By Bob Fuller, member of the Long Distance Trails Crew
The Appalachian Trail on the southwest side of West Mountain is steep, heavily eroded, and has loose stones that make it dangerous for hikers with heavy packs and park rangers when on rescue missions on West Mountain. At the request of the rangers, the Long Distance Trail Crew worked with the park and Appalachian Trail Conservancy personnel to lay out and receive approval for a new half-mile route above Beechy Bottom Road. Construction on the new trail began last fall, and is hoped to be completed late this fall. The change is significant enough that it will appear on future editions of the trail map for the area (Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails, #119).
As part of the construction, the crew has built a new stream crossing using large rocks, which are much more natural and durable than a wooden bridge, and is working on two crib walls and a small series of stone steps to route the trail 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.
During the first weekend in August, the crew worked at the site of the large crib wall putting up a high line to use in moving large rocks. They built up more of the crib wall, put in crush and tread way, and finished the steps leading up around the large boulder on the side of the trail. Other crew members raked, cleared rocks that were then used for crush under the steps and crib wall tread way, and side-hilled other nearby sections of the trail.
Help us finish the project
We will be out again the weekends of August 16 – 17, September 13-14, and October 4 – 5 working on this relocation. We meet at 9:00 am in the South Lot of the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area in Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park. 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 lunch and water for yourself, gloves, a smile, and a desire to work hard and safely in the great outdoors.
Please contact Crew Chief Chris Reyling 914-953-4900, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information and to join us as we complete this exciting project.