SCA ConSERVE NYC Volunteers Restore Bike Paths on Jamaica Bay
Managed by the National Park Service since 1972, Floyd Bennett Field is a historic park space encompassing a campground, a community garden, and numerous trails along Jamaica Bay. Along Flatbush Avenue, the park manages two miles of bike path that offer joggers and cyclists a scenic pathway along Jamaica Bay and a popular route out to beaches in the Rockaways.
However, since Superstorm Sandy, invasive bittersweet vine had moved in along the bike path, devouring fences, choking out native vegetation, and cutting off views to the street and the bay. ConSERVE NYC volunteers hit the trail on Saturday to cut invasive vines from the fences, clear fallen logs and debris, and improve the safety and beauty of the bike path for hundreds of daily visitors.
Heading up the projects were members of SCA’s Conservation Leadership Corps, SCA’s Hudson Valley Corps, and SCA’s YAIP intern crew. Participants also included volunteers from William C. Bryant High School in Queens, Park East High School in Harlem, IS 308, YMCA YHLI, Global Kids, Millennium Development, Boy Scouts Troop 333, and the National Parks Conservation Association.
One family traveled all the way from the Bronx to participate. “We were out at Van Cortlandt Park last month and saw your group doing a project for Earth Day,” said Jeff Fallon, volunteering with his wife Lisa, 11-year-old son Sean, and 8-year-old daughter Isabella. “Then we found you online and decided to check out the next event. The kids love getting out here!”
After removing 60 cubic yards (or two dumpsters full) of invasives and debris, leaving fences clear and vistas open, volunteers headed back to the Ryan Visitor Center to enjoy lunch generously donated by Ray’s Pizza in Manhattan. Keith White, Volunteer Coordinator at Gateway National Recreation Area, thanked volunteers for their efforts: “Before your work today, people could hardly see the bike trail. Now cyclists and other park visitors can feel safe out there as they enjoy the beauty of Jamaica Bay.”