The leaves are changing in the Seminary Hill Natural Area, and with it the prospect of fall and winter rains that turn a section of Kiser Trail near the top of the hill into a swamp.
“It just gets really muddy and wet,” said Brian Mittge, a volunteer with Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area.
Volunteers with the nonprofit that helps maintain the natural area have tried different strategies over the years to preserve that section of trail and help keep hikers out of the mud, with varying success, Mittge said.
This year, Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area is trying a more permanent solution: a boardwalk.
Volunteer Ross Olson helmed the project, soliciting donations from the community and coming up with the design and supplies for the new boardwalk.
It took several trips for volunteers to carry all the building supplies half a mile down Kiser Trail to the construction site last week, but they constructed the bulk of the boardwalk in one day on Sept. 17 during a Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area volunteer work party. Olson went back a few days later to install anti-slip traction tread on the boardwalk’s surface.
The wooden boardwalk isn’t expected to last forever, but given that the treated wood steps that adorn some steeper parts of the trail have lasted 30 years so far, Mittge expects the boardwalk will serve Seminary Hill hikers well for the foreseeable future.
Like the majority of the infrastructure in the Seminary Hill Natural Area, the boardwalk was fundraised and constructed by volunteers.
“Seminary Hill is great for people who want to work in the woods independently but also work alongside other people,” Mittge said.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area, or anyone with ideas for an infrastructure project on Seminary Hill, is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.