by Emily Enoch, SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps Member
It was a beautiful Monday morning as my fellow Student Conservation Association Hudson Valley AmeriCorps members and I made the trek to the Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Members were coming from as far north as Moreau Lake State Park (near the Adirondacks) and as far south as Jones Beach State Park on Long Island. I had come to Sam’s Point before to volunteer with bird surveys, so I was thrilled to return to this spot for our service project. We had gathered at what would be our home base for the next three days – us in a circle, cars in the background, and a spectacular view of Sam’s Point itself.
Sam’s Point has a rare population of ridgetop dwarf pitch pine barrens, supporting wildlife such as birds, fishers (small mammals related to weasels), and porcupines. In April 2016, a wildfire broke out in the area, and efforts are underway to study the resilience of this ecosystem. We were able to see more of the area by hiking up to the scenic overlook as well as to the super cool ice caves!
In our three days of service, two crews worked on erosion control devices on the Verkeerderkill Falls Footpath, and one crew worked on making water bars, trail structures that take the water off the trail. Another crew worked on building bog bridges, low wooden bridge structures that raise the trail out of the water or other sensitive area. The third crew was constructing invasive plant boot brush stations at various entrances around the park preserve.
While pulling knapweed for many hours at a time, SCA members were able to have some fun. We had started to play the game Murder on the Trail…