Summer solstice, Father’s Day, and some super Catskill Conservation Corps activities made for a busy and fun weekend in the Catskills!
On Saturday, June 20, a star-studded cast of characters taught and learned side by side on the scenic trails of the Southern Escarpment. NYS DEC Ranger Rob Dawson and the Trail Conference’s Catskill Program Director Doug Senterman, along with Heather Rolland of the Catskill Conservation Corps (CCC) taught the Introduction to Trail Maintenance course on the trails. Hands on learning at its finest, volunteers assessed blowdowns and used a variety of tools to remove them, cleared water bars and learned about their construction, and clipped encroaching branches. In total we cleared about 3 miles of popular trails, and enjoyed some killer views as well. We were joined by two hardworking Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns, Kalvin Murphy and Louis DiLorenzo, who helped out and learned alongside our volunteers.
June 21 became an impromptu “undergraduate litter picking day” as the SCA interns returned with a volunteer from SUNY Geneseo! Heather led these intrepid litterpickers through the mess just off the trail at Overlook Mountain, removing 10 bags of nasty stuff from the woods. The ugly eyesores have were removed amid shouts of “hey! Look at this! Dude! Look what I found!” and as always, lots of laughter. Afterwards ice cream and people watching in the village of Woodstock rounded out the day.
The CCC wishes to thank DEC and Ranger Dawson for the advance planning regarding the Introduction to Trail Maintenance course. In order to learn in the field, we needed a number of different problem types and learning opportunities. Ranger Dawson made sure we had a great trail to work on – plenty of all manner of challenges with amazing views to enjoy. It was perfect!
Another big thank you to the SCA interns and their supervisor, NYS DEC forester Ian Dunn, for their role on Saturday – helping to fetch and carry, as well as pitching in and participating in the workshop. They also get kudos for working hard on a miserably muggy Father’s Day, picking up trash and swatting mosquitoes with good cheer.
Our next event is another litter pick up, this time near Kingston, NY, at Onteora Lake on July 5. Stay tuned for all the details on how you too can make friends, whistle while you work, and have a blast while making a difference. Volunteering in the Catskills is cool, even on the hottest of summer days!