Our first day on post-Sandy restoration duty at Cheesequake State Park began with a foggy morning. Dave Donnelly, park superintendent, met us bright and early, outfitted for the damp weather with bright yellow rubber boots. When we told him that two of our chainsaws were on the disabled list, his gracious response was to lend us a couple spares from Cheesequake’s own gear cache.
Thus fully-equipped, we set out for White Trail, a mountain bike path that runs parallel to Garden State Parkway. We’d been tasked with clearing it, which turned out to be a formidable project. It took all of us working together to safely set about sectioning up and removing a wild tangle of hanging limbs and fallen trees. The more experienced sawyers among us talked through dangerous and diﬃcult cuts with the less experienced members of our crew, and we finished the day a stronger, wiser team that when we started. All told on day one, after hours of hard labor, we managed to clear about a quarter mile of trail and make plans to reroute an additional portion the following day. There’s still a lot of work to be done at Cheesequake.
We gathered that evening with hearty appetites to feast on Chinese takeout and discuss our outlook for the remainder of our two-week crew. Feeling good about what we’d accomplished that day, we looked forward to finishing up at Cheesequake and heading to Hunterdon County to lend a hand (and chainsaw) where we could.