Join us on Oct. 18 for a short hike highlighting some of the work by the volunteer trail crews in Harriman State Park.
By Bob Fuller, member of the Long Distance Trails Crew
The Long Distance Trails Crew is continuing to work on completion of a new Appalachian Trail route above Beechy Bottom Road on the southwest side of West Mountain, just above the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area. Construction on the new trail began last fall.
The crew has already built a new stream crossing using large rocks and a large crib wall with a series of stone steps to route the trail up and around a large boulder. They have also been building drainage into wet areas, removing rocks from the “rock garden” areas to provide a pleasant footway, and clearing and side hilling where necessary to build a new sustainable trail that should last for many decades.
This past weekend, the crew worked at the site of a second massive crib wall putting up a high line to move large rocks. This crib wall will provide a gradual climb in an area that otherwise would have had a descent followed by a steep short uphill. The crib wall is over 2 ½ feet high and some of the rocks that were “quarried,” lifted using the high line, and positioned on the wall are close to 2,000 lbs. The crib wall itself is now finished, but crush (crushed rock that we break from larger rocks using a sledge hammer) is still needed to fill the space behind the wall. The crew will then add mineral soil on top to form a sustainable and easily walked treadway. This work will be completed on our next weekend work trip, Oct. 4-5.
This weekend, the crew had a special treat—beech blight aphids that were on several of the beech trees along the way in. These are small, hairy white aphids that sway back and forth on the branches when disturbed. They are nicknamed “boogie-woogie aphids” because of the “dance” they do. The tree branches look like they are covered with snow from the white aphids perched upon them.
The trail is nearing completion. Remaining projects include several small sections that still require the treadway be improved and the massive crib wall finished, and the final section of trail connecting to the current Appalachian Trail needs to be built. Though the completion and official opening date of the new section is not yet finalized, there will be a hike from the Anthony Wayne South parking area following the NYNJTC Annual Meeting on Oct. 18. This hike will highlight work of the volunteer West Hudson South and Long Distance Trails Crews local to this area. The crew hopes you will meet us at the Annual Meeting and on the Trail Crew “showcase” hike that afternoon.
Our next trip is Oct. 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.
The crew will have more outings later this fall and beyond, so please join us. Contact Crew Chief Chris Reyling at 914-953-4900 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to join us as we complete this and many more exciting projects.