Forest Society Volunteers Organize Effort to Repair Bridges at McCabe Forest

June 24, 2010

Forest Society Volunteers Organize Effort to Repair Bridges at McCabe Forest

Forest Society Land Steward Peter Moore recently led a workday at the McCabe Forest in Antrim to re-set the footbridge and bog bridges that had floated away from their intended locations earlier this year.  

The Contoocook River flooded its banks this spring following heavy rains from late winter storms. At the McCabe Forest, the floodwaters displaced several timber bridges along the two-mile network of hiking trails. Two of the displaced bridges were very heavy structures constructed from large hemlock logs cut and hand-hewn on site by a Student Conservation Association work crew just last year. 

Moore, a Forest Society volunteer land steward at McCabe Forest, recognized the inconvenience that the missing bridges caused hikers. He organized a workday to rectify the situation, recruiting four additional land steward volunteers from nearby Forest Society reservations to help rebuild the bridges. He was joined by Ray Jackson and Alan Cort, who volunteer at the Heald Tract in Wilton; Walter Weeks, who volunteers at the Dickinson Memorial Forest in Swanzey; and Ruth Ward, who volunteers at the Upton Forest in Stoddard.

“This crew of five was able to maneuver the heavy bridges back into place using iron bars and a griphoist – a type of trail winch with gripping jaws that allows users to pull heavy loads attached to a cable,” said Forest Society Land Steward Coordinator Carrie Deegan. “It took a combination of brains, brawn, and – according to Peter – Yankee ingenuity to move the bridges back into position.”

In the future, the bridges will be cabled to nearby trees to prevent displacement from flooding.

The McCabe Forest is one of the 165 reservations that the Forest Society owns and manages in more than 95 New Hampshire communities. Forest Society reservations were conserved to promote sustainable forestry, protect water quality, provide wildlife habitat, and share their natural beauty and tranquility with New Hampshire residents and visitors.

“Land steward volunteer are critical to the successful management of these reservations,” said Deegan. “Stewards visit their adopted properties throughout the year, performing trail and infrastructure maintenance tasks.”

Land stewards receive hands-on training in forest management, GPS/compass use, trail maintenance, and recreation management. Stewards also have opportunities to meet and work with land conservation professionals and other volunteers. They also serve as local liaisons between the Forest Society their communities. For more information about becoming a Forest Society land steward, contact Carrie Deegan at or 224-9945 x318.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. For more information, visit