Toter Madness on the Sunnahae Mountain Trail


SourDough News | October 30, 2012


Tylo Kennedy uses “Toter Six” to ease the burden of moving rock to the Sunnahae Mountain Trail.
Tylo Kennedy uses “Toter Six” to ease the burden of moving rock to the Sunnahae Mountain Trail.

This year, on the Craig Ranger District on Prince of Wales Island, we had up to eight Canycom toters running at a time. What is a “toter,” you may ask? It is a mechanical wheelbarrow with tracks that is used to haul rock—lots of rock! We moved 252 yards of rock up the Sunnahae Mountain Trail to reach our goal, a precariously overhanging snag we fondly call the “Tree of Damocles.” It took three months, eight toters, a mini-excavator, and all available hands to reach our goal.


We have been conducting a multi-phase reconstruction project at the Sunnahae Mountain Trail. This year, we completed the second phase. We rerouted the trail from its previous near vertical route to a less steep route. We also added several switchbacks, observation sites, benches and a few stone steps. All told, we constructed 1,630 feet of new trail this year.


While all of the Prince of Wales Island recreation crews were involved in the reconstruction of the Sunnahae Mountain Trail, the Youth Conservation Corps crews probably have a special affinity for this place. It’s where they spent the majority of their summer. YCC students drove toters filled with large diameter gravel up the slope all day long, day after day, until the turnarounds took them up to an hour to finish. Days got long, but ice cream and pizza often saw them through the toughest sections of the trail reconstruction. In the Sunnahae parking area at quitting time, the faces of the young people showed pride and exhaustion as they were able to look back on a job well done. We all look forward to the construction of phase three next season.


Thanks to these partners and community supporters who are helping us create a fabulous hiking trail for the community of Craig and our visitors:

  • The Petersburg and Juneau ranger districts for letting us borrow two toters each.
  • The Forest Service’s Prince of Wales Resource Advisory Council who provided funding for phase two.
  • The Shaan Seet Corporation, who made additional land available for portions of the new trail.
  • The Klawock Rock Co. and Southeast Road Builders, who donated all the rock materials.

By Paul Dawson, Forestry Technician, Craig Ranger District.