The warm and sunny weather of May 3rd welcomed multitudes of volunteers to Van Cortlandt Park. One of these volunteer crews, consisting of students from John Jay College as well as Lehman College, teamed up with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and their hard-working Trails Crew to close a desire path running perpendicular between two of the main trails. These paths can cause erosion issues when rain runs off these trails and create a more fragmented forest affecting forest interior plant and wildlife species.
The work that needed to be done to close the trail consisted of raking the tread to loosen the soil for plantings, and then covering the trail with leaf matter and woody debris to camouflage the area. A few check dams were also installed using downed logs from the site to catch sedimentation as the water runs down the former path. The group ended up planting nearly 50 trees and shrubs along this trail as well as a variety of herbaceous plants.
In the end the trail that once was can now barely be seen by an unknowing eye. Only time will tell but the group is hopeful that the planted trees, shrubs and herbs will grow and add to the health of the forest in Van Cortlandt Park and the reduced amount of trails will result in a more positive hiking experience. The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park is always looking for willing volunteers to lend a hand. If interested in future volunteering events in the Park please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-601-1553.
By John Butler, Friends of VCP’s Trails Project Manager