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North Star: The Magazine of the North Country Trail

April - June 2001

Heart&Sole Edited by Joan Young

Tbi» trio of trail guyJ are proof that retirement can affect your heart. Each of them bad loJt hi:J heart to the trail! With the North Country Trail padding itJ 20th hirthday we've learned of many places where treadway faU) out yearJ ago now needJ «criou» cleaning and re-marking. Two of our featured oolunteer» have taken on the challenge of re-claiming orJ trail. The other bad made hrUJgu hi:J Jpecialty, and we are alwayJ glad for tbose dry-hoot croJJingJI We hope you will he encouraged and indpired hy theJe oolunteers. It'.:! Jpring: get your own heart pumping and your JoW pounding along the trail! BUCKEYE TRAIL ASSOCIATION

Jim Connor on a Buckeye Trail work crew. JIM CONNOR is a retired engineer and land surveyor. He defines retirement as "no administration!" So his efforts have focused on using his engineering skills to design and build bridges along the Buckeye Page 18

Trail in Ohio. Many Ohio folks will identify with his introduction to work crews: Jim Sprague was the inspiration for his involvement. The NCT is concurrent with the BT for many miles and uses several of Jim's bridges. "Bridges are fun, they are a challenge I enjoy," he commented. We are not talking about two 4x4's and a few planks here ... the first bridge Jim described is a 36-foot wooden truss bridge over Wye Bay at the Tappan Reservoir. Sprague adds, "Jim ram-rodded this project!" Another bridge that Jim helped with crosses Bloody Run at Burr Oak State Park. This bridge is 60 feet long and is made of welded pipe. Connor also is responsible for a bridge on the Buckeye Trail (but not the NCT) that weighs 2'12 tons and spans 65 feet at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. "I was just working there yesterday," Jim added. I could hear the sense of accomplishment in his voice! Jim also spends time clearing trail and enjoys the heavy work of using a chain saw. Now Connor, nicknamed "Chainsaw," spends several weekends each year with Buckeye work crews. He especially likes the places where the trail is off-road and he finds "solitary peace of mind." He quickly added, "but I also like the social aspects such as telling stories around the campfire at night." We know he's spent lots of time working on the trail since he's a recipient of the BTA Star award for participation. Jim recognizes the scope of the challenge required to maintain the 1200 miles of the Buckeye Trail, which circles Ohio. He figures that if a crew began working and worked eight hours a day on the trail ahead of them, they could just keep working their way around Ohio and never be done! Next time you are hiking in eastern Ohio and cross a bridge be sure to say, "Thanks Jim, and Buckeye Trail Crews!"

Gary Joh/ZdonhuiJe Jome of the improved markingJ proviJed hy the Tittahawa.JJee Chapter. TITTABAWASSEE CHAPTER GARY JOHNSON is a charter member of one of the newer NCTA Chapters. In fact, he's their first featured volunteer and received the Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award in 2000. He saw a notice in the local paper and attended the meeting to learn of the North Country Trail. He calls trails "an easy way to experience the wild without fear of getting lost; just 'follow the blue blazes."' But when the Tittabawassee Chapter adopted 70 miles of old trail north of Traverse City, Michigan they discovered that following those blazes was no easy matter. Gary describes their section as "needy!" Since most of the chapter members live at a driving distance of two hours from the trail a group of workers usually tackle some of the big tasks together. Gary and two of his friends have been nicknamed the "Breckenridge Boys," for their prowess with the chain saw. Their trail work is a bit like a scavenger hunt. Cora Killinger, chapter Trail Coordinator sends him to the woods with handdrawn maps where logs are the prizes. Gary modestly added, "Whatever Cora needs done, we'll tackle." One of his strengths is organizing people to work together. He's one of those volunteers who

North Star Vol. 20, No. 2 (2001)  
North Star Vol. 20, No. 2 (2001)