Monday Stewards volunteer group gather for a morning of trail maintenance. Some days it’s sweeping trails for downed branches, other days its flagging new trails or repairing infrastructure.

Whatever it may be, the group’s fearless leader, Bill Lasher regularly reports on the day’s setbacks and successes.

Read on for the full report of the November bridge repair at Coldbrook Preserve.

Monday Report

“On Monday, November 9, 11 PLAN volunteers participated in the project on this beautiful Fall day at the Coldbrook Nature Preserve on Homestead Road in the Town of Northumberland.

The project for the day was to remove the rotting decking and railings on a steel girder bridge across Cole Brook in the Preserve and replace them with new materials. The bridge is 21’ long and 6’ wide.

The group parked and gathered at 10:30 am in the adjacent King Dairy cornfield. As pre-arranged, a large King Dairy bucket loader arrived and the new rough-cut Hemlock lumber was transferred from Cliff’s pick-up to the loader to be carried across the still muddy cornfield to the bridge site.

Most of the group, with their tools, followed the loader across the cornfield. Mike and Greg did manage to drive their trucks 3/4th the way and return at the end of the project without getting stuck.

Everyone helped to carry the new wood a short distance to the bridge site, and as the old decking and railings were removed, to carry that material back up the little hill to the spot where later in the day, the King Dairy bucket loader returned to dispose of it. Group members removed all the nails and screws before it was taken away.

As the old wood was removed, new wood was being installed and secured.  Some cutting of the lumber was required for the railing and posts which Greg did with a chainsaw. But the real test of his chainsaw skills was when he “ripped” the last 6’ decking piece to fit perfectly in the space available. The group gave him an A+ cheer.

This project once again affirmed what a dedicated group of volunteers can accomplish in a short period of time. (4 hours). More importantly, there was genuine appreciation and respect for everyone’s contributions to the project. Not a harsh word utter.

Yet, it wasn’t all “work”. There were many moments of fun and joy expressed as the work progressed. This past Monday was again a remarkable experience and why so many of us gather as often as we can on a Monday morning with other Saratoga PLAN volunteer trail stewards and have a part in supporting PLAN mission.   On this day it was to restore a safe and attractive bridge for Coldbrook Preserve trail users.

And, we added 58 volunteer hours for a YTD total of 1,290 hours.”

A big thank you to King Brothers Dairy for providing a bucket loader and field access! Thank you also to ExtremeTerrain for funding a portion of the project.