The 5th Annual Great Gravel Pack-In
The multi-chapter Back Country Horsemen of Washington gravel haul in Capitol State Forest had a rewarding turnout of volunteers from nine Western Washington chapters and representatives from the East Cascade Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Oregon. Additionally, six other trail advocacy groups encompassing hikers, mountain bikers, motorcycle riders, competitive mounted orienteering, and off road vehicles organizations plus jeep and mounted units of Thurston County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue helped with the project on Waddell Trail. The trailhead near Margaret McKenny Campground gets heavy use by many different types of trail recreationists – hikers, bikers, and stock riders.
One hundred and ten volunteers from the trail organizations assisted the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in graveling and maintaining the trail.
Twenty packstock, escorted by mounted volunteers, were engaged to haul the gravel and rock to the trail work site. Ground crews, assisted by an excavator, loaded buckets and weighed each one before carefully loading the packstock. At both the staging area and work site, safety was always an issue; ground crews work in close proximity with trail stock. Stock handlers calmly restrained the horses and mules while the ground crews loaded and unloaded the gravel and rock. Ground crews were also assigned to clear and brush back surrounding trails.