Cardigan Highlanders Volunteer Trail Crew

Our History

Sunapee 10/8/22
Newbury Trail work sites 8-20-2015 031


This timeline totals 18,861 hours through 2022, but it lists only a snapshot of highlights and new work. Each year we tend to routine preventive maintenance on 17 miles of trail.  That work includes cleaning about 200 waterbars Spring and Fall, painting blazes, trimming brush, chopping blowdowns and saving them for log fixtures.

After black fly season, we enjoy building such fixtures as steps, waterbars, ditches, pavers, revetting, bridges, signs etc.

We tend 10 miles of trail on Mt. Cardigan plus 5 miles on Mt. Sunapee, one mile on Shaker Mtn., and a half mile on Mt. Kearsarge.  We visit other people’s trails from Monadnock to Franconia Notch, and consult with them on trail design, bridges, and fixtures.

We may be the most active volunteer trail crew in the west highlands of New Hampshire.  We welcome volunteers willing to work to our guidelines.  There is always more work than workers, anyone can learn the skills, and we can usually adapt the work to fit anyone fit enough to hike to the jobsite.

1985, June 18:  NH Division of Forests and Lands lets us volunteer to maintain trails on Mt. Cardigan

1986, 266 hours:  relocation to bypass bog, 8’ bridge.  Cairns above treeline.  Cliff’s Bridge.

1987, 184 hours: South Ridge Trail brushed.  400 yard relocation West Ridge Trail at trailhead.

1988, 302 hours: Skyland Trail brushed.  3 color blaze scheme adopted by NH Div. F&L, AMC, and us.

1989, 177 hours: Third season adding more steps and waterbars.

1990, 140 hours: Fourth season adding more steps and waterbars.

1991, 340 hours: Remove Hermitage shelter.   More signs.  Rock staircase 1987 relo West Ridge Trail.

1992, 300 hours:  Mowglis Trail brushed.  3 new signposts, a bog bridge, and blazing.

1993,  60 hours:  More steps and drains, West Ridge Trail re-blazed.   Newbury Trail brushed.

1994, 215 hours: Mowglis Trail blazed.  Blaze boards lashed to spruces at treeline West Ridge Trail.

1995, 400 hours: 1986 bog bridge replaced.  Routine tending on schedule.

1996, 304 hours: More rock paving.  New drains Newbury Trail.

1997, 221 hours:  New drains on South Ridge Trail and Newbury Trail.  More pavers.

1998, 436 hours: ICE STORM   January 7-10.  We chopped 200+ blowdowns, cleaned drains, re-blazed.

1999, 351 hours: More blowdowns.  Replace Cliff’s Bridge.  Clean drains.

2000, 461 hours: Many fixtures made of salvaged blowdowns.  Moldering privy at Crag Camp.

2001, 250 hours: Replace old woodwork West Ridge Trail, often with rock.

2002, 413 hours:  Move ¼ mile Newbury Trail to easier grade.  Much rock scree 1987 route West Ridge 

2003, 505 hours: More drains West Ridge Trail.  200 yard relocation Andrew Brook Trail.

2004, 569 hours: 12’ bridge Andrew Brook Trail.  12 rock steps in staircase Newbury Trail.

2005, 354 hours: Finish rock staircase Newbury Trail.

2006, 620 hours: 1995 bridge  + 9 wood steps replaced West Ridge Trail.  150 yard relo Andrew Brook.

2007, 701 hours: new handrails Cliff’s Bridge.    Barlow Trail 12 new drainage dips.

2008, 676 hours: New signs and posts on Andrew Brook Trail and Mt.  Cardigan.

2009, 801 hours:  About 40 new paver stones on various trails.

2010, 628 hours: Winslow Trail \ ½ way:  18 new rock steps and fix old work.

2011, 578 hours: West Ridge Trail replace 15 log steps and waterbars.

2012, 571 hours: Many fixtures added or replaced.  12’ bridge Andrew Brook Trail replaced.

2013, 576 hours: Upgrade Crag Camp, move Mowglis Trail to high ground, then blaze it all.

2014, 418 hours: Mowglis Trail, 200 yard relo west of  Cilley’s Ravine.

2015, 815 hours: 110 rock steps and pavers Newbury, West Ridge, Andrew Brook.  6 rock waterbars. 12’ bridge Barlow Trail.  Bog Brook bridge with Monadnock-Sunapee Trail Club. Spirit of N. H. Volunteer Service Award.

2016, 955 hours: Cole Pond Trail rehab: 25 drains, 30 pavers, 12’ bridge.  Rim Trail 49 rock steps on relo by brook.  Hauled 16 rocks up 25 degree slope on rails with our rope winch. Winslow Trail more rock steps.

2017, 701 hours: Finish Cole Pond upgrade:  7 8’ bog bridges.  Slade Brook Bridge, Hanover NH.

2018, 805 hours: 18 volunteers patrolled 16 miles of trail, cleaned 200+ drains + side ditches twice, blazed 4.7 miles, set 120 rocks in new steps and waterbars.  Admin was an additional 310 hours because we organized as a NH non-profit, with website and a webwright, signs, a new map etc.

 2019, 864 hours: 11 volunteers worked on CHVTC on trails, 207 additional hours were spent on meetings and admin. Upper Valley Trails Alliance teens were 84 hours, Camp Onaway teens were 80 hours. Thus  the grand  total is 1028 hours. We patrolled 16 miles of trail, cleaned 200+ drains and side ditches  x 2, blazed 4.0 miles, set 35 rocks in steps and waterbars, and quarried 17 rocks for bridge abutments.

2020, 664 hours: The covid pandemic presented new challenges and necessitated altering our plans, but we still managed 90% of our average of the last 5 years. Volunteers patrolled 16 miles, cleaned 200+ drains (twice), set 44 rocks, refurbed 5 log fixtures, demoed and completed replacement of the Cole Pond Trailhead bridge. We turned out and worked safe when most needed.

2021, 694 hours: Usual drainage and clearing work, 12 new rock steps on Winslow Trail, 5 new steps on Rollins Trail, 4 new rock waterbars.

2022, 1029 hours. We patrolled 17 miles of trail, cleaned all drains in Spring and raked them in Fall, and blazed 5.4 miles. We set 12 pavers, dug 70 yards of new ditch, replaced 18 log steps/waterbars, and installed an 8’ bog bridge. Also, 6 new Highlanders earned their tartans.

2023, 754 total volunteer hours; 532 hours on trails and 222 hours on admin, outreach, and meetings. In addition to our usual maintenance chores during this very rainy season, we dug 30 yards new ditch, replaced 3 log waterbars, blazed 0.2 mi. of trail, constructed 3 new bridges. 17 volunteers turned out and 1 new tartan was awarded.