Tag Archives: volunteer

Great Volunteer Opportunities at the Catskill interpretive Center!

Interpretive CenterThe Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center has become the gateway to the Catskill Park and the Catskills Region.  Volunteers are in integral part of the operation of the Center, welcoming visitors and providing information.

As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to represent the Catskills and to share your knowledge of our history, heritage, natural resources, culture, art, fun things to do and amazing things to see. Catskill Interpretive Center visitors may come in looking for info about amenities or for directions; you will have the opportunity to make that special first impression that tells a visitor they are welcome. We want each visitor to leave the Interpretive Center having learned something new and wonderful about the Catskills.

Volunteers will be interpreters and docents who know the Catskill region and can guide and direct visitors to their destinations while also suggesting other possible places to go.

We are looking volunteers to cover all days but especially the weekends throughout the year.  Please consider volunteering on Saturday and Sunday and help promote the great Catskills we all love! 

If you are interested in learning more and getting involved, please complete this form:

Some photos of the Interpetive Center under construction:

CIC Front Entrance 3-17-15 CIC Painting and Staining Interior 2 3-17-15

New Volunteer Opportunity At The Now Opened Catskill Interpretive Center!!

Interpretive CenterThe Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center has become the gateway to the Catskill Park and the Catskills Region.  Volunteers will be integral to the operation of the Center, welcoming visitors and providing information.

As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to represent the Catskills and to share your knowledge of our history, heritage, natural resources, culture, art, fun things to do and amazing things to see. Catskill Interpretive Center visitors may come in looking for info about amenities or for directions; you will have the opportunity to make that special first impression that tells a visitor they are welcome. We want each visitor to leave the Interpretive Center having learned something new and wonderful about the Catskills.

Volunteers will be interpreters and docents who know the Catskill region and can guide and direct visitors to their destinations while also suggesting other possible places to go.

If you are interested in learning more and getting involved, please complete this form:

Some photos of the Interpetive Center under construction:

CIC Front Entrance 3-17-15 CIC Painting and Staining Interior 2 3-17-15

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!

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!

cropped-img_2061.jpg

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.

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.

2015-07-19 07.06.36
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.

2015-07-19 09.05.28
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!

2015-07-19 12.47.00
Check out the Devil’s Path in the distance.
You'll see wildlife!
You’ll see wildlife!

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!

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.

Notes From The Field: Welcome, Summer!

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.

P1470879

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.

11426492_10205493910999567_1558835337845331855_o 10994061_10205493910959566_6903024147799067255_o11105252_10205493910919565_9136145184721864488_o

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!

Read the full follow-up press release for our workshop

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!

11421398_10205484626567462_3054535350127480315_o

Become a Volunteer Catskills Summit Steward

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference in collaboration with the Catskill 3500 Club have announced the establishment of a seasonal Summit Steward Program in the Catskill Park.  The 2015 pilot program will focus on Slide Mountain, the Catskills highest summit and one of its most popular destinations.

Summit Stewards will help visitors to Slide Mountain’s summit (elev. 4,180 feet) make the most of this spectacular Catskill destination. Stewards will share information on good trail routes, hiking safety and etiquette, and how to support the Catskill Park and hiking trails in the region.

In addition to the paid seasonal stewards, the Trail Conference will be offering interested individuals the opportunity to become a volunteer summit steward who will support the seasonal staff.

Full Press Release on the Summit Steward Program from the NYSDEC.

If you are interested in volunteering as a summit steward, please complete the form below:

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.