A Warm December's Christmas Gift: The Chance To Beat The Clock on Outdoors Work

Dec 18, 2015

The new ramp is on Route 110 almost one mile northeast of the covered bridge in Stark.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

Late last week, with the temperature almost 40 degrees, Walter Opuszynski stood next to the Upper Ammonoosuc River in Stark, watching an excavator finish a project he thought would be a lost cause if December bought typical winter weather.

He’s the trail director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The project was installing a ramp at a spot so steep and slippery that paddlers had a tough time in in or out of the river.

But if the ramp wasn’t installed by December 31st, a $2,500 grant would be lost. And that had him very worried because pouring concrete in cold weather would be problem.

“We had that stretch in November, October where it was starting to get cold and I was like ‘Oh, here comes winter,’” he said.

A necessary permit took longer than expected, arriving early this month.

Then, Opuszynski began praying for warm weather, which caused some spousal discord. His wife is involved in marketing for ski areas in Vermont.

“So, we’ve been having a tug of war. She wants the snow and I have been, you know, let it hold off a little bit.”

But by Thursday afternoon the ramp was finished along what Opuszynski says is a particularly lovely and easy stretch of river.