West Mountain Appalachian Trail Relocation Officially Open

Long Distance Trails Crew celebrates with ribbon cutting and BBQ.

By Bob Fuller, member of the Long Distance Trails Crew

AT Relocation on West Mountain Ribbon Cutting

The Long Distance Trails Crew celebrated the opening of the AT relocation on West Mountain with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Photo credit: Andrea Minoff)

Last Saturday, Oct. 18, was a big day for the Long Distance Trails Crew (LDTC). The morning began at the Trail Conference Annual Meeting held in Ossining, NY, where the entire crew received the Paul Leiken Extra Mile Award for its members’ efforts during the last two work seasons on the Long Path relocation in the Catskills. Crew member Marci Layton also received the Distinguished Service Award for her many contributions as a swamper, trail crew member, and map and guidebook field checker.

Following the awards portion of the meeting, the crew headed out to Harriman State Park to put the final touches on the new Appalachian Trail (AT) relocation. This included closing off the old section of the trail, scraping out and painting over the old blazes, and painting the final new blazes at each end of the relocation. The crew also raked the new trail to make it clearly stand out in the leaf covered terrain for the subsequent trail work hike and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Raking the new AT on West Mountain

Raking the new trail. (Photo credit: Andrea Minoff)

In the afternoon, the crew led a hike to the north (uphill) end of the relocation, first passing by and highlighting previous work by the West Hudson South and Long Distance Trails Crews. The group traveled up the old, eroded trail so everyone could see why the path was being replaced, and arrived at the ribbon-cutting site.

LDTC member Bob Fuller introduced the crew and our distinguished guests: Ed Goodell, Trail Conference Executive Director; Chris Connolly, Trail Conference Board Chair; Ed McGowan, Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) Park Naturalist; Soňa Mason, West Hudson Program Coordinator; and John Mack, Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails Chair. We talked briefly about the relocation work, which took 10 months to complete with over 35 individuals putting in around 1,800 hours of volunteer time. The new relocation is .4 miles long and is exactly .123 miles longer than the section of trail that it replaces. This is no doubt due to the extensive planning by Crew Chief Chris Reyling, who holds the Long Path End to End certificate number 123, which is a very special number to him.

AT Relocation West Mountain LDTC

Putting the final touches on the new trail. (Photo credit: Andrea Minoff)

With the entire LDTC crew behind them, Chris Reyling and Crew Leader Erik Garnjost cut the ribbon using a giant pair of scissors created just for this occasion. The hike down the relocation began with crew members pointing out many of the sustainable features of the new trail, as well as major rock work including steps, massive crib walls, and giant stepping stones.

Following the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and trail-opening hike, the crew set up for a celebratory BBQ featuring ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, snacks, and more-than-you-can-eat desserts. What a perfect way to end a busy and rewarding day for the crew.

crib wall at west mountain ldtc

The LDTC shows off their work on the upper crib wall. (Photo credit: Bob Fuller, LDTC member)

The LDTC’s next work trips are Nov. 8-9, Nov. 22-23, and Dec. 6-7. The crew provides 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, hard hat and safety glasses if you have them (the crew will provide them if you don’t), 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 914-953-4900 or chrisreyling@gmail.com, for more information.

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.
This entry was posted in Appalachian Trail, Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails, Hikes, New Trail, Trails, Uncategorized, Volunteering, West Hudson Trails and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to West Mountain Appalachian Trail Relocation Officially Open

  1. Ken Malkin says:

    Thank you guys! Great job as usual.

What do you think?