New Boardwalk at Firth Lake

New Firth Lake boardwalk

The Chippewa Moraine Chapter of the Ice Age Trail has completed the Firth Lake Boardwalk.  In September, the volunteers prepared the trail from the Firth Lake parking lot to the old boardwalk, and cleared vegetation for a 20’ wide strip along the route of the new boardwalk.  The first two weeks of October had crews busy at the Brunet Island State Park garage.  The lumber was dropped off and crews got to work building 100 frames.  All the cut ends of boards were treated to prevent rot.  Our team of carpenters built the 24’ span bridge on site where the creek flows out of the lake at the beaver dam.  Finally, the volunteers hauled all the lumber and pans to the site and laid them out along the route of the new boardwalk. 

October 17-21, crews of about 25-30 volunteers per day worked from 8am-4pm to build the boardwalk.  Working out from both ends of the bridge, pans and posts were set.  Headers were mounted on the posts.   Then 8’ frames were set in place.  Next came the deck boards.  On Tuesday, we created 3 bump outs to allow groups pass each other along the long boardwalk.  Posts were added to the boardwalk for the handrail.  By the end of the day, the west bound section had all of its deck boards in place.   On Wednesday handrails and kick rails were installed on the finished deck portions.  At the very end of the day, a cheer went  up as the last deck board was installed at the eastern end.  Thursday, work continued on the handrails and kick rails.  By afternoon we shifted gears to removing the old boardwalk.  Two sawyers started at the east end and cut the boardwalk into manageable pieces.  These were hauled down the boardwalk on dollies and wheelbarrows to the west end, and loaded onto a trailer which hauled them to the large dumpsters at the parking lot.  On Friday we continued the removal of the old boardwalk and completed the task by noon.  

A big thank you to all of our members who volunteered their time and muscle to complete this project.  It is amazing that our crew was able to complete 737 feet of boardwalk with handrails, bump outs, and kick rail in 3 1/2 days + I day to remove the old boardwalk.  The majority of the crew were members of our chapter, many of whom are experienced with MSC projects around the state.  We also had MSC volunteers from other chapters participating.  A thank you also to volunteers from the Blue Hills Chapter who came to work on the project.

If you have time for a hike, stop out at Firth Lake and check out the new boardwalk.  

50 year old Firth Lake boardwalk