The mission: transport a 2,100-pound, 55-foot-long steel truss through a thick forest and down a steep river valley, and then place it to make a bridge across the Boardman River in the Brown Bridge Quiet area near Traverse City. Oh, and do most of the tricky work going old school—climbing trees and rigging pulleys and stringing cables and deploying muscle and sweat and problem-solving.

That was the assignment that Steve Largent and his team of staff and volunteers from the Grand Traverse Conservation District accepted during a cold week in the winter of 2016–17. And that was the effort captured in this video, shot by Joe VanderMeulen, of NatureChange.

The bridge will serve the important purpose of connecting the Quiet Area’s trails on the north and south sides of the river. A bridge built by the Boy Scouts once served that function, but it washed out long, long ago—back in the 1970s. Hikers and snowshoers and cross-country skiers can now easily double their trail time, and, bonus, pause on the bridge to contemplate the flowing river.

Nature Change is an organization dedicated to telling the stories of Northern Michigan’s evolving natural environment and of the people devoted to protecting it. “Like” NatureChange on Facebook.

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Photo(s) by Joe Vandermeulen, Nature Change