One major project throughout this past spring and summer has been to improve the trail conditions in Hobstone Woods and Robinson Woods. For several years, trail users have experienced muddy sections throughout Robinson Woods, particularly on the Pond Trail. As the first step to address these issues, CELT received an official wetland survey in fall 2021 for the areas surrounding the Robinson Woods trails. Since that time, CELT staff and committee members worked to fine-tune the specifics of where to precisely redirect the Robinson pond trail, and which muddy spots could use a boardwalk or two. We were then able to apply for a Resource Protection Permit from the Town of Cape Elizabeth, which is essential for construction in wetland areas, including boardwalks.
Accessibility – Inspired by this blog post from fall 2021 about the wheelchair-ability of the Pond Trail at Robinson Woods, CELT staff and committee members made the commitment that any new boardwalks built on CELT trails would be at least 3 feet wide. This design has the same wetland footprint as prior designs, and increases trail accessibility by helping eliminate forced turn-arounds for those with wheelchairs or strollers. This was incorporated into the Town proposal for boardwalks in both Robinson Woods and Hobstone Woods. The Resource Protection Permit was granted to CELT in June, just in time for summer!
Hobstone Woods – In early August, CELT staff and volunteers constructed three new boardwalks in Hobstone Woods! There is one muddy spot remaining, and we plan to construct the final new Hobstone boardwalk in mid-September.
Robinson Woods – Next to tackle were the new boardwalks at Robinson Woods. The main focuses were to re-install the wooden pond crossing and to move much of the pond trail further upland, thus reducing the muddy trail conditions as well as the overall wetland impacts. The water crossing was dependent on both state and Town permits, and all legal permissions were confirmed by mid-summer. For materials, we were able to use much of the lumber that was already onsite from previous crossings, with small additions here and there.
Many Hands Make Light Work – Fifteen people came together on an August Saturday morning to make it happen! We carried the previously-built wooden crossing into the water and two paddlers took it across the pond to the existing foundations. Volunteers also raked the new route for the upland pond trail, moved boardwalks, and addressed muddy spots adjacent to the metal bridge crossing. During the following week, staff and volunteers built the new boardwalk on the pond trail, closed the old route, and hung trail signs. This trail is a piece of the Cross-Town Trail that connects Kettle Cove and Fort Williams, and is a popular section for hikers, runners, dog-walkers, mountain bikers, and other visitors.
Many thanks to all who helped with this process, including CELT staff and committee members, Town committees, and the wide range of volunteers. Following years of talking about addressing wet conditions at Robinson Woods and Hobstone Woods, these trail upgrades have officially been completed!