Thursday, March 5, 2015

ADK's Volunteer Trail Work 2014 Accomplishments

NTD volunteers heading to work in the Silver Lake Wilderness
by Seth Jones

By Field Programs Department

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.

NTD Volunteers
By Seth Jones

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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ADK Starts New Winter College Program

By Seth Jones

This winter, Adirondack Mountain Club's Education Department tried a new College Winter Weekend program.  This program, based out of the Alex Radmanovich Yurt at our Heart Lake Program Center, was piloted to give college students an opportunity to experience snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for the first time while giving them the knowledge to be able to be prepared for winter recreation in the future.  We had two universities participate this winter, Columbia University and University at Albany.    Participants had a great time and we look forward to having more students out on the trail next winter. 

Students sleep and cook in our yurt that is heated by a woodstove.
Students receive a winter preparedness clinic before setting out for the day.
Photo by Paul Gallery
On the way to Mt. Van Hoevenberg where students practice
snowshoeing and active layering.

Friday, February 27, 2015

ADK's Professional Trail Crew 2014 Accomplishments

2015 Professional Trail Crew

By Field Programs Department

The Professional Trail Crew’s (Pro. Crew) season began with a week of skills training this year. The first day was spent at Heart Lake where the basics were covered such as tool & equipment safety, proper tool use (rock bar, axe, etc.), and how to set up a high line system. The entire crew then headed to the southern Adirondacks to continue skills training on the recently completed N-PT reroute in the Silver Lake Wilderness Area. A number of different kinds of structures were built including 46 feet of bog bridging, 40 feet of stepping stones, and 8 rock steps. After skills training, the entire Pro. Crew, including the volunteer leaders, participated in a two day wilderness first aid course that was run by Wilderness Medical Associates. To finish up training, the entire crew embarked on two days of patrols on trails primarily in the Eastern High Peaks Region. The High Peaks patrols occur annually every spring and the emphasis is to clean out all existing drainage structures (rock waterbars, ditches, etc.).  Almost all of the drainage structures were installed by past ADK trail crews. Up to four different crews patrolled over 46 miles of trail and removed 74 pieces of blown down trees. Training and patrols were made possible by funding that was provided by the Adirondack Forty-Sixers.

Monday, February 16, 2015

3 Summer Teen Activities with ADK

1. Johns Brook Valley Teen Adventure

This four-day, three-night camping adventure is for teens ages 14 to 17. Explore Johns Brook Valley's mountains, streams and lean-tos while we build friendship, camaraderie and outdoor skills in the Adirondack backcountry. Participants will experience hiking high peaks and learning the skills to become a proficient backpacker.

Learn More

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ADK Doubles Volunteer Trail Project Opportunities

By Andrew Hamlin

Since 1986, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has been hosting volunteers to participate in trail projects.  In that time, over 10,000 volunteers took part in maintaining the trails of the Adirondack Park.  Our volunteer trails program is not just about the trails though, it’s also about the people that maintain them. I can say with confidence that all 10,000+ volunteers who participated in ADK’s volunteer trails program left with a sense of stewardship for the Adirondacks.  They know firsthand how much hard work it takes, and how rewarding it is, to keep our Adirondack trail system in tip-top shape. 

ADK will always remain dedicated to continue with our volunteer trails program and also to look for ways to expand and improve upon it.   It is with that attitude that we decided to double the amount of volunteer opportunities this summer.  The additional projects will focus on the trails in the Eastern High Peaks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Warming Hut Weekend

By Stephanie Graudons 

On winter weekends, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Winter Host Program stations volunteers in a backcountry cabin to provide trail and weather information, hot chocolate, and more to hikers in the Johns Brook Valley. Hikers are given the opportunity to come in from the cold and warm up with a hot beverage on their way to the peaks or before making the last 3.5 mile trek back to the trailhead. 

Seven winters ago, I participated in my first outing with ADK, stood on the summit of my first winter high peak, and made my first visit to the “warming hut” on our way out. I was new to winter hiking back then, and didn’t have the best gear or knowledge of what hiking up steep terrain after a big snowfall might entail. It didn’t take long before I realized my water had frozen in my pack and I was carrying useless bricks of ice that offered no hydration. When the group decided to make a loop by descending to Johns Brook Lodge to stop by the warming hut on the way out, I experienced a huge morale boost as I drank hot chocolate and ate M&Ms. Who would have thought there was a HEATED place in the woods where people could stop for a break in the winter, get out of the cold, have hot chocolate, coffee, or tea served to them, and meet some really cool people?! What an amazing idea! That day provided just a small glimpse into the wide range of programs and fun opportunities offered by ADK.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Outside Our Comfort Zones

By Michelle Minnoe

After a sleepless night of camping out in single digit temperatures, my legs, back and brain were beginning to protest as I neared the summit of Phelps Mountain. Behind me, my co-leader, Seth and the three teenage boys we were guiding were getting battered by wind speeds of up to 50 mph, and they were just as tired as I was. On any other weekend, I would have chosen to stay snuggled up at home in front of the wood stove with my husband and dogs. However, a chance to be a part of a weekend that might change a few lives seemed worth the sacrifice.

My time thus far with the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has consisted mostly of managing the High Peaks Information Center, and leading short trips with fourth graders for the Marie L. Haberl School Outreach Program. For this school program, ADK works with up to six local schools to help get the students exploring the outdoors. Many of them have some sort of “first time” experience on these trips, whether it’s their first time hiking a mountain, tracking a snowshoe hare, or seeing a red eft on the trail. It has been incredibly fulfilling for me to be able to witness the wonder in the students’ eyes when first taking in the view from Mt Jo, or listening to them tell me all they’ve learned. After several years of running these programs, it’s safe to say that I’m well within my comfort zone with this age group.