If you’ve climbed to the summit of Mt. Colden over the past decade you’ve probably experienced that the trail on the summit had become mostly comprised of boot sucking, Adirondack mud. What is different about this muddy Adirondack trail is that it traverses through New York’s rarest ecosystem, the alpine ecosystem, a fragile plant community that is only found on 16 of New York’s highest summits. To help protect this special natural resource, Adirondack Mountain Club with the support of The Adirondack Forty-Sixers and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has started a three year trail project on the summit of Mt. Colden.
According to Wes Lampman, ADK’s North Country Operations Director, ADK is starting this project, “first and foremost to protect the natural resource. Due to hikers trying to avoid large sections of standing water and mud, the trail has become wider with vegetation loss and soil erosion over the past few years. The bog bridges will provide a hardened surface for people to walk on and will allow the adjacent impacted areas to re-vegetate.”
Phase one of this project was completed this summer. ADK’s Professional Trail Crew installed over 270 feet of bog bridging and 17 feet of wooden steps/ladders on the summit. Phase two of this project will hopefully be completed next year with the installation of 50 feet of ladders and 400 feet of bog bridging between the summit and false summit. Phase three of the project, which will hopefully be completed in 2016, will include the installation of 290 feet of ladders from the summit towards Lake Colden. This is all in an effort to help minimize soil erosion and help protect the special ecosystem that is found on top of Mt. Colden.
The Adirondack Forty-Sixers have been an integral part in making this project happen. This year, they funded ADK’s Professional Trail Crew to install phase one of this project and will hopefully fund them in years to come. The materials for this project were donated by an anonymous donor and flown by helicopter to the work site by DEC.
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Photos by: Kayla White