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How we maintain our 10 miles of carriage roads

If you only visit the carriage roads during high summer, you may not know what it takes to keep them in tip-top shape. We spend a few weeks every spring and fall performing maintenance that is necessary to keep the roads functional and beautiful. When was the last time you saw a road at Little Long Pond washed out? Answer: I would guess, almost never. Even during the spring melt or after a summer deluge: no washouts. We maintain 10 miles of carriage roads and nearly 10 miles of ditches. Here are a few of our maintenance tricks.

Clear all ditches.

Ditches only work if water can freely flow into them. This requires us to blow out leaves and organic debris at least once a year (twice in some areas). Two or three land stewards march along with backpack blowers inspecting every foot of ditch to ensure it is clear. By the time the leaves drop in November, most of the ditches are full of sticks, leaves, and unfortunately, bags of dog poop. During this days-long walk we also collect management information (i.e., hazard trees, needed stonework repairs, erosion) on a smart phone map that we use for future management projects.

Remove organic debris from the road surface and clean culverts.

While we are blowing out the ditches, we blow the organic material off the surface of the carriage roads. A buildup of organic material (soil, leaves, sticks, etc.) on the carriage roads would change their look, feel, and function. Imagine sprouting weeds? We much prefer for the road surface to be purely crushed stone, which allows for a very consistent texture and walking experience. Every culvert, over 100 total, is inspected for blockages and blown out.

Topping and grading.

We add a thin layer of crushed, pink granite whenever a portion of the road is growing bare. This mixture is much brighter than the crushed stone used in Acadia National Park, a feature that makes Little Long Pond unique. Topping and grading require a few days with our larger trucks and grader machine. This leaves the surface looking brand new.

We recognize that the long drone of our backpack blowers can interfere with your visit, and that dump trucks look a little out of place on the carriage roads, but we appreciate your ongoing support and patience with this maintenance. We make every effort to work early in the morning and in the shoulder seasons. We hope you enjoy the outcomes.

Tate Bushell, Director of Natural Lands

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