December 2, 2015
Trail Work Day Attracts Huge Turnout
Every year in late October, Mark Simon organizes a trail work day for maintaining and improving local trails. Mark is maintenance coordinator of the Stone Valley Trail System on behalf of the ADK Laurentian Chapter, as well as a faculty member in Wilderness Education at SUNY Potsdam. Scores of students from the area colleges take part, along with faculty, chapter members, and others. The turnout seems to get larger every year, and the scope of projects undertaken increases accordingly. This year there were six crews out, three in Stone Valley and three elsewhere. Here are highlights of how the day unfolded.
Red Sandstone Trail
John Omohundro, Laurentian Chapter maintenance coordinator of this riverside trail between Hannawa Falls and Potsdam, along with a couple of others had bad luck with the weather. After carrying materials in to the gulch between Sugar Island Flow and the Parmenter Quarry they were immediately rained out. John returned later in better weather to make repairs to some of the structures in the gulch.
West River Trail, Stone Valley
Julie Rapczynski, Bill Brown, and a crew from SUNY Potsdam Environmental Studies Freshman Interest Group (FIG) conducted general maintenance starting from the Colton dam and extending a couple of miles downstream. The work included clipping branches, cleaning water bars, and installing trail markers. A couple of weeks after the work this writer walked that stretch of trail and can state that while specific evidence couldn’t be identified, the overall impression was of a very well maintained trail.
Photo: West River Trail crew from Environmental Studies FIG. Photo: Bill Brown
John Stone Memorial Nature Trail Foot Bridge
Kirke Perry, Bill Beauchamp, and students from SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education constructed a 37’ foot bridge over a creek, replacing a worn out low level bridge on this local trail in the Hamlet of Colton. The main structural members were telephone poles donated by the Nicholville Telephone Company. We collaborated with Ruth McWilliams who is chair of the Colton Beautification Committee.The whole project was completed in a single day.
Left photo: Bridge under construction. Note telephone poles. L-R, Kirke Perry, Bill Beauchamp. Photo by Colton Town Supervisor Dennis Bulger
Right photo: Completed bridge. L-R, Kirke Perry, Noah Primus, Bill Beauchamp, Eric Hanss. Photo Keagan Anderson
East River Trail, Stone Valley - Low Level Bridge
Jim Williams and a crew from SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education rebuilt a low-level bridge over a wet area not far from the east side trailhead in Colton. They also did some trail widening.
Adam Wheeler, Tom Maccula, and a large crew of students from SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education Program and Environmental Studies Department conducted trail maintenance, graffiti removal, and erosion control on Azure Mountain.
Photo: Azure Mountain crew. Photo Adam Wheeler
East River Trail Reroute - Stone Valley
Mark Simon along with Jim Sheppard led a large crew consisting of students from SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education and SUNY Canton Outdoor Adventures Club in constructing a reroute of the East River Trail near High Terrace. High Terrace, located near the midpoint of Stone Valley, is a couple of hundred feet above the river, with very steep approaches at both ends. For both safety (the approaches become dangerous under slippery conditions) and esthetic (to appreciate this stretch of the river, which can’t be seen from the top of the Terrace) reasons it was decided to bypass the Terrace at river level.
A long line of students worked for hours with hand tools, hacking new trail into the steep banks and levelling it. Near the northern end of High Terrace, the steepness required the construction of a deadman, which is a structure consisting of strong logs fastened to the ground by pegs below the desired new trail. The deadman was then filled with rocks, stones, gravel, and earth to create level trail.
Left photo: Colin Dowd, crew leader Pete Gropp, Max Abraham, Dan Shefner, Jessie Jonasse. Photo John Barron
Right photo: Pete Groppe traverses the deadman. Photo John Barron
Dec 2, 2015: Trail Work Day Attracts Huge Turnout