After the Storm: Volunteers Respond in NJ

July 03, 2018
West Jersey Trail Crew Chief David Day
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

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After the Storm: Volunteers Respond in NJ
Sawyer Alec Maylon clearing blowdowns on Ramapo Reservation's Marsh Trail. Photo by Chris Connolly

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Sawyers in New Jersey are working hard to clear and repair trails temporarily closed or damaged by several remarkably strong storms that hit our parks this spring.

Our sawyers have been “sawing up a storm” throughout our regions of New Jersey. Many areas escaped with only minor impact; others were absolutely devastated. In some cases, our volunteers have had to shove branches and cut logs out of the way simply to get to the locations where they can begin clearing trails.

Chris Connolly and Alec Malyon cleared two huge blowdowns on the Marsh Trail in Ramapo Valley County Reservation, next to Trail Conference Headquarters.

Sawyer Joel Pinsker worked with our Wawayanda West trail supervisors to clear 12 trees. Meanwhile, Bob Jonas working with Estelle Anderson in Morristown National Historical Park cleared 40 trees blocking trails, with Bill Harrison serving as a swamper on some trips.

In Worthington State Forest, our volunteer trails supervisor Mark Kern and sawyer Greg Bernet joined David and Monica Day as two saw teams and began working their way up the Dunnfield Creek Trail valley. Many of the downed trees were mature and large—lots of trees were in the 30-inch range. At the end of May, it was still unknown how much work remained because no one had been able to get through to make a full assessment. The trail’s first three-quarters of a mile was a nearly continuous blockage.

Tillman’s Ravine in Stokes State Forest had dozens of similarly large trees, all pitched down off the sides of the ravine landing headfirst into the stream, totally blocking access. Sawyer Chet Morris worked for days to get basic access opened. The West Jersey Crew and its saw teams worked to clear Tillman’s Ravine and its stream and to rebuild portions of trail tread that had been ripped out by root balls.

Many other sawyers all over our N.J. region have been working hard as well. We haven’t yet received full reports to mention their efforts, but all work is greatly appreciated.

When trails are threatened, the Trail Conference responds.

Across the region, volunteers have been making heroic efforts in a remarkably short amount of time to clear and restore trails damaged by these spring storms. We’ve gathered on-the-ground reports from Trail Conference volunteers who have been selflessly giving days at a time to clear blowdown and make sure affected trails are once again passable and safe. It’s just one more incredible way our Trail Family works hard to make connecting with nature possible for all who seek to get outside and explore. Here are their stories:

Remember: The safest place right now is at home.