Summer Approaches, One Volunteer Work Day at a Time!

Volunteers Clean Up 25 Pounds of Trash, Plant 1,400 Seedlings, and Build 62 Signs

Sophie Oehler | June 20, 2024
Hypertherm employees pose by Grafton Pond.

Hypertherm employees helped clean up Grafton Pond.

It takes a lot of work to prepare for the busy hiker and visitor season on Forest Society trails. Thankfully, we have lots of hardworking volunteers who help us prepare for the many thousands of people who visit our properties each year. So far this year, we’ve hosted nine workdays on several of our properties with the help of 93 total volunteers.  

Our first workday of the spring hosted seventeen volunteers (10 of which were SNHU students) helping with a variety of landscaping tasks at the Conservation Center in Concord, including mulching, weeding, and raking. A second group spent time performing trail maintenance and clean up on the Merrimack River Floodplains right down the street from the CC, repairing and restringing rope boundaries and trimming branches hanging into the trail.  

Our largest workday happened on Earth Day at Mt Major during our annual Earth Day trash clean up in the parking lot, along the trails and at the summit. Though technically six of our volunteers signed up for the event, an additional twenty-five hikers pitched in on the day, picking up trash on their way up and down the mountain. At the end of the day, over 25 pounds of trash were cleared from this beloved hiking destination.  

Our other annual trash cleaning day is hosted each year at Grafton Pond and supported exclusively by Hypertherm Associates. This year, five bags of trash were cleared from the shores and trails at Grafton Pond, plus two car tires, some construction debris and a television.  

“We’ve noticed people consistently dumping trash here since it’s such a remote location,” Forest Society Volunteer Coordinator, Laurel Swope-Brush, “So this clean up day is super important to make sure we’re getting rid of those trash deposits left over the fall and winter.”  

The Rocks has hosted two workdays: one for Christmas tree plantings, and a second for general property maintenance and clean up. Tree planting occurred on May 1st with the help of six volunteers from Mainstay Technologies. Even though it was a small group, 1,400 trees out of 2,000 were planted in the six hours the group had signed up to help.  

“It was the perfect day for tree planting,” says Swope-Brush, “And it made a huge difference to have the new Carriage Barn for a great lunch spot, and of course, bathrooms.”  

The second Rocks workday was completed by high school students from the White Mountain School just down the road in Bethlehem. 10 students worked with Rocks staff to clear brush from garden beds, remove trimmed apple branches from the lawn, and clean up trash along the paths and driveway.  

Another popular North Country Forest Society property, Lost River Gorge, welcomed fifteen volunteers to clean up the trails, parking lot and garden areas in preparation for the thousands of visitors this destination receives each year. This is always a particularly important event due to the amount of traffic the gorge receives.  

Our sign making workshop at the end of May was our final workday before the summer. Fifteen volunteers over two days joined forces to build and paint exactly 62 signs to be put up across Forest Society properties. Some of the signs went to replace existing signs that had either rotten or fallen, while others were brand new markers to be put up where Forest Society staff notices visitors are having difficulty finding their way.  

With nine work days completed, and many more to go to prepare for our highest visitation season, Forest Society staff want to express our thanks and appreciation for all the folks who have done such hard work on our properties.  

“Trail work and property maintenance is time consuming and physically grueling,” says Laurel Swope-Brush, “Without our volunteers, we would be stranded in an ocean of responsibility and work demanding to be achieved. With their help, though, that ocean shrinks to a lap pool.”