2018 was the 6th season of the COGGS Trail Crew and it culminated with the biggest, baddest project they have ever undertaken. More on that later.
About the Crew
This year our Crew consisted of Trail Crew Leader Shawn Miller (back for his 6th season), 2nd year Alyssa Lommel and two newcomers, Erik Dolezal and Joe Conerton. Half way through the year Joe moved on to build with a pro builder on the Iron Range (they are building a bazillion miles up there right now) and his role was filled by UMD student Derek Boe, who had spent the summer working for CAMBA.
The Crew had several small projects to start the year, building a half mile of trail along Patridge St connecting Chester to West Chester, and another half mile of intermediate Duluth Traverse (DT) in Hartley. A second project in Hartley added a true technical challenge to that system by building a black diamond trail to the top of Rock Knob.
The Antenna Farm
From Hartley our Trail Crew moved to the main project of the season, which is a section of the DT spine trail through the Antenna Farm. The Antenna Farm offered a lot of challenges as much of the terrain was either wet, rocky or both. Thankfully our fantastic Crew laid down some truly fantastic trail, including some of the best views in all of Duluth.
Near the end of this section our Crew had to tackle the most challenging trail building situation they have ever encountered. Surrounded by private land on all sides, the route followed a road easement which led them to a bluestone cliff with a 45 degree slope. The only way across was to build a bridge. Over the next 10 weeks our Crew hammered away bedrock, built cement pillars for footings, and constructed a 54' bridge that is stout enough to be able to drive our mini-excavators (and any other maintenance equipment) across.
This project included weeks of backbreaking work and inclement weather. Our Crew had to learn on the fly how to build such a massive structure and they nailed it! Please give them a hearty thank you when you see them as they did more than we ever could have asked of them when building THE BRIDGE.
For 2019 our Trail Crew has several exciting projects on the docket. Most likely they will be connecting the Duluth Traverse Spine Trail from Hartley to Chester at the start the year. From there, they will be building a trail from Quarry Park in West Duluth to connect to Brewer Park and if time remains, a 2 mile advanced loop at Elys Peak - which will be Duluth's answer to Captain Ahab - to round out the year.
We have great projects ahead, so please continue to support COGGS in all ways possible so we can continue to hire and equip our Crew so they can make our dreams come true!