Friday, December 08, 2006


The 1.75-mile long boardwalk at Francis Beidler Forest was contructed between October 1976 and July 1977. The size of the work crew varied, but after three weeks of help from the folks at the Audubon Sanctuary at Corkscrew Swamp (FL) the crew was usually four individuals. Using hammers, saws and post-hole diggers, the boardwalk snaked through the virgin, old-growth forest from the nature center to Goodsen Lake and back again. On a good day, the crew could build 180 feet of boardwalk, but days of hitting roots with the post-hole digger or deep water kept the average feet per day at 120'.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo blew through and damaged nearly half of the boardwalk. As the years go by, trees die or are blown over by stormy weather and they may land on the boardwalk. The image shows such an event. The staff will then load the cart with lumber, nails and tools and head to the accident scene. In just over an hour, they can have fresh lumber spanning the gap caused by the downed tree or limb. However, over half of the boardwalk remains original lumber nailed down between 1976 and 1977 and is in need of replacing. Soon a new, slightly wider, ADA-compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act) boardwalk will begin snaking over the same path as the one laid down 30 years ago.

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