by Ed Lawrence, KTA Trail Care Coordinator
As it turned out, the adage “raining at 7, done by 11” was never more apt than on Saturday, May 12, when volunteers arrived at Hickory Run State Park for a Code Orange workday—apt, that is, if you substituted “pouring” for “raining” in the saying. Nonetheless, 7 hearty souls met at the appointed gathering spot, with their raincoats on and hoods up and discussing the weather as we waited, along with park Environmental Education Specialist John Slotterback, before heading out to improve the Orchard Loop and Hawk Falls Trails.
Hickory Run State Park comprises 16,000 acres on the ragged edge of the Poconos just off Interstate 80 in northern Carbon County. It has over 40 miles of hiking-only trails, most of which were originally created by the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Hawk Falls Trail leads past Hawk Falls, one of the park’s most popular destinations—a 25-foot cataract, eroded to a lower level by the glacial melt from a bygone era, where Hawk Run empties into Mud Run. The trail then connects to the Orchard Trail Loop, with its rhododendron tunnels and views of Mud Run.
There were several tasks that the KTA volunteers wished to accomplish. Sherry Ferguson and Chris Bartleson set out with loppers to redefine the sometimes shaggy trail corridor. Donna Thompson and Scott Kent grabbed the posthole digger, digging bar, new signs and posts, and headed to an intersection with a fishing trail that could cause hiker confusion. Tom Bastian and Catherine McLaughlin formed the chainsaw crew, outfitted with all needed safety equipment, to clear all the blowdowns and deadfalls from the trails. John Slotterback, of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Ed Lawrence—with fire rake and Pulaski in hand— went to cut in a short switchback trail that would replace a dangerous vertical descent over slippery rocks.
By the end of the day, new signage had been installed, the trail treadway and corridor had been cleared, and a benched section of switchbacks was ready for hikers to access. The 7 participants had put in 42 hours of productive and rain-free work. Kudos to them all. As we left the park that afternoon, sprinkles began to hit the windshield, and soon another deluge ensued.
Keystone Trails Association