One Step at a Time
The Bear Mountain Trail Crew started the 2018 season with one goal: Finish the Appalachian Trail.
I have to admit—I wasn’t sure we would be able to complete the project on time. But through a lot of blood, sweat, and wasp stings, we finished the Trail ahead of schedule.
Five Conservation Corps members, including myself, worked on the Trail five days a week from May through October: Michael Girard, Sam Walters, Tori Welch, and Yuliya Semenova were the best crew I could have asked for. Our most dedicated volunteers were Sean Sullivan, Daniel Yu, and Kevin Morales. These guys were out every single week helping us build. Their commitment to the Bear Mountain Trails Project was truly inspiring, and we were so thankful to have them. Everyone worked so hard and really committed themselves to getting this project completed, despite the challenges.
Dealing with the weather felt like a constant struggle. There were quite a few days where the rain was so bad that our entire worksite became a giant mud pit. Even worse than the rain, however, were the hot, humid days. Working at the top of the mountain, there were no trees to shade us from the heat. We were also frequently under attack from wasps.
I ended up coming back for a second season on Bear Mountain, this time as crew leader. There was a lot of pressure, as the project absolutely needed to be finished this season. But through it all, the crew persevered with a great attitude. I am thankful for having found something I truly love doing and even more thankful for the amazing people I’ve met along the way through this AmeriCorps program.
Tracy Arcella served as the Conservation Corps Bear Mountain Trail Crew leader for the 2018 season. To learn more about the program and apply for the 2019 season, please explore the Conservation Corps page.