Ice Roads, Getting the Job Done in the Northwoods
We are often asked, how do you get machinery into my remote property with equipment for logging and construction.
The answer is an age old technique used in the Northern States, we make an Ice Road.
We have been having a pretty good winter this year, which is great for people who have a lot of work to do in the Northwoods.
Cold weather can be a blessing for hard working Northerners who need to get into remote areas far from roads, such as loggers or carpenters who are working on remote cabins.
A deep frost can be very good and very bad depending on what you are working on.
Cold weather is hard on pipes and foundations and we often have to pile additional snow onto areas of the yard over buried water pipes and sewer lines to keep them from freezing.
It is good for ice fishing, although it doesn’t take much for enough ice to form on the lakes to drive out there and go fishing.
And it is Great for those of us who work out in the woods.
It allows us to get into all of the areas that are off limits most of the year and in years when we don’t get enough frost or when there is too much snow for the frost to penetrate into the ground.
Nature provides plenty of roads, but most of them involve crossing and traveling along swamps, lakes and rivers. Many of the swamps and rivers take a bit to get properly frozen. The swamps have rotting organic matter keeping them warm from below and rivers have water currents keeping them warm from below.
Some years we get low temperatures but too much snow which can be a problem because all of the pockets of air in the snow make it work like a big old insulating blanket on the surface of the ground.
Deep snow’s insulating value is great to keep your pipes from freezing, but it gets to be a problem out in the woods when you need to make a winter road for hauling trucks and other equipment.
There have been many times when we had too much snow and needed to make a winter road and it took over a week and various machines to get the job done.
First we go in with snowmobiles to pack down the snow in an effort to get most of the air out of the snow. Then we wait a few nights for the frost to soak through the snow and freeze the soil a bit.
Next, after checking to make sure we have a few inches of frozen ground, we go in with a small skidsteer and remove the packed snow, and then we wait a few more nights.
Now we have a good solid road where we can haul almost anything, as long as we continue to keep the snow plowed off every time nature provides a new blanket.
This year is shaping up to be a good one for getting some work done in the woods so get your projects done before spring melts natures roads.