By Heather Rolland, Catskill Conservation Corps Coordinator
Does the staff of the Catskills Conservation Corps and Trail Conference hibernate? No way! Although the winter saw a dearth of snow here in the Catskills, the CCC has kept its crampons on and its collective nose to the grindstone! Winter means planning, organizing, and hiking for the CCC staff, and we’ve been doing plenty that.
Planning for a great work season
The CCC staff met with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land managers and rangers in both Regions 3 and 4 to discuss trail work priorities and make preliminary plans for a number of work projects and workshops to be scheduled this coming work season. Rangers and forestry staff have also shared feedback about ongoing programs and issues–we’ve been grateful to get that important input so we can continue to streamline our efforts and work together even more effectively.
Some workshop ideas are still under construction, but we will be sure to offer a number of valuable volunteer training opportunities. A fun and interactive workshop on tool safety will be offered, as well as classes on trail layout and design, and basic trail maintenance. And we’ll continue to provide hiker education workshops such as map reading, basic navigation skills, seasonal hiking tips, and more.
All CCC Workshops are included in the Trail Conference’s Trail University calendar!
So what’s on deck for the work season?
We’re excited about working with Catskills Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) and the DEC on an invasive species project in the southern Catskills–our kick-off event at Russell Brook Falls on May 2 is shaping up to be a wonderful collaboration and a great opportunity for lots of volunteers to come out and have fun while making a difference. We’ll be hand-pulling knotweed from the banks of the stream to restore the view of the falls.
The Devil’s Acre lean-to rehabilitation project is also scheduled for June 13 and 14. Thanks to some great networking by Hunter Fire Tower Committee Chair Gordon Hoekstra, we will partner with a scout troop and other organizations to get that project banged out in one weekend. This project will include reroofing the lean-to and moving the privy. Once again, many hands will make light work of it all.
There are other lean-tos to be stained and privies to be moved. There are wet and muddy trails that will see stepping stones or split log bridges built, and many other possible trail projects that land managers are carefully evaluating. We are working closely with DEC staff, and eagerly anticipate receiving approvals for additional projects this spring.
Work days already being scheduled include at least two litter pick-ups during the summer targeting areas of the Catskills prone to this appalling behavior. We look forward to the day when we no longer have to plan for such tasks, but until that happens, we’re committed to doing regular cleanups.
We’re also committed to completing the hiking trail we started on the grounds of the soon-to-be-open Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper. Volunteer trail builders, start blocking out work days for swinging your mattocks–we’ll need plenty of strong backs to finish.
You can learn more about the opportunities to get involved by visiting the Trail Conference’s crew page, which lists all of the Catskill Conservation Corps activities!
Come Join Us
Care to lend a hand and make a difference? Connect with the CCC by filling out the interest form. Volunteering with the CCC is a great way to get out into the woods and experience an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. Be a part of something wonderful. Volunteer with the CCC this work season and discover just how much fun hard work can be!