The trail system was in critical need of erosion control, raised walkways, and small bridges to enable the broadest number of people to use the trails year round, while protecting water quality and habitat.
The project focused on the Orange, White, and Blue Diamond trails which traverse the perimeter and center of the Horseshoe Bend Park, Kingwood Township, New Jersey. The trails were in critical need of erosion control and basic maintenance to make them available to the broadest number of people possible for year round use.
The project also served to protect the stream’s water quality and to maintain plant and animal habitat. Raised walkways and small bridges were constructed in areas where trails were impacted by seasonal or year-round water flows.
The grant funds were used to buy materials and some tools. Labor for the project came from a partnership of volunteers throughout Kingwood Township and the surrounding communities including, Scouts, horseback riders, hikers, and other interested community members who have already demonstrated their willingness to help by participating in organized trail clearing events within Horseshoe Bend Park.
The main focus of the work on the trails was erosion control— areas where the trail was eroding. The soils and bedrock in Kingwood Township combine to hold water near the surface and where there is slope, cause erosion. Some of the sloping portions of the trails are badly eroded. These areas were treated with 6 by 6 timbers set on their side to form check dams (water bars) to move water off the trail.
Designs based on the National Park Service's Trails Management Handbook and the City of Portland, Oregon, Parks and Recreation Trail Design Guidelines were the basis for a bridge crossing a small seasonal stream along the Orange Trail.
Volunteers provided time and machinery to lift and place three 14-inch diameter poles that were 40 feet long. The poles were secured to bridge abutments made from 6 by 6 pressure treated timbers pinned together with half-inch reinforcing bar.
Volunteers also set the bridge surface and handrails over a long hot summer. A shorter 16-foot bridge was also constructed using this same method. In areas along the Orange and White trails which became seasonally saturated with water for more than 180 days, raised trail was constructed from pressure treated 6 by 6 timbers and surfaced with 4 by 6 pressure treated planks. Over 330 feet of raised trail was constructed.
This included the use of a crew from the Student Conservation Association, who assisted in the construction of raised trail sections. In addition, a Boy Scout took on the removal of over 2,900 feet of wire fence that ran through the park and the installation of bird houses and trail signs as part of his Eagle Scout project. This brought 19 scouts into the park to assist in this project, contributing over 212 hours of work.
Richard Dodds, Kingwood Township, 599 Oak Grove Road, Frenchtown, NJ 08825
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