Over 240 volunteers participated in various ADK Supervised Volunteer trail projects & workshops in 2014. First year crew leaders Jacob Faber and Jacob Veilleux did an excellent job and each brought a unique skill set to the program. Along with the training sessions with the Professional Trails Program, both volunteer leaders visited the Blue Mountain Lake Museum and participated in a two day Leave No Trace trainer course.

Trail Steward Workshops
This season, three trail steward workshops were held for aspiring ADK trail stewards. The trail steward workshop is intended to give trail maintainers an understanding of basic trail maintenance concepts and standards. This training is necessary to become an official trail steward under ADK’s volunteer agreement with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Upon completion of the workshop, participants are supplied with a copy of ADK’s Basic Trail Maintenance Manual. On May10, the first workshop was held on the trail to Mt. Arab which is positioned just west of Tupper Lake.  On June 21, the second one-day workshop took place on the trail to Severance Hill located nearby Schroon Lake. The third workshop was conducted in Blue Mountain on October 11th. Five volunteers on Mt. Arab, ten volunteers on Severance Hill, and five volunteers on Blue Mountain learned the principles of cleaning drainage, blow-down removal, side-cutting, and trail marking.

National Trails Day®
ADK celebrated National Trails Day® on June 7th in the Village of Northville.  The 90th anniversary of the completion of the Northville-Placid Trail (N-PT) was the theme of the event. Trail projects focused on the last two major reroutes of the N-PT. 5 volunteer trail projects including a guided hike took place on the 7.5 mile reroute in the Silver Lake Wilderness Area that was completed by ADK during the 2013 field season. In addition, 35 volunteers installed 30 square feet of rock retaining walls, three rock steps, eight square feet of barricade rocks, and completed over a half mile of re-routes on the newly completed section of the NP-T in the Silver Lake Wilderness.  In the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, 30 volunteers worked alongside the Pro crew to grub close to a mile of that N-PT reroute that is anticipated to be completed by 2016. While trail projects were underway, over 30 vendors and artisans were set up in Waterfront Park which is located in the center of the Northville. A dedication ceremony was held at the end of the day that commemorated Waterfront Park as the new start or finish of the N-PT. Free camping was available to all trail volunteers at DEC’s Northhampton Beach Campground. The volunteer recognition dinner was provided by the Old Time Tavern which is located next door to Waterfront Park.

Johns Brook Valley Trail Work Weekend
Eleven ADK trail volunteers returned to Johns Brook Lodge to complete patrols (drainage cleaning, sidecutting, & blown down tree removal) of some nearby trails. One large crew focused their attention on side cutting the Hopkins Trail. The other major renovation was creating a defined trail between the ADK Goodwin and Myers Lean-tos. The work included installing new trail, installing three wooden steps, installing 15 square feet of barricade rocks, and importing 7.2 cubic feet of gravel from the adjacent stream to harden up the freshly cut trail.

One Day Trail Projects
The ADK Supervised Volunteer Trails Program hosted a 1-day trail project in May on Cascade Mountain. The volunteer crew spent the day installing stepping stones and barricade stones.  ADK’s Trails Coordinator Andrew Hamlin met up with nine volunteers at JBL to repair the trail that leads to Grace Camp. Using dimensional lumber, five foot bridges totaling 50 feet were built ensuring easier access for guests. A group of students from Saratoga High School helped out with trail maintenance at the JBL property. Work included are-route of a short section of trail near Grace Camp, re-vegetation of impacted soils around the Goodwin Lean-to, and the installation of an earthen water bar near Camp Peggy-O Brien.

Multi-Day Front Country Trail Projects
Two 5-day long front country trail projects were supervised by ADK Volunteer Crew Leaders at the end of June. For the first time, the Great Camp Sagamore hosted the ADK Supervised Volunteer Trails Program. Staying at a restored cabin with meals provided, seven volunteers worked on the surrounding trails. A 37 foot long native log foot bridge was constructed along with one mile of side cutting to reestablish the Beaver Flow trail. During the second week a volunteer crew of nine constructed 200 square feet of cedar turnpike on a section of trail nearby the Elk Lake Lodge located in the town of North Hudson. Volunteers ate all of their meals and stayed at the Elk Lake Lodge during the trail project. Many of the volunteers returned for another season to participate in this unique trail project.

For decades now ADK has been getting support from a great group of volunteers from the Canadian club Randonnée Aventure. The group stayed at the Wiezel Trails Cabin during the third weekend of September. Efforts were concentrated on replacing a 19 foot long ski bridge on the Old Marcy Dam trail. Spruce logs were peeled, sill logs installed, stringers hoisted, stringers notched, and decking installed.

Multi-Day Teen Trail Projects
Geared specifically for people between 14-17 years of age, five 5-day long back country trail projects took place in 2014. The first project was located on the N-PT in the Silver Lake Wilderness. Six volunteers installed eight stepping stones, a nine step rock staircase, and 48 square feet of barricade rocks to allow for safe passage across a brook. On top of all that hard work the crew also managed to re-vegetate 180 square feet of impacted soils. The second week had a teen crew working in the Johns Brook Valley, hardening a steep, eroded stretch of trail near camp Peggy O’Brien. Six volunteers set 14 wooden steps and lined the sides of the staircase with scree rock. In addition the crew performed a patrol of the Orebed Brook Trail, giving them an opportunity to hike a high peak and clean drainages along the way.

Work in the Johns Brook Valley continued during the third week, as a crew hardened a section of trail near the beginning of the Orebed Brook Trail. Picking up where last year’s volunteer trail crew left off, seven participants installed ten stepping stones and lined the edges with 170 square feet of scree rock. Ten feet of drainage ditches were also created. While working in the Johns Brook Valley, participants used one of ADK’s lean-tos as a basecamp each week.

During the fourth week a teen crew traveled south of Indian Lake into the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. A crew of eight worked on the Northville-Placid Trail near Spruce Lake. Two, 10 foot long native log foot bridges were built to replace older bridges that were not useable anymore. In addition the crew patrolled two miles of the trail, removing several pieces of blown down trees.

Lean-to Adopter & Trail Steward Programs
Both of these ADK backcountry stewardship programs continue to be a success by providing annual maintenance to trails and lean-tos throughout the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Volunteer managed and operated, these programs are another excellent opportunity for people to get involved and pitch in.

There are always more sections of trails or lean-tos that need attention than there are stewards, so please contact Herb Coles or Hilary Moynahan if your are interested. The pay isn’t so good, but the experience is priceless!

In 2014, 64 Trail Stewards helped maintain over 300 mile of trail and spent over 2800 hours of working.  214 volunteers adopted 175 lean-tos and spent over 4165 hours working.

If you are interested in doing volunteer trail work check out our Supervised Volunteer Trail schedule for this upcoming year.