The Portland Trails team on their brand new bridge in the Presumpscot River Preserve! Standing, left to right: Bailey, Jaime, and Alison. Sitting or crouched, left to right: Daniel, Kara, and Lindsay.

One sunny morning in October, we held our monthly Portland Trails staff meeting on the Presumpscot River Preserve trail with tools in hand. Jaime and Daniel, the resident trail experts, led the team in the demolition of an old bridge and then guided us through the construction of a new one. All six of us had fun taking a break from screens and Zoom calls to work on a hands-on project together. We bonded, laughed, took out some stress with our hammers, and helped make an improvement to one of our favorite trails!

This is the type of work our trail volunteers help us with throughout the year, and we are so grateful for their hard work and dedication - building a bridge is no easy feat, but it is definitely rewarding.

Out with the old! After a tutorial from Jaime, Lindsay and Kara took apart the rotting bridge board by board. Trail work can be cathartic!

Meanwhile, Alison and Bailey bent the nails in the old boards to prevent injury when the time came to haul the boards out of the woods.

Once we rolled the old, rotted frame out of the way, Bailey and Jaime began laying out the new frame for the bridge. These pressure-treated boards are heavy - it took two staff members to carry one board!

Daniel coached Lindsay while she nailed the frame together. He had great tips for hammering efficiently so we wouldn't exhaust our arm muscles.

On the other end of the bridge, Jaime showed Kara how to line up the boards and nail them into place.

How loud is it when six hammers are thwacking away? Very loud. This was the final step of bridge construction!

We put our hammers down for a moment so one of the very first trail users could cross the nearly finished bridge!

When we packed up to leave, our finished bridge was basking in the autumn sun. Can you spot it the next time you visit the Presumpscot River Preserve?