by Ed Lawrence, Trail Care Chair
This was the third consecutive year that KTA volunteers gathered at Colton Point State Park, Tioga County, to work on the West Rim Trail. Their cumulative efforts have had a significant, positive effect on the hiking experience on this 30-mile trail spanning the edge of Pine Creek Gorge.
The May Trail Care drew 12 participants putting in over 100 hours of work. A lopping crew, consisting of Virginia and John Matthews, Daryl Warren, Henry Bonson, Catherine McLaughlin, and Woody Laudenslager, worked on clearing out sapling growth that was narrowing the corridor between the Refuge Trail access (mile 9) and the Ice Break Trail (mile 14). Special thanks to the Matthews, who attended the Trail Care 101 program earlier in the year and are a welcome addition to the KTA community of dedicated maintainers.
A second crew, consisting of Rick Stibgen, Tony Robbins, Tom Bastian, and Ed Lawrence, ran power brushwhackers, with Mike Sullivan and Mary Ladish following up with loppers. The crew also tackled a section of heavy laurel overgrowth on the trail section north of Bohen Run Falls (mile 26.5) and connected with where work had ended the previous year. This was a sweet, hard-won moment—3 years in the making—to finish clearing a 5-mile trail section overgrown with laurel.
The West Rim Trail was well used that weekend, and the backpackers and hikers passing through the KTA work zones had good words for the work being done. The next step will be for some of those backpackers and hikers to join the effort by attending an upcoming Trail Care event.