When you have 60+ miles of hiking trails to tend to, maintenance requires collaboration and effort between multiple groups and organizations!
"There is so much to do in and around Oil Creek State Park," shares Jenn Ulmer, KTA Manager of Trail Maintenance and Training, "As you might imagine, historical displays and information on the oil boom abound – the Oil Creek Valley is the site of the world’s first commercial oil well. There’s the Drake Oil Well Museum near Titusville and the 36-mile Gerard Hiking Trail loop which encircles/travels the length of the park on both sides of Oil Creek!"
This year, KTA will be heading to Oil Creek State Park with excited volunteers to join David Hallman, Park Manager at Oil Creek State Park, for a trail maintenance event! You can join us June 20-23, 2024!
The park has a long historic tradition of trail maintenance, much like KTA (we're in our 40th year!). David shared with us about a long-time special group of volunteers:
"Oil Creek is home to over 60 miles of trails. Thirty-six of those miles make up the Gerard Trail which loops around the entire park. The Gerard Trail is popular for several reason. One being our Adirondack backpacking shelters that hikers can reserve and spend the night. The other reason people enjoy this trail is for its sheer beauty and history. As you hike through the park you will have the pleasure of seeing remnants from the historic oil days, but you will also see how Mother Nature can heal herself and return to her former beauty.
Maintaining such a trail system is a never-ending job and this is where our volunteer group the Over the Hill Gang comes in. For the past several decades the OTHG has done most of the work on this trail. They are a group made up of mostly “retired” gentlemen that meet every Wednesday to maintain this trail. They split up into groups and take a different section of trail to maintain. Work includes but is not limited to cutting fallen trees off the trail, fixing, building, and maintaining bridges, correcting drainage issues, blazing trail, and splitting firewood for our shelters.
These are truly some of the best maintained trails in the State and it is all due to their efforts.This group of dedicated volunteers completes a tremendous amount of work for the park. Their selfless efforts free up our staff to complete other projects throughout the park. Without their help there would be no way we could keep up with the maintenance demands of these trails."
Come to Oil Creek State park with us! You can join us June 20-23, 2024!
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Keystone Trails Association