For the second year in a row UVLT has been selected as one of the four community non-profits to work with the Tuck School of Business as a part of their “Tuck Builds” program. Tuck builds is a program that pairs incoming Tuck School of Business students with a local non-profit for four days of service. The program allows students “the rewarding opportunity to help the local community, meet new people, and informally learn how business knowledge intersects with social and environmental needs.”
This year, the six Tuck students who were assigned to work with UVLT’s stewardship team built 1.6 miles of new trail at Smith Pond Shaker Forest. Building a new trail is hard work! The students worked full days, and sometimes in the rain, to build the trail. They did all the work from clearing the corridor, to roughing in the treadway, to fine tuning the look and feel of the trail. Doug Brown, a Land Steward at the Upper Valley Land Trust said, “The Tuck students were great, from the very beginning they had a lot of agency over the trail. They made decisions about where the treadway would go and how it looked in the end. They worked really hard and created a really nice trail.”
When asked how he felt about Tuck Week, Stewardship Director Jason Berard said, “We enjoy working with Tuck students for this week every year. Meeting students from such diverse backgrounds and working together for 4 days, we really get to know them, and they get to know each other as well. Not only are we building a trail, we are building community at the same time.”
The new section of trail is accessible from both the 4a and the Smith Pond Road trail heads. A new trail map can be found here. The trail to Half Mile Pond begins at the log landing part way up the current trail, where it splits off and veers to the south. The trail roughly follows where the old trail to Half Mile Pond once went. The trail takes the hiker to a nice vista on the Smith Pond Property before exiting the Smith Pond property and entering into the Henry Laramie Wildlife Management Area. UVLT had to obtain special permission from NH Fish and Game to build the trail through part of their property to reach Half Mile Pond.
The Upper Valley Trails Alliance also had a Tuck Builds crew at the Smith Pond Shaker Forest property during the Tuck Builds week. The Trails Alliance crew built a stone staircase along the trail from Little Dog Falls to the pond. Their high school trail crew also worked on this staircase. UVLT is planning on building a rough hewn bridge at the same location to cross the stream later this month, and adding a bench, creating an idyllic spot by the waterfall.