Group Gives Trail Cleanup Tips

For the last 20 years, the nonprofit Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition has helped hikers enjoy a 75-mile network of trails through 10 towns. This summer and fall, the organization has been helping them give back.

From Ragged Mountain’s rocky summit to the pristine Phillips Preserve at New London’s Otter Pond, SRKG’s four-month “trailwork season” has introduced trail users to trail maintenance.

Made possible by a grant issued by the Quabbin-to-Cardigan partnership — a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the landscape and natural resources from north-central Massachusetts to western New Hampshire — the series began in July and continues this weekend with the first of three October workshops.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., area hikers are asked to join SRKG and the Appalachian Mountain Club for a rock removal and structuring seminar on the Fisherfield Trail in Newbury, N.H. AMC trails department staff and SRKG personnel will use hand tools to reposition 12-to-17-pound rocks to help divert water from certain portions of the trail prone to erosion.

SRKG trail master Gerry Gold is hoping for a strong turnout.

“The trail is above Chalk Pond Road and very accessible. It’s only about a quarter-mile walk from the road,” said Gold, of New London. “The only thing people need to bring is a lunch. We’ll have everything else.”

AMC staff will use basic tools like shovels and pry bars to demonstrate how to safely remove and relocate stones. Structures such as water bars and steps will be built in an effort to lessen erosion impact.

Other workshops this month include building a bog boardwalk and trail in Bradford, N.H., on Oct. 20, followed by a “Fall Walkabout” hike over Bog Mountain in Wilmot, N.H., on Oct. 26.

Previous events this year have drawn up to 19 volunteers.

“We know many folks are hiking Greenway trails this summer and fall for the beauty and exercise,” Gold said. “The idea with this series is to get some of those hikers who appreciate the trails to come out and help us maintain them. Hopefully when they learn the basics, they’ll want to come out once or twice a year to help us keep the trails in good shape.

The all-volunteer SRK Greenway Coalition has approximately 200 members.

Ironman Jankowski Seeking Redemption: Tomasz Jankowski’s year of unfinished business finally culminates this weekend in Hawaii.

A year ago, the nationally-ranked Enfield triathlete had to settle for volunteer work at the Ironman World Championships after a severe accident while bicycle training on the Aloha State’s Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway left him with a clavicle broken in three places, a concussion and deep abrasions.

After rehabilitating in the Upper Valley last winter, the 52-year-old Jankowski had another strong summer competing in various half- and full-Ironman events — full ones entail a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run — landing him seventh among all 50-54 U.S. triathletes in the Revolution 3 Age Group Race series.

Jankowski finished the regular season with a pair of strong showings, placing second in his age group with a time of 5 hours, 5 minutes at a half-Ironman in Ohio on Sept. 8 before placing third during an Olympic-distance triathlon (0.93-mile swim; 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run) two weeks later in Morgantown, W. Va.

The latter performance qualified Jankowski for next summer’s USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee.

“I’m very happy with the rehab. I’m back to a full range of motion,” Jankowski said Wednesday in a phone interview from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. “It was a very encouraging season and I’m very confident heading into Saturday. I have some unfinished business here.”

Jankowski doesn’t know what may have caused last year’s devastating crash, but the accident didn’t stop him from returning to the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway for training this year.

“All I know is that it wasn’t the highway’s fault,” Jankowski said. “I didn’t mind getting back on it. I’m very confident with where I’m at right now.”

Endurance fans may view Saturday’s Ironman championship race online by visiting www.ironmanlive.com beginning at noon.

Paddle Power: Despite rainy and cool conditions, last Sunday’s 10th fall Paddle the Border canoeing and kayaking event drew 52 boats for a leisurely 8.5-mile row on the Connecticut River between Newbury and Bradford, Vt.

Organized by the Newbury Conservation Commission and other sponsors, rowers were shuttled from Bradford’s Bugbee Landing to the Newbury Boat Launch at the Haverhill/Newbury Bridge.

After reaching Bugbee Landing by boat, some participants lingered for an afternoon of barbecue and live music from the Strawberry Farm Band, a folk outfit who’s performed as part of the festivities for every year of its first decade.

“Considering the weather was less than perfect, getting 52 boats on the river was a really good turnout,” NCC chair Michael Thomas said. “A lot of them were canoes or double kayaks, so there were at least 75 (participants).”

The event draws support from the NCC as well as the Haverhill Recreation Department, the Woodsville/Wells River Rotary Club, the Lower Cohase Chamber of Commerce and the Bradford Conservation Commission. Proceeds from barbecue sales benefitted the Rotary Club’s scholarship fund.

“When we first started this event, we wanted to accomplish two things. The first was to get the community to get out and enjoy our greatest natural asset, which is the Connecticut River,” Thomas said. “The second was to get people from both sides of the river to get together, and this event certainly accomplishes that.”

A spring Paddle the Border event also takes place each year in mid May.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.