The rumors are true. For the first time ever Barkeater Trails Alliance is fielding a paid, seasonal trail crew to augment the ongoing and tireless efforts of local volunteers. The idea to create paid trail crew positions has been discussed for years as we all recognized that the construction and maintenance requirements of an ever-growing regional trail network would eventually outpace the capacity of our volunteer trail crews. Now it's official.
This spring the Saranac Lake-based Cloudsplitter Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to BETA to support the Trail Crew. This plus support from annual membership contributions and the generosity of a private donor (who matched 50% of the Cloudsplitter grant) have made this idea a reality for the 2017 season. We're calling it "BETA boots on the ground."
Matt Schmidt of Lake Placid was hired in mid-May as BETA's full-time "trail builder". Matt hit the ground running (we knew he would), and will work for 8 weeks. We also created two part-time positions with those roles being filled by Dusty Grant of Lake Placid and Devin James of Vermontville. The hours for the part-time crew will be spread out over the entire summer. Matt, Dusty and Devin have been involved with BETA as volunteers for years and are all experienced trail builders and tradesmen.
The crew is working alongside the Executive Director and volunteers, mostly in Wilmington on projects at the Flume and Hardy Road, as well as the new Quaker Mt. Trail connecting Wilmington to Hardy Road. Additionally, the crew will work on the new bike and ski trails under development on Scott's Cobble in North Elba, and will perform routine maintenance on the various trail networks under BETA's stewardship. Major work completed to date includes a new trail at the Flume connecting the Ridge and Marble Mountain trails, ongoing construction of the Quaker Mt. Trail and the Scott's Cobble trail network, construction of a large wetland bridge at Scott's Cobble, and corridor clearing for a new trail to connect Wilmington to the Flume (which will mostly be constructed by ADK and the Student Conservation Association trail crews).
The value of having paid trail crew support was immediately clear to everyone involved, and BETA will certainly look to sustain and expand this on an annual basis. The ongoing support of our members is crucial to the success of this effort. Thank you in advance for joining or renewing your membership this summer!
Help us complete the new connector trail between Wilmington and Hardy Rd. The Quaker Mt. Trail will be 1.5 miles of machine-built heaven for mountain biking and other non-motorized activities, located on the Wilmington Community Preserve, recently established by the Lake Placid Land Conservancy in partnership with private landowners, Barkeater Trails Alliance and the Town of Wilmington. Huge thanks to Drew Lavin from United Rental of Plattsburgh who donated a week-long excavator rental for the project. See the PDF download below for a conceptual map of the trail system.
Sunday, July 2
9:00am to 3:00pm
Meet at Quaker Mt. Rd, Wilmington. From Rt. 86 in Wilmington, turn onto Springfield Rd., look for the left turn onto Quaker Mt. Rd just past the Town Hall. Stay straight on Quaker Mt. Rd all the way to the top of hill, just past where it turns from pavement to gravel. Look for yellow trail work signs. Park on the left side of the road.
Volunteers will assist with finishing the tread construction with hand tools. Please come prepared for a day in the woods with sturdy footwear, appropriate clothing, food and water. Group ride at Hardy Road and BBQ to follow. See here for more details.