Bard Students Team Up with Long Distance Trails Crew to Help Relocate the Appalachian Trail on Bear Mountain

Text by Bob Fuller, Andrea Minoff, and Marty Costello, photos by Andrea Minoff, members of the Long Distance Trails Crew

Students supplement sustainable trail design class work with field experience

Bard students after a hard day of trail work with the LDTC.

Bard students after a hard day of trail work with the LDTC.

This October, the Trail Conference’s Long Distance Trails Crew (LDTC) was joined by students from Bard College at our Appalachian Trail relocation project on the southwest side of Bear Mountain in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks. The students are enrolled in a class on sustainable trail design and wanted to experience firsthand their coursework in action.

LDTC Crew Chief Chris Reyling and Crew Leaders Erik Garnjost and Bob Fuller explained how to design a sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, and natural-looking trail. The all-volunteer Long Distance Trails Crew demonstrated the use of rock bars, slings and the high line, drilling and pinning rocks, and other trail-building techniques. The students lifted and placed rocks, made crush, dug dirt from a “borrow pit,” built treadway, and landscaped the finished trail.

LDTC Bard on Bear Mountain

From left: Crew Leader Bob Fuller, Bard student Wendy Wan, Crew Chief Chris Reyling, and Bard student Duncan Routh move a rock in place for a step.

When asked how this trip related to their Environmental and Urban Studies course, student Hannah Conely said, “We spent a lot of time discussing how different methods of trail building and different design features could be applied to fit specific terrains, soil types, and other aspects of trails.” Rock Delliquanti added, “The section of the trail we were replacing had been washed out and eroded from foot traffic. We moved a several hundred pound rock with a system we learned about in class, and we saw how this trail was being laid out and how this problem was being worked through.”

A big thanks goes to Bard student Isaiah Chisholm, who came up with the idea for the field trip, recruited students, contacted the crew, and arranged for transportation to and from the worksite. The students had a fun, educational, and rewarding day out with our crew. Their assistance was greatly appreciated and we hope to see them again.

If you’d like to join the Long Distance Trails Crew for an outing, they’re on the trails many weekends throughout the season. No experience is necessary; the crew provides on-the-job training and guarantees a fun and rewarding day for volunteers at any skill level. Contact Crew Chief Chris Reyling at 914-953-4900,, or Crew Leader Bob Fuller at 732-952-2162, 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.
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1 Response to Bard Students Team Up with Long Distance Trails Crew to Help Relocate the Appalachian Trail on Bear Mountain

  1. Bob Fuller says:

    The LDTC hopes that these students, and others from Bard’s sustainable trail program join us again in 2016. We ALWAYS welcome enthusiast volunteers.

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