In the final blogpost in our series on Cass Gallagher. John Butler shares with us information about the Cass Gallagher Trail and upcoming projects that the Friends will complete to improve it for our park users.
Named after the amazing Bronxite Cass Gallagher, the nature trail found in the Northwest Forest winds through the hilliest sections of Van Cortlandt Park, hugging ridge lines while passing by vernal pools. This loop was once paved and since then continues to maintain this asphalt base. During large snow melts in the Spring and large heavy rains, the Cass Gallagher Trail will have water flowing straight down its hills. Our goal is to remove that water from the trail and place it into the nearby forests while continuing to keep this trail open and stimulating for parks users.
This upcoming Spring, the Friends alongside the Parks Department will assess where exactly on this trail adjustments can be made to divert water off of the trail and into the natural areas. From there our volunteer Trails Crew and Summer interns will address these future concerns. Since the trail is still asphalt, there is not much we could change about the trail itself. Small drainage swales and barriers to push the water off the trail as well can be built and deberming built up leaves and downed material alongside the trail will allow for water to escape the trail.
Another issue that has begun to be addressed and will continue is the amount of social paths that disperse from the Cass Gallagher Nature Trail. These are trails that have been created without assessing the environmental impact. There are many of them in the Northern sections of the park, and our trails crews will continue to close these paths as they are extra corridors for invasive species and disturb natural wildlife and plant habitat. Once dealt with, our next steps for the Cass Gallagher trail, and all trails, is to design and place directional signage at major intersections to assist with navigation in Van Cortlandt Park. Until then, continue to enjoy this beautiful path, and get out within the upcoming months to view the spring ephemerals that will be making their showy appearances soon alongside the trails of Van Cortlandt Park.