Text by Bob Fuller, Andrea Minoff, and Marty Costello, photos by Andrea Minoff, members of the Long Distance Trails Crew
Students supplement sustainable trail design class work with field experience
This October, the Trail Conference’s Long Distance Trails Crew (LDTC) was joined by students from Bard College at our Appalachian Trail relocation project on the southwest side of Bear Mountain in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks. The students are enrolled in a class on sustainable trail design and wanted to experience firsthand their coursework in action.
LDTC Crew Chief Chris Reyling and Crew Leaders Erik Garnjost and Bob Fuller explained how to design a sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, and natural-looking trail. The all-volunteer Long Distance Trails Crew demonstrated the use of rock bars, slings and the high line, drilling and pinning rocks, and other trail-building techniques. The students lifted and placed rocks, made crush, dug dirt from a “borrow pit,” built treadway, and landscaped the finished trail.
When asked how this trip related to their Environmental and Urban Studies course, student Hannah Conely said, “We spent a lot of time discussing how different methods of trail building and different design features could be applied to fit specific terrains, soil types, and other aspects of trails.” Rock Delliquanti added, “The section of the trail we were replacing had been washed out and eroded from foot traffic. We moved a several hundred pound rock with a system we learned about in class, and we saw how this trail was being laid out and how this problem was being worked through.”
A big thanks goes to Bard student Isaiah Chisholm, who came up with the idea for the field trip, recruited students, contacted the crew, and arranged for transportation to and from the worksite. The students had a fun, educational, and rewarding day out with our crew. Their assistance was greatly appreciated and we hope to see them again.
If you’d like to join the Long Distance Trails Crew for an outing, they’re on the trails many weekends throughout the season. No experience is necessary; the crew provides on-the-job training and guarantees a fun and rewarding day for volunteers at any skill level. Contact Crew Chief Chris Reyling at 914-953-4900, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Crew Leader Bob Fuller at 732-952-2162, email@example.com for more information.