Monday, June 1, 2009

Trail Maintenance

I maintain about two miles of walking trails through Blue Jay Barrens. There is everything from the walking super-highway to the narrow township road variety. Early June is the time of first mowing for much of the trail system. Spring blooming flowers have finished their display and summer bloomers have not yet begun.

The trail through this area has been established for about 15 years. I try to mow infrequently enough to avoid changing the plant composition on the trail. You can see that the vegetation looks fairly uniform across this entire area.

The key to making sure you keep the trail in the same place each year is the centerline left by the deer. Deer are the most frequent users of this trail system. They tend to stay in the exact center of the mowed area, thus creating a worn area that remains from year. The mowed area is about three feet wide.

A problem not typically encountered during mowing is a tree down on the trail. A severe ice storm this past winter brought down hundreds of large branches. Normally I would have cleaned these up prior to plants beginning growth in the spring, but my priority was to clear fallen cedars from the prairies. I won’t drag branches through growing plants and figured that branches on the trail could be cut and carried out to an established brush pile along that trail. The trouble with being both the decision maker and the entire work force is that labor can’t effectively complain to management about the decisions being made. I hadn’t figured in all the additional branches that came down during the wind storms we had early this spring. I spent a lot more time cutting and carrying than I did walking behind the mower.

That piece of equipment is my DR Field and Brush Mower, referred to by me as Doctor Brush. DR Brush is customized with my special maintenance kit consisting of marking flags, pruning saw, hand pruners, litter bag and bag of tools and water.

My last obstruction, then a clear path all the way back to the barn.

1 comment:

  1. You had your work cut out for you! (No pun intended). ~karen