This season has been challenging for the program. We all have had to make sacrifices for the safety of our neighbors and loved ones. I want to take a moment to thank you all for your patience, resilience and activism in these trying times. We’ve all had to adapt and make changes the past few months and the Summit Stewardship Program is no different. Due to budget constraints, we cut two seasonal positions and delayed the start of seasonal staff to June 18. This did not mean our commitment to this program dwindled. We altered the work plans of two of our full-time educators, and one seasonal staff member so that they had the ability to steward the peaks this summer. Thanks to this support we’ve been on the mountains since Memorial Day weekend.
I want to thank the education staff, our rock star crew and devoted volunteers who make it possible to accomplish an incredible amount of work up on our alpine summits. Furthermore, thank you for your support. Together we can continue to protect the mountains we call home. Here is a summary of the season so far through June.
With extended snow into June, the weather surprisingly turned hot and extremely dry. May and June saw a decrease in hikers with the pandemic still underway with parts of New York State still shutdown and the Canadian border closed. However, we’ve seen a transition back to being just as busy as last year for July. The chart highlights these usage summaries below. The average represents the average number of people contacted per day.
Botany and Research
Summit stewards are participating in three cross-organizational research projects this year to assess the current state of the alpine zone. These look at specific ecological aspects of alpine habitat—from pollinators to bird species—and offer valuable data sets when looking at larger issues such as climate change.
- Empire State Native Pollinator Survey (New York Natural Heritage Program)
- Northeast Alpine Flower Watch (Appalachian Mountain Club)
- Mountain Birdwatch (Vermont Center of Ecostudies)
Thanks to a highly motivated crew and dedicated volunteer coverage, we’ve been able to get a lot of work done. Trail maintenance has been performed on Marcy, Algonquin, Wright, Cascade, Colden, Gothics, Iroquois and Giant. We will again be working with ADK’s Professional Trail Crew to repair cairns on Haystack in August. Below is trail maintenance that we have completed through mid-July.
You can read the full report here.