Enjoy an Outdoor Service Experience Close to Home

No need to travel to far off places to experience the joy of trail work

Long Distance Trails Crew group photo

The Long Distance Trails Crew poses on their handiwork: a new path section for the Appalachian Trail on West Mountain at Harriman State Park. Photo: Sona Mason.

By Bob Fuller, member of our Long Distance Trails Crew

Many of you may have read the article on the front page of the Sunday, August 8, 2014 New York Times Travel Section titled “Restoring Acadia’s Trails:  Work crews follow the steps of trail blazers to revive scenic paths of a national park in Maine.”

What you may not realize is that the volunteer trail crews of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference do similar work close to home, and that you are invited to join in the fun of learning how to build sustainable trails.

The Times article on the Acadia trail crews describes our crew’s philosophy:

“Trail building is a way of mixing your labor with nature, so that you can more fully appreciate it.  There is also generosity of spirit in building. You want others to be able to share those deep experiences that you have, and what better way than literally building a path to get there.”

It also describes our work:

“A few hundred yards later, near a junction with a carriage path, I met a crew who had strung up a high line from a granite ledge, where they hoisted freshly cut granite and slung it to the trail on a sling and pulley.”

We, the members of the Long Distance Trails Crew, work on the Appalachian Trail, Highlands Trail, and the Long Path, generally in Rockland and Orange Counties, restoring, rebuilding, and constructing new trail segments.  There are other volunteer crews working in all regions where the Trail Conference maintains and protects trails–more than 2,000 miles in all–and every one welcomes new members.

Black Bear on trail

A black bear inspects our work on the West Mountain Appalachian Trail relocation. Photo by Mary Klug.

Our crew is currently completing a major relocation of the Appalachian Trail on the southwest side of West Mountain in Harriman State Park. We expect to complete that work this fall (see August 7 Trail Walker blog entry).

Many more projects are planned – some big, some small, and we always welcome new folks to come out and join us.

Our next trips are September 13 – 14 and October 4 – 5, working on the West Mountain relocation.  The crew provides hard hats and, if necessary, safety glasses.  We provide training and the opportunity to learn new skills while being rewarded with the results of your day’s work.  All you need to provide is a completed Volunteer Services Agreement, lunch and water, gloves, safety glasses if you have them, a smile, and a desire to work hard and safely in the great outdoors.

We will have more outings later this fall and beyond, so please join us.  Contact Crew Chief Chris Reyling, 914-953-4900 or chrisreyling@gmail.com, for more information and to join us as we complete this, and many more, exciting projects.

Visit our website for complete listings of our outdoor service programs.

 

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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