Trail Conference Conservation Corps: Taconic Crew

2016 Trail Conference Conservation Corps: Taconic Crew

The Taconic Crew serves in the Fahnestock, Hudson Highlands State Park, and Breakneck Ridge areas, in order to restore existing trails to meet sustainable trail standards. This season, the crew is focusing on the Undercliff and Wilkinson trails.

Everyone with an interest in trail building and stewardship is welcome to join these crews for a few hours or a full day—our Corps members will teach you everything you need to know about their projects. They’re in the field Thursdays through Mondays through early fall; visit bit.ly/tc-tco for details.

Coming from NYC and don’t have a car? Take Metro North to Cold Spring Station and we will pick you up. A minimum of 48 hours advance notice is needed for us to arrange your pickup.

Interested in Joining Us? Have Questions? Get in Touch:
Email: taconiccrew@nynjtc.org
Phone: 201.512.9348 x 817

Updates from the Taconic Crew

July 21, 2016
Avoiding Extreme Inclines on Wilkinson
Text by Crew Member Kelly Lewis

Crew Members Ross and Chris removed several rocks from the planned route to clear a path to install stepping stones.

Crew Members Ross and Chris removed several rocks from the planned route to clear a path to install stepping stones. (Photo by Kevin Simpson.)

The reroute of the Wilkinson Trail in Hudson Highlands State Park has started for the Taconic Crew. Over the past two weeks, we have focused on getting all of our tools from the Undercliff Trail to the Wilkinson Trail and discussing the future plan for the relocation of the trail. A section of the Wilkinson Trail has a very steep grade that makes it difficult for hikers to pass. With the reroute of trail, hikers will be able to avoid this area and instead pass over a stream and go around the extreme grade.

Trail construction for the reroute will include building stepping stones through the stream area, building approximately 17 stone stairs, side-hilling, and covering up the old trail. So far, the area has proven to be a fun challenge due to the nature of the soil and existing bedrock. The Taconic Crew members are excited to overcome these challenges and create a more sustainable path for hikers. Volunteers looking to gain trail building experience should consider being involved with the reroute project, as many different aspects of trail construction will take place.

Area of the planned trail reroute, where stepping stones will be installed. (Photo by Kelly Lewis.)

Area of the planned trail reroute, where stepping stones will be installed. (Photo by Kelly Lewis.)

Volunteers will have several opportunities to join us throughout the summer. Everyone is welcome to meet us on the trail Thursdays through Mondays. Additionally, on July 30, the Taconic Crew will be holding an Introduction to Trail Building Trail University workshop. This Trail U course will present volunteers with an overview of trail building and the opportunity to participate in several phases of trail creation. Volunteers are encouraged to come out and join the Taconic Crew to learn new skills and be a part of this exciting project in Hudson Highlands State Park!

Find more info on Trail U events throughout the region at nynjtc.org/view/workshops.

To volunteer with us, visit our crew outings page.

July 7, 2016
Learning to Build with Stone
Text and photos by Crew Member Kelly Lewis

Taconic Crew members Jake and Chris using the grip hoist to move a stair into place.

Taconic Crew members Jake and Chris using the grip hoist to move a stair into place.

For the next few weeks, the Taconic Crew will be moving on from the Undercliff Trail and constructing a reroute on the Wilkinson Trail in Hudson Highlands State Park. Along the Wilkinson Trail, there are areas that need stone stairs to create a clear path for hikers and to minimize erosion of the trail. The Wilkinson Trail also has wet areas that need stepping stones. We’re excited to get started on this reroute!

This past weekend, the Taconic Crew hosted our first Trail University workshop. The Trail Conference sets up Trail U events for volunteers to join trail crews in the field and learn a particular skill of trail building. The Trail U course in Hudson Highlands on July 2 was Introduction to Trail Work. The crew briefed the volunteers on the basics of trail building and showed them past work on the Undercliff Trail. The two volunteers present for the Trail U, Maitry and Robert, then helped us continue construction of a stone staircase.

Volunteers Maitry and Robert making crush rock to finalize a stone staircase.

Volunteers Maitry and Robert making crush rock to finalize a stone staircase.

Trail U events are a great way for volunteers to come out and work on trail-building skills! The Taconic Crew has a few upcoming Trail U events scheduled throughout the month of July in Hudson Highlands State Park. On July 10, the Taconic Crew has a stone staircase workshop, and on July 17, we have a stepping stone Trail U. Both events will be a fun way to learn about building with stone, as well as other aspects of trail building. Additionally, volunteers will get a chance to be a part of rerouting the Wilkinson Trail. No trail work experience is needed. New and seasoned volunteers are encouraged to join us!

Find more info on Trail U events throughout the region at nynjtc.org/view/workshops.

To volunteer with us, visit our crew outings page.

June 23, 2016
Improvement on Undercliff Trail!
Text and photos by Crew Member Kelly Lewis

2016-06-19-HudsonHighlands-Undercliff-Taconic-ByKellyLewis

Stone stairs on the Undercliff Trail.

The Taconic Crew is making great progress on the Undercliff Trail in Hudson Highlands State Park! In the past few weeks, we have installed stone stairs along the trail to support the foot traffic coming off of Breakneck Ridge. The Taconic Crew has hopes of finishing up on this specific area of Undercliff by the end of June.

There are several new and exciting projects in place for the coming months, including work on a social trail connected to the Undercliff Trail. Our goal is to open it up and provide hikers with a clear path to the Brook Trail, which leads back to the parking areas. Later this season, the crew will be improving a section of the Wilkinson Trail, also in Hudson Highlands State Park.

Learn how to build trails with the Taconic Crew!

Learn how to build trails with the Taconic Crew.

The Taconic Crew had help from our first volunteer, Katie Moore, for a weekend in June. (Insert Picture: 2016-06-11-HudsonHighlands-UndercliffTrail-ByKellyLewis) Katie arrived on a day that the crew had planned to finalize an area of a staircase. She was a great help on this day, aiding in placing the final rock of the staircase. She enjoyed herself so much, she decided to join the Taconic Crew again the next day!

We are excited to have more positive volunteer experiences and have several awesome things planned ahead. Come out and sharpen your trail building skills! New and seasoned volunteers are always welcome.  Check out our schedule for more info on volunteering with us. 

May 26, 2016
Meet the 2016 Trail Conference Conservation Corps Taconic Crew
Text and Photo by Crew Member Kelly Lewis

Taconic Crew 2016The last few weeks have been spent preparing for the upcoming season of trail building. The 2016 Conservation Corps members have visited several different locations in order to perfect our trail building techniques. The first few days of training were spent on the Undercliff Trail near Breakneck Ridge, where the Taconic Crew will spend a large amount of time this season. At this location, the crews learned how to split stone and build stone staircases.

At Bear Mountain, the Conservation Corps members were taught the method of constructing stone crib wall. Additionally during training, the crews spent time in the Catskills acquiring the skill of side-hilling on a new trail being built at the Catskill Interpretive Center. The three weeks of training provided the Conservation Corps Taconic Crew Members with the skills for a successful season of trail building!

The Taconic Crew will spend the 2016 season building trails in Hudson Highlands State Park, particularly on the Undercliff and Wilkinson trails near Breakneck Ridge. Breakneck is in close proximity to New York City, and therefore sees a large number of hikers on weekends. The current trails are not sustainably built to support the number of people who visit weekly. The goal of the Taconic Crew and our volunteers is to rebuild sections of these trails in order to provide a sustainable and safe hiking area. In order to achieve this goal, we’re installing stone stair cases, side-hilling, building stone crib wall, and more.

The 2016 Trail Conference Conservation Corps Taconic Crew is made up of four crew members. Jake Rawdin is the Taconic Crew Leader and is serving for his second year with the Trail Conference. Jake lives in Philadelphia, and graduated from George Washington University with a degree in history. The three crew members are Ross Hammons, Chris O’Neil, and Kelly Lewis. Ross is from New Jersey and worked in flood plain restoration previous to this position. Chris is from New Jersey and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2015. He graduated from Colorado College with a degree in history. Kelly is from Pennsylvania; she graduated from King’s College with a degree in environmental science. The crew members share a common interest in hiking and the outdoors. The four of us are excited for a successful season of trail building and look forward to meeting both new and returning volunteers!