Friends of Pisgah State Park get down to business


WINCHESTER, N.H. — A volunteer group, continuing its good stewardship of Pisgah State Park, is preparing to bring a host of improvements to the trails over the next four years or so.

"The Friends of Pisgah is getting more active and the state has been supportive. It's just looking like we can get more and more of these things accomplished in shorter and shorter periods of times, and that's necessary because it's a huge park," said Kim Nilsen, vice president of the group. "It's 13,000 acres. It needs lots of work and we're going at it now in a rather orchestrated fashion."

His group is making upgrades to infrastructure throughout the property, maintaining trails and planning a few additions. He said the park has been getting more use over the last decade.

The group is building another bridge on Saturday at 10 a.m. A new deck, railing and ramp will be constructed over a beaver-flowage stream on the South Woods Trail. People interested in helping can meet at the Horseshoe Road parking lot. The location of the new bridge is about a mile away.

Most of the materials are at the site now.

"The big stringers, which cross the stream and hold up the deck, are already in place. Four of us went in and put that in last week," said Nilsen. Those are big, laminated timbers that are 23 feet long. Two of them are sitting on sills. They're in place already. They're screwed down. They're not going anywhere."

Also on Saturday's agenda is the dismantling of several "very old bridges nearby," Nilsen said. Nails will need to be removed from the wood and the wood will be placed in a pile off to the side to be reused in other projects planned at the park.

These three bridges are in a difficult area to access, according to Nilsen. The structures were put in before a beaver dam was built and erosion affected the area.

The new bridge will be the third new one in the South Woods Trail in the last two years.

Nilsen said it is always helpful to have 10 to 12 volunteers during a work session.

"Since we already put the stringers in place or the big joists that hold up the deck and railings, people can get started on the project right away. They don't have to wait on some big effort to put the stringers in place," he said. "If we have plenty of people, some people can start taking apart the old structures. There's plenty to do."

Later in the summer, the group will be building a small viewing platform to look at a large bog and blue herring rookery.

"It's a beautiful wetland area," said Nilsen.

A bridge on the Doolittle Trail, which floated away during a washout, will be disassembled. Both sides will be raised to prevent the bridge from moving in flooding events again. New stringers will be put in place with the original deck material put back on, Nilsen said.

His group also applied for a $23,7000 grant to restore about 3,000 feet of trail on the north end of the Kilburn Loop.

"It's heavily eroded and always wet. We have to bring in lots of fill and equipment and all that sort of thing. So those things will happen next year if we land the grant," said Nilsen. "It's a long process and it's going to take awhile before the state Trails Bureau decides on it."

Another goal involves developing a trail and bridge on the eastern side of Kilburn Pond.

Also in the pipeline is the replacement of an approximately 40 foot crossing with a Nepalese bridge.

"Essentially, it's a covered bridge without sides. It has a roof on it," Nilsen said. "I've built one of those before. They last much longer than bridges that are not covered. We probably won't have permission — if we get it at all — for awhile."

Contact Chris Mays at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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