Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Urban Field Trips - Stewardship on Mt. Baldy

Tuesday, March 1 was field trip day at Webb. Though our original plan was to hike to the peak of Mt. Baldy, heavy snow convinced us that doing some trail stewardship at lower elevations was more prudent. Even at around 5,000 feet, though, the trail was covered, making maintenance difficult. Slipping and sliding our way up the Bear Flat trail, just outside of Baldy village, we located several blowdowns, and commenced work on clearing the trail of a couple egregious offenders. Since we didn't know what to expect, we brought all kinds of tools, but unfortunately only one saw. So we took turns cutting off branches, always heeding the advice of Freddie Duncan, our National Forest Service escort. He's an expert on clearing trees, and knows exactly how and where to cut to minimize risk. Such tangible work, especially on a day when the trail was hidden, is always rewarding.

Josh begins working on the smaller branches, to give us access to the larger ones.

Mr. Purvis crawls through a gap in the tree that we were about to clear.

Jordan commences work...

...under the expert guidance of Freddie Duncan of the National Forest Service. Freddie will return later with a chainsaw to clear the heavier, more entrenched pieces.

John works on another section...

...while Adrian scours the area for invasive limbs.

Alex takes his turn at the saw.

Davis puts the finishing touches on this branch.

Here, we're standing on the section of trail we had just cleared. The tree behind us had previously blocked the way.

On the way down, Puji got the most out of his traction-less shoes.

With Smokey. Not surprisingly, today's fire danger was "low."

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