by Jenn Ulmer, KTA Trail Care Leader
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign! There seemed to be a theme for the first KTA Trail Care weekend of 2018. We arrived at base camp (the Pump Station Fire Tower site, along the Ruth Will Ski Trail) to spy a bevy of shiny new trail signs. These were to be installed at trail intersections that currently lacked signs and to replace badly weathered signs. We had a fantastic Friday turnout of 8 eager workers. Tiadaghton State Forester Ben Sands had thoroughly scouted the approximately 43.5-mile trail, marking sections needing the most work, and we prioritized tasks. On Friday, we split into 2 crews: one went brushcutting, clearing and lopping; another set out installing some trail signs. After a couple of snafus with both crews, we eventually got the right equipment and manpower to the correct spots and ended Friday with a cleared trail and 6 signs “planted.”
Even more volunteers showed up Saturday, so we had 2 crews clearing a section of the trail along Young Womans Creek at County Line Branch, from both directions, and a separate signage crew. The signage crew plugged away at some of the harder-to-get-to, far-flung locations and installed another 4 signs and another sign on Sunday, bringing the grand total to 11 signs for the weekend. That’s awesome! The brushcutting crew finished their segment and started on another to the northeast, along Chestnut Ridge. Soon it was time to call it quits for the day; the crews returned to camp and headed out for a hearty supper at the nearby Black Forest Inn. After a rousing campfire and some scattered showers, we went to sleep, serenaded by a coyote and owl.
On Sunday, some volunteers headed back to Chestnut Ridge, while another crew started at the top of the Naval Run Trail. Despite some spotty rain showers, we made good headway. The second crew was treated to some seldom-seen Trail Care magic—upon our return to the vehicle, we found some refreshing beverages left for us by a local appreciative camp owner.
Thank you so much to all those who came from near and far (Pittsburgh! Reading! Baltimore!) to work for 1 or all 2 days: Ryan Adams, Tom Bastian, Henry Bonson, Martyann Gutierrez, Joanne Heimer, Woody Loudenslager, Ed Lawrence, Tony Metzger, Mary Pitzer, Jeff Raisch, Jake Richards, Tony Robbins, Rick Stibgen, Michael Sullivan, Wanda Shirk, Donna Thompson, and Daryl Warren. We hope you found the trail work as rewarding, and the camaraderie as engaging, as we do and come back soon! In fact, we hope to see you all (and more) return to continue improving the Black Forest Trail—and possibly the Golden Eagle and Bob Webber Trails, too—in 2018!
Some backpackers encountered while working on the trail.