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UVTA’s Griphoist Training by Byron Haynes, UVTA Board Member

June 20, 2013

In April, Lester Kenway of Bangor Maine led a trail building workshop on the Gile Mountain Trail in Norwich.  The two-day workshop was sponsored by the Upper Valley Trails Alliance and included a total of 12 trail-building enthusiasts, including folks from the UVTA staff, the Norwich Trails Committee, Students from the Dartmouth Outing Club, the Cardigan Mountain Highlanders and The Upper Valley Mountain Bike Association.

Lester is the owner of Trails Services LLC, based in Bangor Maine.  He has worked on trail projects in state and national parks all over the continental United States and Alaska.  Lester trains and leads trail crews and sells hard-to-find trail building equipment.  He is also an authority on Griphoist lifting and pulling machines.  The griphoist is like a come-a-long with many safety features that allows trail crews to move large heavy objects, like rocks and trees, with the deft application of a mechanical advantage.

Much of the workshop included hands-on safety lessons with Lester explaining the limitations and possibilities of this equipment.  The highlight of the weekend was the erection of a 240’-long high-line through the woods of Gile Mountain.  The grip hoist was used to tension this line which then allowed the workshop participants to move large rocks up hill through the woods.  These rocks will be used to build stone stairs that are part of an ongoing trail hardening project on the popular and heavily used Gile Mt Trail.

Please see the link below for the demonstration video of the high-line at work.  The video was produced by Ben Silberfarb of Norwich.  The equipment was purchased by the Town of Norwich with a grant from the State of Vermont which was coordinated by UVTA.  The griphoist and the associated equipment will be made available for use by local organizations through the UVTA.

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