Threshold Bridge Gallery | Healing Nature Center

About the Threshold Bridge

A threshold acts as a place of transition, a link between the before and after. For those who are on a healing journey, the before respresents a circumstance, a set of beliefs, or other obstacle to be transformed. Progress is made when intention is joined together with movement toward transformation, the after. A physical space, such as a doorway or a bridge, is often used symbolically to assist the person with moving through a healing process.

It is for this reason that the Healing Nature Trail begins at the Threshold Bridge. The Threshold Bridge is symbolic of the transition from what no longer can be carried to a place that holds new potential and possibilities for reflection, insight, and growth. We hope the Bridge will help all who visit hold awareness of these two realities as they experience the Healing Nature Trail ahead.

Building the Bridge

Building the 65-foot wooden bridge across the peat bog was a daunting task to behold. Over the course of 2 months, we researched the best methods, gathered the right supplies, checked our measurements, and troubleshooted the curve balls that we’ve come to appreciate when co-creating with nature. We learned that with proper planning and team work, a crazy idea can lead to some amazing feats in constructional ingenuity, and that completing a huge task such as this is possible when it’s broken down into manageable parts. With each seemingly incremental step, the bridge was built, and now stands solid and ready as the gateway to the Healing Nature Trail.

We began by preparing the construction site for the bridge’s foundation. The bog has a thick mat of floating peat on top of 3 feet of water. We planned to sink two towers into the bog with 14’ horizontal logs that would sit flat on the bottom. In order to this, the sphagnum moss had to be removed at those locations as well as numerous root balls and fallen trees below the surface of the water (some of these relics can be found in the Zen Untangle area on the healing trail). These were removed with a combination of underwater hand sawing and the assistance of a come along winch. Finally, our donated dock sections were laid out over the bog as a temporary platform to work on.

Once the foundation was created, it was time to build the towers which would support the highest walkway points of the arched bridge. Due to the immense weight of the materials, the towers needed to be pre-built on solid land. The power poles were cut to length and notched with an ax. The holes were pre-drilled for inset lag and assembled everything to make sure it fit before taking it all apart and bringing it out to the floating platform, piece by piece for reassembly. With the help of people power and ropes, we dropped the towers into the bog bottom as planned.

Once the towers were secured with temporary bracing, we measured and cut 6 poles at over 20’ feet each for the main bridge supports. These were brought in and placed by hand. With all six poles secured to the towers, we used a draw knife to do some final leveling before installing the dock sections. Triangulated cross members were then added from the supports to the towers for permanent stability.

Once the deck-walkway was assembled, all that was left were the handrails. We found a section in the national forest which was logged for red pine. Many balsam trees were knocked down in the process and we were able to gather over 20 long straight balsam poles that we used for the bridge handrails. After peeling the bark off the trees, we cut and installed 18 rails on three tiers with center supports.

The result is a beautiful arched walkway that spans 65 feet over the bog below, offering visitors an astounding view of the expanding wetland and pine forest on either side. We hope you’ll stop by for a visit and experience the beauty of the Healing Nature Trail for yourself.

Scroll down to see photos of the Healing Nature Trail.

Building the Threshold Bridge Photo Gallery

Bog before the bridge

Donated power line poles

Digging in the bog

Digging in the bog

Prefabricating one of the towers

First tower put in place

Getting ready to raise the first tower

Raising the first tower

Raising the second tower

Temporary supports in place

Installing the walkway and checking for level

Power poles put into place

Leveling with a draw knife

Walkway being installed

Walkway installed

Walkway installed

Walkway installed and waiting for handrails

Posts for handrails installed

Foraged fallen Pine trees before debarking

Securing the handrails

Handrail installation

Finished handrails

Finished handrails

Finished Threshold Bridge

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