Tag Archives: Trail Crew

Litter Pickup along Peekamoose/Sundown Road near Blue Hole on Monday, September 7th

Some of the litter cleaned up from the Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead
Some of the litter cleaned up from the Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead at a prior litter pickup event!

The Catskill Conservation Corps will be leading volunteers in a litter pickup and trail cleanup along the Peekamoose/Sundown Road near the Blue Hole, Peekamoose Trailhead and Sundown Primitive Camping area.  The work trip will be from 2 to 5pm and volunteers will be removing litter from along the roadside, trails, campsites and vicinity.

Please make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail work activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; and bring work gloves.  The Catskill Watershed Corporation is graciously donating trash bags and work gloves for the work trip.  Thank you to our friends at the Catskill Watershed Corporation!

We will be meeting at the Olive Town Hall/Park at 45 Watson Hollow Road, West Shokan, NY 12494 at 1:45pm and then carpooling over to the Lower Field parking area.

The public is welcome to join the crew and you do not need to be a member of the Trail Conference to take part.

No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.

Please register below for this event, call 518-628-4243 or email catskills@nynjtc.org.

The Wildberry Whippersnappers

Ask me what my favorite part of the CCC’s Wildberry Whippersnapper Day was and I’d be hard pressed to select just one moment. Was it the pouncing coyote we passed on the way to the trailhead? Maybe learning that the volunteer working side by side with me had to hurry off by noon because she was volunteering at the Glimmerglass Opera House later that evening? It might have been the sense of triumph upon reaching our other team’s end point, deep in the forest, and knowing that we’d cleared the entire trail. But it also might have been that wonderful feeling of accomplishment when I used my new folding saw to carefully and safely remove fallen trees from the trail.

weapons of blackberry destruction
weapons of blackberry destruction

Blackberries and raspberries, while thoroughly delicious, are tough, invasive, and very thorny. They do not make good hiking companions. Cutting them back involves metal weed whips, eye protection, long sleeves, and a sense of humor – hence the Wildberry Whippersnapper epithet. Our trusty mascot, Miss Peeka Mouse, was not in attendance as swinging sharp metal blades was deemed a bit risky for the pup. Safety first, as always!

They look so innocent...
They look so innocent…

We were blessed with great weather and a great crew and a job well done. Next up for the CCC? Ashokan 2: The Revenge has been rescheduled – the new date is August 13. Come on out for another full day of fun and games and hard work and cookies on Ashokan High Point on the 13th, and clear your calendar on Sunday, September 6 for a litter pick up and campsite clean up at Blue Hole. And finally – don’t forget the volunteer picnic on September 12 at the Catskill Interpretive Center. Celebrate a great season of volunteering with your fellow volunteers!

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.

2015-07-09 08.43.40
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!

Litter Pickup along Peekamoose/Sundown Road on Sunday, July 5, 2015

Some of the litter cleaned up from the Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead
Some of the litter cleaned up from the Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead at a prior litter pickup event!

The Catskill Conservation Corps will be leading volunteers in a litter pickup and trail cleanup along the Peekamoose/Sundown Road near the Blue Hole, Peekamoose Trailhead and Sundown Primitive Camping area.  The work trip will be from 1 to 3pm and volunteers will be removing litter from along the roadside, trails, campsites and vicinity.

Please make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail work activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; and bring work gloves.

The public is welcome to join the crew and you do not need to be a member of the Trail Conference to take part.

No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.

Please register below for this event, call 518-628-4243 or email catskills@nynjtc.org.

Read the full press release for this event

From the Field: Huntersfield Lean-to Staining Project – May 30, 2015

On Saturday, May 30, nine intrepid souls faced daunting conditions to restain the Huntersfield shelter and clean up the area surrounding the lean-to!

Are you among the few, the strong, the adorable? Think you could manage to work in such unpleasant (cough cough) working conditions? Sign up for a work trip on the Catskill Conservation Corps website to find out! We guarantee cuteness, adventure and fun on every trip.

The Huntersfield Lean-to is located just to the north of the Catskill Park in Huntersfield State Forest .  The lean-to is along the Long Path, a north-south long distance trail managed by the Trail Conference running from New York City to the Mohwak River and which is envisioned to run to the Adirondacks.

Supplies and stain for the lean-to project were provided by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Catskill Community Trails Fund.  You can donate to the fund to help trail, lean-to and stewardship projects throughout the Catskills.

Devil’s Acre Lean-to Rehabilitation | Hunter Mountain | June 13 and 14

IMG_1491Volunteers from the Catskill Conservation Corps and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Catskills Trail Crew will be working to rehabilitate the Devil’s Acre Lean-to on Hunter Mountain on Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th, 2015.

The work on the lean-to will include the removal of the existing roof and the installation of a new roof.  The existing asphalt roof is in poor condition and will be replaced with a cedar shingle roof.

Other work for volunteers will include bringing materials to the site from the summit of Hunter Mountain where they are being stored and bringing out waste materials.

The crew will be working on the lean-to both Saturday and Sunday.  Volunteers can join the crew for both days or just a single day.

The public is welcome to join and you do not need to be a member of the Trail Conference  or have prior experience with the Catskill Conservation Corps to get involved.

No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.

Please be ready to hike to the lean-to work area; make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail building activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; bring work gloves; and bring a bag lunch.

For more information, please contact Heather Rolland the Catskill Conservation Corps Coordinator at 518-628-4243 or via email at catskills@nynjtc.org.

You can register for the work trip below:

Press Announcement

From the Field: Huntersfield Vista Maintenance & Sprucing up the Spruceton Trail!

Huntersfied Vista Maintenance
Volunteers dressed warm with a day that featured snow, sleet and rain while the vistas were being maintained! Just a late May day in the Catskills!

Huntersfield Vista Maintenance: On May 20, volunteers and staff from the CCC assisted DEC staff members in clearing three vistas located on the yellow loop trail around the summit of Huntersfield Mountain located just north of the Catskill Park. Shawn Smith of Operations and Ranger Jeff Breigle led the crew; volunteers acted as swampers. The approved work for this project was completed and all three vistas have been restored.

Special thanks to all DEC staff involved. It was a real treat for volunteers to work with a professional sawyer – Mr. Smith is a surgeon with the saw! In addition, Ranger Breigle invited feedback and fostered communication among volunteers about the aesthetics of each vista, such that volunteers felt empowered to offer suggestions and feedback. For volunteers to be able to see a vista open up before their very eyes was magical – they were thrilled. The weather was awful, which just added to the allure of the day.

One of the trail clearing volunteers!
A rare Catskills chupacabra sighting or just one of the volunteers who helped clear brush along the Spruceton Trail?

Sprucing up the Spruceton Trail: On May 21, volunteers assisted DEC and Trail Conference staff in trail work on the Spruceton Trail. We worked for approximately 4 hours, removing piles of cut limbs and small trees from the side of the trail. The material was pulled back into the woods, alleviating the eyesore. We each removed approximately 20 piles of brush in a section of trail roughly .25 miles long. We estimate another .75 miles of trail still remains in need of this type of work.

Special thanks to Ranger Christine Nelson who drove us halfway up the trail to increase time spent working on the project. One of our volunteers was not familiar with the Catskills and had never been on Hunter Mountain before. She was truly delighted with her first experience – a ride in a ranger truck, hearing the Bicknell’s thrush calling, the incredible views from the fire tower!

Mid May Madness

Here at the Catskill Conservation Corps, we’ve been working hard for months, planning and organizing events, work trips, projects, and workshops, and we’ve been learning a lot as we forge ahead. Here are a few of the lessons we’ve been handed by Mother Nature.

Lesson 1: be flexible! We used expert sources to schedule our knotweed event, discussing when the knotweed would most likely be at the ideal height with a number of experienced folks. But the deep snow and lingering cold meant that the knotweed didn’t even emerge until much later than expected, and forced us to reschedule the work trip. Let’s face it – we couldn’t throw that particular party if the guest of honor wasn’t going to make it!

We also scheduled a project at the summit of Huntersfield Mountain for mid-April, seeking to get a jump on the work season and bang that project out before heat and bugs would make the work more difficult. Again, the deep snow skunked us and we had to reschedule that trip as well.

Another important part of the planning process includes site visits to trails and assessment by CCC and DEC staff to determine specific work plans. The fires this spring on SW Hunter Mountain and down in the Shawangunks meant that DEC staff were unavailable for some of those assessment trips and now they too will have to be rescheduled.

Lesson 2: build in “slush” time! The rescheduling of the knotweed event meant we needed to move other work trips. We had scheduled every weekend for almost a month straight and when a reschedule date was needed things were too tight. Through some wonderful flexibility on the part of DEC staff (they seem to have lesson 1 down pat!) we’ve been able to get everything rescheduled. Picture that house of cards – it all tumbled down a couple of times but we’ve got it neatly restacked! For the future, we do plan to schedule a little bit less tightly so that we can shuffle things around with greater ease. Because if there’s one thing we can predict, it’s that we’ll need to stay flexible!

Lesson 3: variety is the spice of life! While there are many more potential projects than we will be able to complete this work season, providing a great “menu” of volunteer options is important to us. To that end, we’re mixing it up! We are offering events in different geographic areas of the Catskills, half day events and full day events, weekday events and weekend trips, trail work, lean to work, at least one construction project, litter picking… a really wide variety of work projects so that there will definitely be something for everyone!

What is scheduled so far?

May 16: hand pulling knotweed at Russell Brook falls

May 17: moving the privy at the Mink Hollow lean to

May 21: Sprucing up the Spruceton Trail

May 30: staining the Huntersfield lean to

June 13 – 14: reroofing the Devil’s Acre Lean to

June 15: Half a dozen for half a day – trail project at Kaaterskill Falls

June 20: Learn how to maintain trails at Intro to Trail Maintenance

June 21: Pick Up Litter with Dad! Father’s Day litterpicking event at Overlook Mountain

More work trips, trail building, trainings and litter pick-ups will be scheduled but as we have learned – be ready to be flexible as weather or other surprises may force us to shuffle that house of cards one more time!

Spruce up the Spruceton Trail on Hunter Mountain on May 21, 2015

IMG_2709The Catskill Conservation Corps and the Trail Conference’s Catskills Trail Crew will be working on the Spruceton Trail on Hunter Mountain this May.  The Trail climbs Hunter Mountain from Spruceton Valley.

On this trip we will be working to clear brush and other materials from along the trail as it makes its way to the summit of Hunter Mountain from the Spruceton Road Trailhead.

Please make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail maintenance activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; bring work gloves; and bring a bag lunch.

The public is welcome to join us. No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.

Register

To register, you can contact the trip leader, Heather Rolland at 518-628-4243 or you can complete the form below.

Spring Cleaning at the Mink Hollow Lean-to on Sunday, May 17, 2015

IMG_2467The Catskills Trail Crew and the Catskill Conservation Corps will be working at the Mink Hollow Lean-to to relocate the privy to a new location. The crew will also be doing maintenance work as necessary around the lean-to site.  That work will include cleaning the lean-to, maintaining official camp-sites and removing any litter that may have accumulated over the winter.

Please make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail work activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; bring work gloves; and bring a bag lunch.  The lean-to is located a few miles in from the trailhead, so crew members will have to hike to the work site.

The public is welcome to join the crew.  No experience is necessary, we will provide the tools and the training on site before we get started.