Palisades Crew at Sterling Forest State Park

 

 

First you helped us save Sterling Forest…now help us restore its trails.

Pal Crew 2014

In 1998, the effort to protect Sterling Forest from development lead a coalition of over 30 organizations to purchase and permanently protect 14,500 acres of unbroken deep-forest habitat. Subsequent acquisition efforts have increased the size to nearly 22,000 acres.

 

Now the Trail Conference invites your participation to enhance the trail system in this special park. 

 

Recognizing our expertise in developing trails and volunteers, New York State Parks has asked the Trail Conference to develop an expanded corps of volunteers and to assess, inventory, design, build, and restore the trails in this forest. This crew of volunteers, ranging over Sterling Forest  and parks and NYNJTC trails in the region, is thus known as the Palisades Region Trail Crew.

 

In order to restore existing trails, volunteers will be trained how to identify unsustainable problem areas and how to repair trail structures. A series of both entry-level and advanced hands-on workshops will teach volunteers to layout and design sustainable user-friendly trails, and build, restore, remediate, and maintain trails. There will be opportunities and training for all levels of ability and interest. Details on how to repair and install crib wall, tread hardening by rock paving, stairs, trail bridges, drainage structures, stepping stones, and turnpikes will be taught as needed. 

(The Palisades Region Trails Project at Sterling Forest will not involve advanced rock work; training in those techniques is available at our Bear Mountain Trails Project.)

Visit our Trail U schedule to find upcoming training opportunities at Sterling Forest.

Link to Map to purchase

 

Come be a part of the next step of the protection of Sterling Forest State Park

 

 Trail Crew Trips 

 
Join our Americorps members building trails for the rest of the season Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 

from 8:45pm til 5pm, including the popular Thursday evenings ‘build trail after work’. 

Join them Thursdays at 11:45am or at 5pm til sunset.

 

Sign up on individual crew days here, or email [email protected] or contact Sona at 201-512-9348 ext. 16. 

 

Calling all volunteers! This summer, we'll be creating new trail on the Doris Duke project. Sidehilling a loop trail in the north-eastern reaches of the park with a view of New York City! 

 


Trail-U Workshops!


For more in-depth training on aspects of trail-building, sign up for our upcoming workshops:


Aug 16: How to build a stream crossing

 Stream Crossing Trail Construction

Discover how to build a trail that people enjoy walking on: Learn trail restoration, building and design techniques. Our trail builders will be using stone to teach sustainable methods of mitigating soil erosion in a watershed setting.

We will begin with the ergonomics of how to use tools safely in a group setting, and continue to a hands-on workshop which will inncorporate both theory and practice in the art of sustainable trail building.


Sept 20:  Intro to Trail-Building


Discover how to build a trail that people enjoy walking on: Learn trail restoration, building and design techniques. Our skilled trail builders will be using stone to teach sustainable methods of mitigating soil erosion in a watershed setting.

We will begin with the ergonomics of how to use tools safely in a group setting, and continue to a hands-on workshop which will inncorporate both theory and practice in the art of sustainable trail building.


October 5: Intro to trail Building techniques


Discover how to build a trail that people enjoy walking on: Learn trail restoration, building and design techniques,  how to mitigate soil erosion in a watershed setting, and to make your trail last for many years.

 

We will begin with the ergonomics of how to use tools safely in a group setting, and continue to a hands-on workshop which will incorporate both theory and practice in the art of sustainable trail building.

 

Special Events


 You're invited...

 Join us for a Volunteer Appreciation Cookout coming up soon on  Saturday August 23rd from 3pm to 7pm at Pelton Pond in Fahnestock Park, Cold Spring, NY

Good food, good company, good tales, lots of laughter to be had

 

To make sure we bring out enough munchies for everyone, let us know if you can come:

http://www.nynjtc.org/event/east-hudson-volunteer-appreciation-picinc

 

Previous Events

Trail U: Armoring A Stream Crossing on July 26th: 

Armoring A Stream Crossing

 

“Why would you armor a stream crossing?”

Great question: What exactly is armoring, and why do it?

 

This weekend our first Trail-U workshop focused on exactly that. Participants learned how to build a safe passage across an intermittent stream, free of unstable, slippery stones. Students set and sank large boulders with flat surfaces into a bed of rock to create a permanent and safe walking surface across a submerged stream that periodically floods after storms.

 

We all were invigorated this past Saturday with the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteer participants: Jesse, TJ and Cian armored the muddy, upper stream crossing by moving and placing stepping stones into crush and smaller rocks, allowing water to flow between the stones.  John, Paul and Kathy worked on the drier stream crossing further below, moving and setting a large rock into the side of the seasonal stream to guide periodic floodwaters away from the trail surface preventing future erosion.  

 

It was rewarding to see how accomplished participants felt at their handiwork, as well as acquiring deeper understanding of trail building. Each brought their own experience and sense of humor to the day: Paul’s jubilation at discovering how to use a simple rock bar to move a one thousand pound boulder,

Armoring Project Complete!and TJ's demonstrating the techniques of moving exceptionally heavy blocks and clearing stones from the cow pastures that he learned growing up on a dairy farm, and giving us a glimpse into the fascinating world of international engineering projects.

 

We set a total of 5 large stepping stones this Saturday as well as a number of gargoyles. (Know what we mean by ‘gargoyle’?) We would never have accomplished all of that without the help of our enthusiastic volunteers. Thank you guys!

 

Future trail projects on the menu for this year include: armoring more stream crossings, stepping stones across streams, side-hilling steep contour paths, corridor clearing, stone-and-dirt landings where needed and generally creating a beautiful trail. We welcome all volunteers to participate in this most satisfying of ways to give back.

 

Our next  Trail-U workshop will be repairing a more traditional stream crossing by setting sturdy stones across a stream bed, on Saturday, August 16th. Bring a friend. Sign up: http://nynjtc.org/workshop/tread-and-drainage-building-stream-crossing-trail-u-868

 

 

Bug hike July 13th:

Instead of bugs finding us, we went in search of them!  

Skimmer Butterfly

On Sunday July 13, trail builders and amateur naturalists Peter Dolan and Tina McGill lead an interactive walk through Sterling State Forest, exhibiting another aspect of life on the trails: bugs.

Participants learned much about  insects walk as well as sustainable trail building, while walking along the new Doris Duke Trail at Sterling forest State Park.

Among the beetles, butterflies, hoppers and ants encountered enroute, we caught and released a beautiful skimmer dragonfly (Family:Libellulidae), with its characteristic black banded wings.

A hearty thank you to all who attended. Without your involvement in the trails and residents thereof, we here at the NYNJTC would be left nothing to ... buzz about! 

 

 

Jun 6th Trail Progress Update:

Wow! 800 Feet of New Trail at Sterling Forest and We’re Just Getting Started

Memorial Day  kicked off the start of summer, and we’re heating up on the Doris Duke side-hilling project! 

Palisades Trail Crew at work on new trail

A big hearty thank-you to our awesome volunteers who helped us complete around 800 feet of new trail since the start of this season’s project.

Looking forward to the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue to bench-cut our way through the park’s Doris Duke Loop Trail to create a scenic, sustainable side-hilled trail up Sterling Mountain, and eventually to a great new view of NYC in the distance. We hope to open the trail to hikers by hunting season this year, and could use all the help we can muster. (The Doris Duke Wildlife Sanctuary is off limits for hunting.) Even if you have only a few hours, you will be most welcome.

Remember we’re also continuing our Thursday evening  program, ending around 7:30pm. So if you would like to get some outdoor time in the forest with us, let us know. We'd love to get dirty and move rocks with you! 

 

 

Sidehilling Party on Sunday April the 27th:

It's amazing how much a few volunteers can accomplish together. A large section of new trail was side-hilled within a few hours on the Doris Duke Trail, and with the help of our indeispensible volunteers, we hope to complete the entire loop this year. Thank you Ed, Joe & Bob!

This section of the Doris Duke trail will link up with the Allis trail, which joins up with the Appalachian trail in the north, and the Sterling Ridge Trail to the south, all the way to Ringwood State Forest in New Jersey.

Let us know you're coming, or email [email protected]





Saturday April the 19th:

More parking at the new trailhead! The park has enlarged the trailhead parking for the Doris Duke Trail by removing a derelict building on site, and the ground needed some debris removal before the surface can be smoothed and hardened for cars.

A bunch of stalwart volunteers  (including little ones) cleared the area in no time at all. Now we will have room for more hikers to enjoy this new trail-in-progress!

 

Thank you everybody for the cheery smiles, amazing fast work, and good company!