A Tale of Two Bridges

27 April 2003

On Sunday, April 27, 13 volunteers (along with 3 state employees) showed up to take on the task of reinstalling the two seasonal stream crossings in the Forest of Nisene Marks. This project is everyone’s favorite because it provides for diversity and definite teamwork.

Ever since the introduction of the second stream crossing at George’s Picnic Area, approximately three years ago, this workday has had an element of competition between the two groups installing the bridges. This year was no exception. “Bridge A” team took on the task of installing the bridge crossing Aptos Creek to Marcel’s Forest. This team consisted of Chris Foster (who assumed the role of project superintendent), Mike Hammes, Richard Andrews, Greg Lydon and two first timers, Eliece Horton and her husband, Eric.

Bridge B team assesses their first obstacle.
Bridge B team assesses their first obstacle.

Elin Kienitz prepares to wade in and help erect the silt barrier.
Elin Kienitz prepares to wade in
and help erect the silt barrier.

Bridge A team is well under way...
Bridge A team is well under way...

While Bridge B team waits for Jim Belcher to remove the downed tree.
While Bridge B team waits for Jim Belcher
to remove the downed tree.

Bridge B team makes progress as Jeff Hicks examines the bracket alignment.
Bridge B team makes progress
as Jeff Hicks examines the bracket alignment.

With Bridge A in and ready to go, Bridge A team member Chris Foster, is giving Jeff Hicks and Jim Belcher some pointers.
With Bridge A in and ready to go,
Bridge A team member Chris Foster
is giving Jeff Hicks and Jim Belcher
some pointers.

“Bridge B” consisted of Jeff Hicks, Jim Belcher, Leslie Johnson, Elin Kienitz (her first workday!), Greg Weaver, and the three state employees, Barbi Barry (maintenance superintendent), Tim Reynolds and Cris Sanguino, State Park Ranger assigned to the Park. The first obstacle that faced this team was a tree that had fallen right where the bridge needed to go.

So before anything could happen, Jim Belcher manned the chainsaw so the crew could begin constructing the bridge. While the Bridge A team was well under way with practically no impediments. But the Bridge B team was not deterred. All were convinced that once the tree was removed and the silt barrier in place, all would go smoothly. As shown in the picture of Elin Kienitz, the smiles were bright as boots were donned and the Bridge B team headed into the water.

The Bridge B team worked steadily but could not make up the lost time they encountered because of the tree. Then there was a shortage of hardware that required a quick trip to the local hardware store to finish the installation. In good sporting fashion, Chris Foster, of the Bridge A team, dropped by to give some pointers to Bridge B team members, Jeff Hicks and Jim Belcher (as seen in the last picture).

While all this sloshing in Aptos Creek was going on, Margrite Weaver volunteered to spiff up the native plant garden located at the kiosk. Greg Lydon and Richard Andrews (of Bridge A fame) helped with the weeding and sweeping around the kiosk since they finished the bridge installation in record breaking time! (No sitting on their laurels; they came out to work!!)

When all was said and done, everyone regrouped for a second cup of coffee and some good-natured razing. “Just wait until next year” I heard someone say. Now that’s the spirit!!


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