BEAR MOUNTAIN 2015
October 13, 2015
THANK YOU ALL FOR A GREAT SEASON!!
It is a bittersweet goodbye to and from the 2015 AmeriCorps crews today. We are all so proud of everything that we have accomplished over the course of the season, and happy to have met and worked with all the amazing people that have helped to make these projects come alive. Even though we were unable to receive the wood and signage for the Trails for People Project at Bear before our season finished, the transformation has been unbelievable! (VIEW THE PROGRESS - CLICK HERE!)
It is a good feeling getting to see the park visitors captivated as they walk by with what we have done. Not to mention that our section of stairs on the Upper East Face is a work of art! The trail crews not only construct the paths for hikers, but also spread appreciaton and conservation efforts to all those who use the trails we build. The NYNJTC takes pride in everything they do, and a lot of that has to do with the volunteers who come out and make the visions of our amazing program managers possible. This program has been an invaluable experience, with both education and fond memories that will never be forgotten!
October 1, 2015
September 24, 2015
September 17, 2015
September 10, 2015
September 2, 2015
August 27, 2015
August 20, 2015
August 13, 2015
August 6, 2015
The project is starting to take shape
There are already some completed sections of the retaining walls taking shape, as well as boulder scaping making the grounds start to feel like an exhibit. We had some awesome volunteer experiences this week. Sadly we said goodbye to our group from the Student Conservation Association (SCA), some of the Jolly Rovers trail crew returned for a second weekend, and we had one last day with the Nature Place Day Camp! We have some great returning volunteers as well as some new, including 15 year old twins, with an incredible work ethic, who found info at our table and decided to join! It is great to see young hikers with the initiative to support a community that interests them. Thats what it's all about!
July 30, 2015
There has been tremendous progress at the Trails for People Project. We have set about 226 square feet of crib wall already...with plenty more to go! The Megalithics were happy to have both the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the Jolly Rovers trail crew joining us this past week for a crash course on building crib wall. They have been awesome speedy learners helping to set a ton of stone. It was also a great exerience for everone on site to be able to see a professional trail crew in action! Although we had several newcomers to building, and a crowded worksite with as many as 25 people on site this weekend, all of our volunteers rose to the occasion. Most times it seems as if more hands is an obvious advantage, but sometimes with such a meticulous task as crib wall, it can get overwhelming. Luckily we had a great group that was more than capable of any and every task we set in front of them. Sometimes it is all about patience and keeping an open mind, along with hard work, even when it feels like its over 100 degrees out!
ABOVE: Mr. Kevin Stamey showcasing some of his stone talent. Join him for a TRAIL U course on Crib Wall August 22-23 to learn how to build from one of the best!!
July 23, 2015
We are Diggin' In at the Trails for People Project!
Trails for People is off to a great start! Nature Place Day Camp has done a great job in constructing our climbing turn trail leading up to the SpiderHill House. It was hard work in the heat but they did an awesome job, and had some fun in the dirt! The Student Conservation Association has also joined us for a few weeks, and it has been awesome to share our trail building knowledge. We have started on Crib Wall building, with some stone splitting and shaping lessons in the mix. Every day this project is transforming, and we can thank all of our amazing volunteers!
July 16, 2015
June 25, 2015
June 18, 2015
Meet your 2015 Megalithic Trail Crew!
The Megalithic Trail Crew at Bear Mountain has been graced with a fantastic dynamic of both personalities and skills this year. We are lucky to have three returning 2014 AmeriCorps members, Kevin Stamey, a previous Taconic crew member, as well as Joe Knight and Ellie Pelletier, second-time Bear members. They bring a wealth of knowledge that helps to elevate the performace level of all the other crew members and volunteers around them. Amanda Finley is an AmeriCorps veteran who brings experience from all around the US. Mike Betros is an avid hiker and former AT volunteer who decided to dive right into the world of trail work. Jerrica comes from a design & media background and brings an artisitic eye to the structure of trail building. We are all fortunate to work with Ama, Trail Builder/Educator & Program Manager, and Kevin Simpson, Trail Construction Manager & 2013 AmeriCorps Crew Member. Ama and Kevin are educators and advisors, not only for volunteers, but all of our crew members, helping to teach and enforce the knowledge needed to successfully accomplish all of the goals that make Bear Mountain such an amazing project.
June 11, 2015
It was an exciting week at Bear Mountain to kick off June. On Friday the Rockland Conservation and Service Corps got to incorporate trail work with the Megalithic Crew into their training. We were all really excited to be able to share the different steps of our stairs project with you. They got to get hands on with quarrying and prepping, griphoists, the tedious task of actually setting a stair stone, and finishing with revegetation. There was great energy and a lot of smiles so we hope to see some of you back out on the mountain with us!
National Trails Day was another success, with some awesome activities, freebies, and of course Trail Education being shared all day long! Thanks to REI and Whole Foods for making this event happen.
A great way to show your appreciation and love for trails every day (or weekend) is by volunteering with a trail crew! We love seeing both returning and fresh faces out on Bear Mountain every week. We couldn't do it without all of you!
June 4, 2015
There were some beautiful fun-filled days on Bear before (but also during) the rain that hit this past weekend! Thank you to all our new volunteers who joined us, including Boy Scout Troop 2 Rye. You all did a fantastic job on Saturday! It is always so fulfilling, not only sharing our trail knowledge, but also helping to inform and inspire younger generations who already possess a love for the outdoors. It was great to see how excited these young boys (and men) were to get their hands dirty and make a difference. Our trail will be a more beautiful place thanks to all of you! Volunteering with us can be a great experience, whether with a group, your significant other, or a venture for yourself - all you have to do is come out and give it a try!
May 28, 2015
May 21, 2015
May 14, 2015
A new trail season has begun!!
Over the last two weeks, the new AmeriCorps NYNJTC Trail Crews have been training and learning everything they need to know to make our 2015 Trail Projects a huge success! It has been a nice blend of personalities and skill sets that will make for a great dynamic out in the field. Field training started in Bear Mountain with trail layout, tool uses and rock transport methods, then we dove right into stair building. The crews also got to experience some sidehilling over the river in the Taconic region. It has been fun learning all the tools of the trade and we are getting very excited to start working with our volunteers this season!!
December 19, 2014
Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who came out and worked on the Bear Mountain Trails Project in 2014!
Here is what 211 individuals contributing a total of 9,466.5 volunteer hours accomplished in one season:
657 Linear Feet of Trail
561 Square Feet of Crib Wall
136 Stone Stairs
Top Volunteers of 2014
411 Hours Daniel Yu
118 Hours Ryan Moore
112 Hours Ron Brantner
80 Hours David Septimus
64 Hours John Hutchinson
64 Hours Mark Popadak
53 Hours Jim Piombino
We did awesome! You can find pretty picture reports here http://www.nynjtc.org/bearmtnpartners
As winter is upon us and travel to the worksite has become treacherous, we have closed down the worksite for the season.
2015 will be a challenging and exciting year for the Bear Mountain Trails Project. Trail U courses will start up in March (weather permitting) We plan to finish the Upper East portion of the project to the 60% point first thing. That means more stairs! While we are working on stairs, we will also be quarrying and splitting rock for a project near the Inn called the Trails for People Project. This project will provide an interpretive area at the bottom of the mountain to explain what we are all about, how we build trails, and why we do things they way we do. For volunteers, this means building a lot of crib wall, a handful of stairs, artistically placing boulders, installing signage, some carpentry, and trying to make the place look like it hasn’t been trampled by millions of people. The Trails for People Project also means we have both the opportunity and the challenge of being in the public eye. If you are interested in talking to people and telling them what we (trail builders and NYNJTC) are all about, please let me know! We will be looking for volunteers to serve as ambassadors for the Trail Conference at the foot of this project every weekend of the season and offering training for such a task.
After 2015, we are still in need of $250,000 to complete the relocation of the Appalachian Trail on Bear Mountain. $250,000 will fund the two long hard seasons of technical dry masonry that it will take to complete the Upper East Face including building materials, tools, parts for the Canycoms, and project management. Normally, I don’t mention this to our hard working volunteers who have already given so much, but if you know someone who is in the position to donate and inspired by our work and this 12 year long project, please send them my way. Click Here to Donate
Thank you again for all your hard work! I look forward to seeing you all out on the trail in the Spring!
October 8, 2014
Fall is upon us! We will work into the winter as long as volunteers are willing so please contact Ama at least 48 hours in advance if you want to come out! We've got stairs to build!
September 3, 2014
Wowzers the leaves are changing already!!, but its been some glorious weather to be working in the great outdoors these past couple of weeks. The work has been tiring, fun, interesting and we are seeing the very real results of our labor~ beautiful stonework! Join us on Bear Mtn. and show us that determined work ethic; you may just surprise yourself.
August 6, 2014
Crib wall and staircases!! We've spent much time during the last several weeks drilling, splitting and flying rocks. We piled them up and enjoyed our new quarried rock as a lunch spot, but dang that piled dwindled quickly last week. They're now in some new sections of trail and the rock pile must be replenished! C'mon out and lend us a hand!
July 30, 2014
The number of visitors to Bear Mtn. on any given day of the summer is great and least week was no exception to the rule. In addition to the people who came to hike and barbeque, however, were a fantastic number of volunteers working on the trail. Groundwork Hudson Valley Green Team (a summer youth employment program), members of the Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans, and four weekly volunteers were all out putting forth noble efforts to help the crew get things done. The Warriors and Vets enjoyed a morning hike while learning the how-to's and why's of creating sustainable tread from Field Manager, Kevin Simpson before putting their knowledge to work in the afternoon. The Green Team experienced using the griphoist and teamwork to move massive stones necessary for the project and how to build cribwall.
July 23, 2014
No better place to experience nature than when you are in it; that's just what Nature's Place Day Camp did with us last week. This group of youth came out with us last Friday and got some hands-on experience using a grip hoist and they were all smiles:) This Friday we are hosting a day in honor of our Veterans which involves a hike from the top down Bear Mountain, lunch, and then an afternoon work session if the Vets feel so inclined. We are also looking forward to moving a lot of granite steps up the slope so we can get some staircases in place. Let's hope this heat doesn't melt the crew!
July 16, 2014
So much to do and so little time! (That's what it seems like anyway.) The crew and our volunteers have devoted some time in the past couple of weeks to using our newly learned rock splitting skills in order to replenish our supply for on-going cribwall and staircase construction. After splitting rocks, it is still a large feat to move them closer to our site using sweat, brawn, and the high line (30 plus rocks moved in one afternoon). Ladies Day is Saturday, July 19th and Cribwall Trail-U is on Sunday...c'mon out!!
July 2, 2014
Last week was jam-packed with learning opportunities and the volunteers had a great time. Trail Builder, Ama Koegnishof taught a rock drilling and splitting class on Saturday and everyone had ample opportunity to practice with the drill,sledge, feathers, and wedges to create rocks that we'll use in crib wall and as steps in the near future. Thanks to David and Sam, a father/son duo, who came out on Sunday and split rock and moved it via highline for the first time. They were naturals!
June 25, 2014
Happy Summer!! Boyscout Troop 78 volunteered their first day of summer to help us close down some old section of trail (THANK YOU!!) and, despite the bedrock and roots that seemed determined to thwart our trail building efforts, we had a productive last week (thirty-five plus square feet of new crib wall!). VOLUNTEERS, this weekend June, 28th and 29th we are offering two Trail-U courses. These classes are complimentary of the NYNJTC. So follow the link [email protected] and join us for a Stone Splitting and Rigging class (a 2 for 1!) or Canycom Training and help us get new surfacing up the mountain and on the trail.
June 18, 2014
Attention Ladies!! Ama (Professional Trail Builder/Educator),Caitlyn, Jaime, and Ellie (AmeriCorps Crew Members) are ready, willing, and able to lead you into the wonderful world of trail work this Saturday June 21st, so come on out and work with us! Last week was a challenging one with some of our machinery needing belt replacements, heavy rain and slippery slopes challenging the crew's fortitude, but the smiles shone through the thick fog and the newly bloomed mountain laurel reminded us why we love our office. Despite setbacks our volunteers helped us build new crib wall, surface trail, and de-duff sections of trail for some more building this week. Come see why our job is so rewarding!