WaterWheel volunteer day with the Green Mountain Club

A group of WaterWheel volunteers recently spent a muddy and rainy Saturday helping the Green Mountain Club work on their Burrows Trail rehabilitation project.

In Summer 2022, work commenced on the three-year long Burrows Trail rehabilitation project. The Burrows Trail runs 2.1 miles up the mountain before intersecting the Long Trail to reach the summit of Camel’s Hump. Burrows Trail was built more than 100 years ago, and has not seen such extensive maintenance before. It has been heavily eroded by water running down the trail, turning it into a gulley in some areas. Much of the trail has also become excessively widened, due to heavy hiker and dog traffic.

There are more than 300 sites along the Burrows Trail that crews have been upgrading throughout the project. This includes constructing stone staircases, check steps, and waterbars, which help to mitigate erosion and make the climb easier for hikers. This is a first-of-it’s kind, top-to-bottom trail reconstruction project in Vermont and we’re looking forward to many more generations of hikers enjoying the success of Burrows Trail.

The WaterWheel volunteer team built a stone waterbar on a new re-location of the Burrows Trail. One of the many drainage structures used on trails, a waterbar is a diagonal channel and outflow ditch that crosses the trail at an angle and gives water that is on the trail an opportunity to exit off the trail. Our waterbar consisted of 4-large stones which were “set” into the trail, a drainage channel to funnel the water and an outflow ditch to ensure the water fully exits the trail. To build this, the team quarried stones from the nearby woods and used hand tools, rock nets, and brute strength to move the stones to the trail. Once the rocks were moved to the trail, we dug a trench in which to set the stones. Next, we made approximately 12 gallons of “crush” in which the waterbar stones were set in order to have a solid foundation. Crush is crushed rock made by using a sledgehammer to crush large rocks into smaller, golf-ball sized rocks.

A very big thank you to Lorne and Justin from GMC for guiding and teaching us.  We had a blast!

To learn more about the Green Mountain Club and the important work they do to protect and maintain Vermont’s Long Trail, visit https://www.greenmountainclub.org/.


Click on the images below to view larger.