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>  News Releases >   2003 >   October

Big Picture: Feat for Feet

Posted 10/14/03

Trekking the 2,100-plus miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) is an incredible feat, but the unsung heroes really are the people who make these journeys possible: the trail maintenance crews. And, thanks to the Cabin and Trail division of the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), the College can claim bragging rights to this accomplishment.

Cabin and Trail crew

In addition to hiking and backpacking throughout northern New England, about one-third of the students in Cabin and Trail maintain 75 miles of the AT that wind from Pomfret, Vt., to Woodstock, N.H. The National Park Service sets the guidelines for maintaining the trail, including requirements for building, and rebuilding, 10 shelters along the way. In 1995 members of the Cabin and Trail group constructed a shelter on Ore Hill. This year, students are rebuilding a shelter on Moose Mountain.

The new facility replaces a 40-year-old structure, but it has been moved some 1,000 feet away from the old footprint. Julie Clemons, DOC general manager and advisor to the Cabin and Trail group, notes the old shelter was on a wet site and was too easily accessed by wheeled vehicles; as a result, it had been vandalized repeatedly over the years.

Construction on the Moose Mountain facility began this summer and has continued into the fall. Once complete, the campsite will offer a three-sided structure that accommodates eight people, two tent platforms, and a privy. "The new shelter will be more in line with our management plan," says Clemons. And the entire project, from start to finish, will be the result of perhaps a dozen students using only hand tools.

Clemons calls their work on the trail "part of an amazing tradition."

"These students are maintaining a national park," she says. "They do a lot of work. I'm always impressed by the time they put in and the skills they gain. It makes me very proud."

By Anita Warren

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