Club and Crew Team Up for a Big Stone Step Project on Appalachian Trail

Tired, but well fed, volunteers next to their weekend project.BBQ stokes trail volunteers at 15th annual RPH Cabin Volunteers Club event in Dutchess County

By Bob Fuller, member of the Long Distance Trails Crew

Every July, for the last 15 years, the Ralph’s Peak Hikers Cabin Volunteers Club (RPH) has put on a BIG cabin maintenance-AT trail restoration-campout-BBQ weekend, with all meals provided Friday through Sunday for the volunteers.  Work opportunities are offered for all skill levels. The event has developed a widespread reputation; this year, in addition to RPH members and passing AT thru-hikers, volunteers came from around the Northeast –New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, in some cases from many hours away.

This year our Long Distance Trails Crew participated in the event for the first time and assisted in the building of 17 new enormous (four-foot wide) stone steps on a steep, eroded section of the Appalachian Trail just north of Stormville Mountain Road in Dutchess County, NY.  RPH had already obtained large boulders donated by a nearby construction site, split some of the rocks, and built a beautiful massive crib wall at the bottom of the slope. Our crew worked with RPH members and other trail volunteers to design and install the steps above the wall.

It was a large project with roughly a 15’ rise in a 40’ run requiring approximately 20 steps.  17 of those steps were installed this weekend and RPH will finish the work this season.  It is a beautiful stairway but, even more important, it was a wonderful weekend.

Not only did our crew get to meet the many dedicated RPH volunteers, we met other like-minded hikers from throughout the area, all gathered together to enjoy each other’s company and to contribute to the trails.  The food was amazing and lunch was even delivered directly to our work site each day.  We all left with a feeling of great accomplishment, new friends, and the desire to return again next year for more of the same.

About Trail Walker

Since 1920, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has partnered with parks to create, protect, and promote a network of more than 2,100 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The Trail Conference organizes volunteer service projects that keep these trails open, safe, and enjoyable for the public. We publish maps and books that guide public use of these trails. The Trail Conference is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 clubs with a combined membership of 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people.
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One Response to Club and Crew Team Up for a Big Stone Step Project on Appalachian Trail

  1. Thanks for the lovely article and photos Bob ! Certainly enjoying working with and sharing ideas with Chris, Eric you and rest of your crew and really appreciated each of your members ideas and enthusiasm. Despite our own broad rock experiences, still able to learn a couple of new techniques, and hope you might have picked up a couple of new ideas from us as well ! Certainly never would have been able to complete of the stairway as we did by ourselves in one weekend without your crew joining us, and certainly LOVE the new staircase – already getting RAVE remarks from the thruhikers passing thru today as we dragged more rocks down the hill and installed some more gargoyles. == Dave Dvorsky/VP/RPH Cabin Volunteers/a NYNJTC Member Club

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