Recent heavy rains, about 5 inches on April 28-29 alone, have left their mark on the trail. They’ve clogged up the culvert inlets that direct water away from the trail, and FLMSP volunteers have been working hard to correct the problems.
Don Hahn, trail segment adopter in the Mid-South section, says, “It’s widespread, the most I have seen in my years on the trail.”
Don led a group of six volunteers who spent a total of 20 hours scraping mud off the trail and digging out culverts on May 2. The next day, Paul Morgan led a crew that did the same thing. Other volunteers up and down the trail joined the fight in their segments.
In at least two spots, the rain left more lasting marks. A plugged culvert inlet a half-mile south of Fosters probably contributed to about a foot of the trail edge breaking off and slumping toward the river, creating a real hazard for trail users. This same piece of trail was patched several years ago, but moderate slippage has continued, leading up to the recent breakage during heavy rains. The area is now marked with orange traffic cones.
An even worse trail slippage occurred just south of Morrow. A plugged culvert near mile marker 29 caused drainage ditches to fill with rainwater, causing a nearly one-foot drop of the trail edge and nearby soil just north of the culvert. Don Hahn marked the hazard and dug out the culvert on May 2, and the next week Paul Morgan’s group placed old bridge beams beside the badly slumping trail section. Staked into place, the beams should act as a retaining wall to hold back the soil substrate for the trail. “After we add some gravel and cold patch,” Paul reports, “this hazard should be fixed.”
Make no mistake: digging out logs, rocks, mud and debris from culverts is back-breaking work. Things are looking up for our volunteers, however: the FLMSP board has just voted to purchase a tractor with attachments that will facilitate this important work. Funds for the tractor came from your donations; thank you!