AT Ridge Runner program completes its 30th year

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

Our ridge runner this year was Maggie Gardner and she did a great job! Maggie and her husband Alex thru-hiked the trail in 2019. He was on track to being a ridge runner in 2020, but the pandemic interrupted those plans. He is currently employed as a botanist so could not now pursue ridge running, but Maggie, a nurse by profession, decided to take a break and to become a ridge runner for a season to give back and to reconnect with the trail experience that had been so important to both of them.

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

She seems to have succeeded in those goals while again rediscovering some of the solitude and the wilderness experience so intrinsic to the trail, while connecting with a variety of trail users. She also said that she learned through her involvement and work with volunteers from several maintaining clubs about the work that goes into preserving and protecting that experience for current and future users of the trail. She has now returned to South Carolina to be with her husband. She will be missed.

A ridge runner is a seasonal paid five day a week position to help educate users of the Appalachian Trail about Leave No Trace while helping to care for and protect the trail in partnership with the local maintaining clubs including our chapter.

Ridge runners have been deployed along many sections of the AT from Maine to Georgia in areas of higher impact and usage. A 42-mile section of trail above the Lehigh Valley included in this program may have increased usage due to its proximity to the population centers in Lehigh Valley, easy access from the New York and New Jersey areas, along with many road access points including the Delaware Water Gap.

This program has continued since 1992 with continuing grants from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, plus our chapter and trails volunteers working in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the trails staff of AMC.

The DV Chapter has been proud to continue supporting this program along with other trail clubs with volunteer time, work and with financial support.

article by, Bill Steinmetz

Pitch in and Help! DV Chapter takes over maintenance on additional 7 miles of AT

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Chapter trail work also includes building new trails at Nockamixon and Ringing Rocks parks

AMC’s Delaware Valley Chapter has taken over maintenance responsibilities for a seven mile section of the Appalachian Trail from Fox Gap (PA route 191) to the western end of the I-80 bridge across the Delaware River. This section was formerly maintained by the Wilmington Trail Club, that could no longer get sufficient volunteers to do the work.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), that oversees maintenance of the trail, may try to get another club to take on this section, but for the foreseeable future this us our chapter’s responsibility.

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photo credit: Lennie Steinmetz

Trails Chair Greg Bernet noted that some of this section goes through the village of Delaware Water Gap, PA, and some is on a dirt road, so that actual trail maintenance is less than six miles.

He also noted that the Kirkridge Shelter and privy are located on this section and will be our responsibility to maintain. The shelter is in good condition, but the privy needs repair or replacement

The DV Chapter’s Appalachian Trail Crew, headed by Dan Schwartz, has long done regular maintenance on our adopted 15-mile section of the famed hiking trail from Wind Gap south to Little Gap on the Northampton-Monroe county line. We also maintain and watch the Leroy Smith Shelter and privy on that section.

DV chapter is also involved in building a new trail at Nockamixon State Park, and in the spring will begin work on a new trail section at Ringing Rocks County Park, both in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We also do regular trail work at French Creek State Park.

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photo credit: Lennie Steinmetz

Trail Volunteers: many kinds, many skill levels. What is right for you?

  • Trail work involves manual labor from easy to strenuous, from pruning bushes and painting blazes to moving rocks and building steps. Tools and training are provided.
  • AT corridor monitors hike the edge of the AT’s designated land and report any intrusions such as illegal structures or tree cutting. They blaze the boundary and locate surveyor monuments.
  • Shelter watchers hike a few miles and periodically visit the shelters and privies to check on them. Several watchers take turns on a schedule.

Don‘t just hike the trails! Help! Volunteer for a day or for more

Contact trails@amcdv.org or check the activities calendar.

Come Join the Planning!

Group biking along the Lehigh Gorge

Phase 3 starts on June 12, 2021! More activities, more people.

Leaders, let’s connect with each other and have some fun. Discussions and planning for our in-person leader social and much more. Expect prizes and raffles during the Zoom event. Save the Date – June 8 (Tue) 7:30 PM

Vaccinate, if you can!

Next EC Meeting on Zoom: June 1 (Tue) 7:00 PM Discussion Topic: Reopening All the members are welcome.

Reminder: National Trails Day 2021: June 5 (Sat).

News from AMCDV Executive Committee (May 2021)

Greg Bernet presented with Pychowska trails award for third time

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Chapter Trails Chair Greg Bernet was the recipient of the Marian Pychowska Award for the third time by doing 158 hours of trail work during 2020, presented at AMC’s Annual Summit on January 23, There are 96 hours minimum required for award.

He is the leader of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards who have built new trails around Ringing Rocks County Park, in Veterans’ Park near Quakertown, and are currently scouting a new trail to be built in Nockamixon State Park. He also leads the New Jersey Highlands Trail Crew which does maintenance in Jenny Jump State Forest and the western section of The Highlands Trail.

Greg is AMC-DV’s Coordinator of the Appalachian Trail Boundary Monitors program for the Appalachian Trail Conference and National Park Service, as well as a monitor himself. He is also a member of our club’s AT maintenance crew and a certified sawyer, does solo maintenance on a section of the AT in N.J. at Culvers Gap in Stokes State Forest as well as on the Pahaquarry Trail on the backside of Mt. Tammany at Delaware Water Gap, and he is AMC-DV’s representative to the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.

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