AHP 2: The Revenge on Thursday August 13, 2015

New date! There are so many volunteer opportunities and so much trail work to be done, I guess a collision every now and then is inevitable! We crossed wires with another trail maintenance effort, but hey — no big deal – we’re flexible! The new and improved date for AHP2: The Revenge is August 13, 2015 — and we have some very special news about this trip! Read on for all the details!

Sequels are a time honored tradition, and who are we to argue with tradition? We had such a great day on AHP at the Trail Marking Clinic, the Catskill Conservation Corps invites volunteers to come back to this peak for another trail maintenance day on Thursday, August 13, at 9:30 a.m. to finish what we started. Side clipping, clearing waterbars, removal of brush and blowdowns, and installation of new trail markers are our tasks and we look forward to another fun-filled day on a gorgeous peak! And — this just in — volunteers will assist DEC staff in clearing a vista — so come on out and enjoy the view!


Volunteers should be sure to wear hiking boots and clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Dress appropriately for the weather and activities; pack plenty of water and a bagged lunch; and bring work gloves if you have them. CCC staff will provide the tools, tips and tricks, enthusiasm, good cheer, and some yummy treats!

And if your heart is set on being in the woods on August 6, no worries: click here for volunteer opportunities led by the Catskill Mountain Club on that date!

Register using the form below, or email Heather at hrolland@nynjtc.org. Pre-registration is required.

Pop Up Volunteer Opportunity: Trail Maintenance on the Huckleberry Loop

Makes delicious jam or pie. Makes a terrible hiking companion.

Probably the “Blackberry Loop” would be a better name for the trail — and those fast-growing canes have made travel a little tricky in some spots. Join the CCC pop-up response team as we reclaim the Huckleberry Loop for hikers. Should be fun in a prickery-scratchy kind of way!

Friday July 31, 9 a.m., meeting in Margaretville, NY — plan for a full day. Bring a bag lunch, consider long sleeves and long pants, and leather work gloves. We’ll supply tools and encouragement!

For more details or to sign up, submit the form below, or email Heather at hrolland@nynjtc.org

Volunteer Opportunities with the Catskill Mountain Club

The Catskill Mountain Club (CMC) is seeking volunteers for two upcoming trail maintenance outings. Warm sunny days and plenty of rain mean the vegetation has been growing and the trails need some love! Can’t make a CCC worktrip, but still looking for a way to pitch in? Contact the CMC and check out their opportunities!

Click here to see the upcoming events and volunteer opportunities available via the CMC.


We Came, We Saw, We Marked: The CCC Hosts a Trail Marking Clinic on AHP

Trail Marker

“That first hiker out here after a deep snow, maybe it’s their first time on this trail, and let’s say it’s also just starting to get dark. That’s the hiker I keep in mind when I work on marking a trail,” suggested DEC Forester Ian Dunn, as he led a crew of 8 through the process of selecting the best tree, and attaching the marker. “There’s definitely an art to it,” he acknowledged. Sighting from marker to marker, managing tricky curves in the trail, and explaining the differences between marking a trail in the wild forest versus the wilderness were all fully explained by Forester Dunn. A hands-on approach meant that elegant solutions to onsite challenges were crafted as the group worked together to mark a solid mile or so of trail.

The Forest as Classroom
The Forest as Classroom

Participants with connections to every major hiking club in the region attended this trail marking clinic and trail work day. Clipping, lopping, pruning and digging for approximately 4 miles and many more hours on the scenic Ashokan High Point trail in Olivebridge, NY, the volunteers worked side by side with Forester Dunn and CCC coordinator Heather Rolland. Over a dozen waterbars were cleared, ensuring their continued functionality and thus the prevention of erosion. Pesky and tenacious laurels were clipped back to allow comfortable passage through the beautiful forest. And breath-taking views, good food, and hiker chat (do copperhead snakes *really* smell like cucumbers?) made for an all around fabulous day in the Sundown Wild Forest.

Awesome crew!
Awesome crew!

Are you bummed that you missed out on this peach of a day? Don’t be – just join us next time! Stay tuned for upcoming adventures in volunteering! Who knows – you too could find yourself tussling with the CCC’s mascot, Peeka Mouse, over a Rogue hoe!

"I am an innocent puppy. I have no idea what you mean about that Rogue hoe."
“I am an innocent puppy. I have no idea what you mean about that Rogue hoe.”

The CCC takes a day off!

What does the Catskill Conservation Corps staff do on a day off? Hike in the Catskills, of course! On July 19, CCC Coordinator Heather Rolland explored the Escarpment Trail – all 23.9 glorious miles of it! And if you volunteer with the CCC, you could find yourself doing trail work or other projects in places as breath-taking as this.

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Early morning on the Escarpment Trail

What’s coming up?

There’s still a few slots left and time to register for the Trail Marking Clinic on Thursday July 23, on Ashokan High point. Learn to mark trails, do a little trail maintenance, and enjoy some amazing views! Email Heather at hrolland@nynjtc.org to sign up.

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Sunset Rock, Escarpment Trail

On August 1, we’re back at it, with a trail maintenance event that was scheduled for Giant’s Ledge. Since that trail is in great shape, we’ll be pulling a switcheroo, finding a trail in need of our loving touch — details to be announced as soon as possible!

Planning your Labor Day weekend? So are we! There will be a CCC work trip for sure, so make you are in the Catskills to join the fun!

Don’t forget the Volunteer Recognition Picnic held at the spectacular new Catskill Interpretive Center on September 12. Stay tuned for details!

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Check out the Devil’s Path in the distance.
You'll see wildlife!
You’ll see wildlife!

Trail Marking Clinic: July 23

The Catskill Conservation Corps is at it again! This time it’s a fun-filled day on Ashokan High Point, featuring a little trail work and a lot of learning. Join NYS DEC Forester Ian Dunn as we learn and practice all there is to know about marking a trail. Forester Dunn will demonstrate and guide volunteers in proper use of trail markers. Learning to mark trails is fun and easy, but doing it correctly is key. Properly marked trails are unobtrusive to the eye and safe to travel – and in compliance with the Catskill Park State Land Master Plan.

Ashokan High Point is a gorgeous peak, filled with wildlife and wildflowers and a truly unique blueberry meadow up near the summit. Fascinating ancient rock cairns line the trail at one point, and the trail parallels Kanape Brook for the first mile or so. The views are quite spectacular, and the entire hike offers a wide variety of trail types, from woods road to single track. There are some rock scrambles and steep sections on this trail, and the total distance is approximately 8 miles. This is a fabulous hike, a heavy favorite among veteran Catskill hikers.

The CCC will provide tools for the trail maintenance we’ll be doing on our way up to the summit. We’ll focus on side clipping, waterbar clearing, and removal of any small blowdowns or debris in the trail. Come prepared to be outdoors all day, with plenty of water and a bag lunch and anything else you might need to enjoy a full day in the woods (sunscreen, bug spray, your basic day pack items, etc). We’ll also provde some light refreshments, so be sure to register so we know how much to bring!

To register, contact Heather Rolland (hrolland@nynjtc.org or by phone at 518-628-4243) or by using the form below:

Trail work makes you smile!
Trail work makes you smile!

Notes from the field: Dealing with the Devil

The Devil’s Path, Indian Head Project

Thank you, Hurricane Sandy: what had once been an interesting and challenging scramble had, over the years become an all but impossible spot to negotiate. Fallen trees combined with a large rock ledge to create the perfect storm of a mess. The DEC operations crew removed the downed trees and made the area passable once more, but ultimately the decision was made to improve the treadway in that spot.

blowdown from Sandy on the Devil's Path
blowdown from Sandy on the Devil’s Path

I know what you’re thinking: difficult scrambles make the Devil’s Path what it is – a tough and exciting trail to hike. No argument here. But when an area on a popular trail becomes too difficult for folks, they start seeking alternative ways around… and that can be a problem. In a sensitive, high elevation ecosystem, making the trail the most attractive place to put your boots has real merit. Besides protecting slow-growing and unusual plants and limiting the impact on bird nesting habitat, a well-designed trail with good tread prevents erosion and holds up to heavy use. The Devil’s Path is a backpacker destination, and every weekend sees hordes of heavily laden back country campers huffing and puffing up these pitches. Making the trail the best option is worth the effort.

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Cal Johnson and the SCA intern crew, plus canine assistant

The instructions to volunteer team leader Cal Johnson were simple: improve the tread without sacrificing the rugged and wild quality of the trail. Do not attempt to tame the Devil’s Path! Two full work days and 4 interns later, the tread improvement project has been completed. Five rock steps were installed in the lower area, approaching the ledge. The footing is solid and secure, and the area is still challenging but doable. You will still need to lift small dogs and children, but the rest of us human and canine hikers will be able to manage just fine. Oh, and did I mention that it looks great?

halfway finished!
halfway finished!

Interested in learning rock moving techniques? Want to learn how to build awesome stone steps like the ones Cal and the SCA interns built? Think you’d like to help out on another section of the fabled Devil’s Path? Contact the CCC to learn about upcoming opportunities in rockwork! Click here, fill out the form, and put “rockwork” in the comment section. Looking forward to rocking out with you!

CCC Mascot, PeekaMouse, says "Volunteering makes you look fabulous!" We tend to agree!
CCC Mascot, PeekaMouse, says “Volunteering makes you look fabulous!” We tend to agree!

Help Out at Kaaterskill Falls

As you may have heard, construction has begun at Kaaterskill falls, and some areas will be closed to the public. For all the details about the exciting doings at Kaaterskill Falls, check out the DEC’s press release.

The CCC is seeking volunteers to assist the public in visiting those areas around Kaaterskill falls that remain open and accessible, as well as helping visitors find alternative hiking options.

To find out more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact the CCC (catskills@nynjtc.org or by phone at 518-628-4243) or by using the form below.