Fern Trail Restoration Update: Spring 2020

From Gene Kenny, Office of the President:

It’s been a challenging spring season for many reasons, but as we look to the future, we have some good news to share with our NWS Friends Group members. The Department of Natural Resources approved the request for a Stewardship Friends Grant on April 3rd, 2020. This $20,000 “matching” grant will be used for the Fern Trail Restoration Project.

In November 2019, the Newport Wilderness Society applied to the DNR for approval to replace the ground-level segmented boardwalk on the Fern Trail. As you may know, the Fern Trail is Newport State Park’s “wheelchair accessible” trail. This trail is often flooded from the final snowfall well into the summer months. Many years the flooding extends beyond the existing boardwalk which was constructed in 2003. This Stewardship Friends Grant gives us a good start in funding this project. The NWS has to provide matching funds to cover the cost of materials and any contracting services. The majority, if not all the work will be accomplished with volunteer support.

Currently, NWS board members are working with NSP management to plan all aspects of this project. A detailed design has to be approved by the DNR Engineering department. The project has to be reviewed by the DNR Archeologist and the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation before any construction can start. Since it’s an existing trail, some of these items may be accomplished quickly.

The NWS has also started the planning process to recognize those individuals who contribute to this project. Your financial, as well as volunteer support will be greatly appreciated.