With a dedicated crew of 4 professional stewards and 23 volunteers, summit stewards have spoken to 24,738 hikers on the mountain tops this year so far! Summit stewards can be found teaching hikers how to stay on the rocks and off alpine plants on Marcy, Algonquin, Wright and Cascade during the summer. Now that it is fall, you can see stewards on those peaks on the weekends and during the weekdays you can catch them doing trail work and research on any one of New York’s 21 alpine summits.
This summer has been incredibly wet so the trails have taken a beating! When hikers walk off trail or go around mud puddles, erosion and vegetation damage occurs. Please do your part to help keep our trails looking great by hiking in the middle of the trail and walking straight through the mud.
|Scree Wall (ft.)||Brush (ft.)||Rock Pack (sq. ft.)||Caor Rocks Removed||Cairn Repair|
More trail work is scheduled for this fall on Algonquin, Colden, Cascade, Panther, Haystack, Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge.
Summit stewards participated in Vermont’s Center for Ecostudies Mountain Birdwatch. Mountain Birdwatch focuses on monitoring high elevation birds in the spruce/fir and alpine zone. This project looks at 10 bird species with a focus on the endangered Bicknell’s Thrush, as well as red squirrels and conifer cones. Summit stewards went up the north and south trails of Algonquin, Porter/Cascade, and Saddleback while stopping at specific points to listen to bird calls and map their locations. To see a distribution map of the data collected from this survey on Bicknell’s Thrush, visit here.
The Photopoint Monitoring project has continued to be a focus this year. Photos that were taken in 2015 were juxtaposed over photos taken in the 1960’s. Some of the 59 photopoints had to be retaken this year, which has been difficult due to the lack of sunny days. The analysis will be completed this fall to see if the alpine plants have been able to continue to recover despite the increase in visitor usage. This year also marks the tenth year of our participation in the AMC’s Mountain Watch phenology program.