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Sasha Wolfe


November 26, 2009


LSSC builds a bridge in Bradford

Last Sunday (Nov. 22), Tim Gove, Trails Master for the Lake Sunapee Snowmobile Club, invited me to see the finishing touches to the new bridge on Bill Pytlik's property at Fairgrounds Road in Bradford. Although the project was months in the planning, work began on the first Sunday of November and continued on the following two Sundays.

Fairground Road comes off of West Main Street and a good part of the road follows Hoyt Brook. Passing Johnson Hill Road on the left and Pleasant View Road on the right, Fairgrounds curves around a corner with West Meadow Road off to the left. The big field, known as "Messer Field," was where the Bradford/Newbury Fair was once held. Bill Pytlik's property is at the end of the field. 

Nov. 1, Tim Gove directs brother James, operating backhoe, placing cement waste blocks for the bridge abutment. (Jim Foss photo)

Bill accompanied us down the trail where we heard the roar of a backhoe. On the other side of the new bridge, Tim's brother James was digging out a large stump to widen that section of trail for safer snowmobile passing. 

Nov. 8, (left to right) Richie Marshall, Chuck Nelson, Alan Harris, Tim Gove, Doug Kinsman, and James Gove finish the wood work on the decking and railings. (Jim Foss photo)

Tim explained how the trail once dipped down into a gulley crossing the brook on a rickety old bridge before an uphill climb. That bridge, just barely spanning the water, was made from old telephone poles. The new bridge is a permanent fixture and constructed to last many years. 

Nov. 22, Bill Pytlik walks "his" new bridge. One hundred thirty yards of material were brought in, cement waste blocks stacked on both sides and steel I-beams placed across the stream. Wood decking and railings were added making it much safer and level with the trail. (Sasha Wolfe photo)

Nov. 22, Work crew on the finished bridge. (left to right) Jim Foss, Bill Pytlik, Mike Couitt, Tim Gove, Jodi McVey, and James Gove. (Sasha Wolfe photo)

Jim Foss, owner of the next property is another member of the club. He said that he cuts a lot of the overgrown brush along the sides of the brook and cleans debris from the water. The cuttings and deadfall are piled off the trail and whenever feasible, the debris piles are put out of sight. 

I once thought that trail maintenance just meant going in and clearing the trail, hacking back branches, and throwing the leavings aside. I am surprised and pleased at the care that the trails maintenance crew takes with the look of an area. In one instance, there is a beautiful tall oak in the middle of the trail which the owner had given permission to cut down. Instead, the trail was split  around both sides of the oak.

These guys have a great respect for the land and one of their major goals is to work more closely with landowners to keep properties neat and pristine, and to promote landowner involvement. Some landowners  have said that because of  the snowmobile club, they have easier access to more places on their properties.

Improvements are on-going and old material is recycled whenever possible. Tim said that he is using decking from old bridges as posts along sections of trails. The plan for the future is to not have any signs nailed to trees. He also spoke of making Information Boards at trail junctions with posted maps of the area.

Safety is a major factor and is one of the reasons for building stronger bridges, cutting back brush, and widening and leveling trails whenever possible. This work takes the efforts of many people. The Lake Sunapee Snowmobile Club owes much thanks to its volunteers. Without them, the club could not exist. 

Thank-yous go out to the following for their work on the Pytlik Bridge Project: Tim Gove, James Gove, Alan Harris, Mike Couitt, Jim Foss, John Famiglietti, Doug Kinsman, Steve Lucier, Chuck Nelson, Richie Marshall, and Jodi McVey. A thank-you also goes to Bill Pytlik for allowing access of equipment across his property which helped make this job a success. These guys give a lot of time and use of personal equipment to make these area trails enjoyable.

Many of the snowmobile trails are used by cross country skiers, snow shoers, and in warmer months by hikers and horseback riders. No ATVs are allowed except for  trail maintenance crews and the landowners.

The club needs help with committees and trail work. Anyone enjoying these trails is welcome to give us a hand. Check out the website at



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