Text and Photos by Andrea Minoff, Assistant to the Long Distance Trails Crew Chief
A new section of the Appalachian Trail on the southwest shoulder of Bear Mountain in Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks was opened this past Saturday, Nov. 14. Long Distance Trails Crew Chief Chris Reyling, assisted by Crew Leaders Bob Fuller and Erik Garnjost, cut the ribbon, cheered on by many Trail Conference volunteers, State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, Trail Conference Board Member Beth Ravit, and others.
The new .2-mile section—built by the Long Distance Trails Crew, an all-volunteer group of trail builders from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference—replaced a deeply eroded trail. The crew’s last task was closing off the old trail just prior to the ribbon cutting. Since work began in March, close to 70 volunteers, including individuals and corporate and college groups, contributed more than 3,000 hours of volunteer time during more than 40 work trips.
The crew led a tour of the new route, designed to be a sustainable and enjoyable hiking experience as it winds its way up through cliffs, climbs a stone ladder, and reaches beautiful views. Many accolades were expressed for the trail, which includes a rock-pinned stone ladder out of a crevice and up the rock face. Soon after the ribbon cutting, a large group of Boy Scouts from Troop 16 in Washingtonville, N.Y., helped inaugurate the trail.
The relocation is very accessible, only a short, five-minute walk (two-tenths of a mile) from the Appalachian Trail/1777W Trail parking area on Seven Lakes Drive between Palisades Interstate Parkway and Route 9W in Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks.
The Long Distance Trails Crew is hard at work on the trails many weekends throughout the season. No experience is necessary; the crew provides on-the-job training and offers 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 further information.