Long Distance Trails Crew celebrates with ribbon cutting and BBQ.
By Bob Fuller, member of the Long Distance Trails Crew
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.