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Linking White to Black; Work has begun
RUMFORD- Most hikers throughout the area travel to Grafton Notch State Park for a multi-mountain hiking experience. They look forward to the Grafton Loop Trail where they can visit the summits of Puzzle, Long, East and West Baldpate, as well as Old Speck, Sunday River Whitecap and Stowe mountains.
Thanks to the efforts of the Mahoosuc Land Trust (MLT) and representatives of the local Peak-a-Week group, hikers will soon be able to enjoy hiking on a new trail that will connect Whitecap to Black Mountain of Maine.
“This is a work in progress,” noted Jolan Ippolito, Development Assistant for MLT. “We have several requests for grant money out there and we have volunteers. The combination of the two will be our answer as to how quickly the trail is completed.”
Bob Iles, MLT board member, noted, "I would hope to see the trail completed by the 2014 hiking season. Completion is all dependent on whether or not we secure grant money or have to depend solely on volunteer efforts."
Recently, under the direction of Mike Cooper of Caribou Trail Design, designer of the trail from Whitecap to Black Mountain, as well as the Grafton Loop Trail, fourteen volunteers started work.
Members of the Peak-a-Week hiking group, who have assumed stewardship of one of the trails for the past five years, was represented by Skip MacFawn, Jim Thomas and Peter DeFillip.
Iles noted, “These volunteers and others from that group have been responsible for many trail improvements since the MLT obtained the property.”
The Maine Appalachian Mountain Club was also represented during the work day by Keith Chapman, John Wiley, Rick York, Jane Gibbons and Jean Whitney, all who helped cut small trees and overhanging branches from the developing trail, which will pass under the south side of Whitecap's summit, down into the valley and then back up to the summit of Black Mountain, from where a hiker can descend to the lodge and its' parking lot. Fred Bailey of Andover and Maine Winter Sports was also working with the group.
Dan Elliott, Leon Akers, Bob Duplessie, and Bob Iles who are members of the MLT Whitecap Stewardship Committee were gratefully working along with the other volunteers. At the end of the day, the group had roughed out three quarters of a mile of trail.
Iles noted, “Every year we are thankful to those who work to improve the trails on this mountain and make it a fun experience for hikers.”
For anyone interested in continuing work on the connecting trail, June 2 is National Trails Day and the MLT will be working on this project. They will meet at the parking lot on East Andover Road at 9 a.m. Iles stated that there are some easy tasks to do and some harder ones to suit all abilities. “Come and join us for a day of hiking and working with the camaraderie of others who enjoy the great outdoors,” noted Iles.
Refreshments will be provided in the parking lot when the group is finished for the day.
For more information on the Mahoosuc Land Trust, visit www.mahoosuc.org.