Student Crews Take to Backcountry


This year marks the 20th field season for backcountry trail work by Student Conservation Association crews in the Adirondack Park.

Managed in cooperation with Americorps here, 18 crew members have set to work in remote backcountry areas.

They began by cutting new mountain bike trail and will go on to build timber bridges and accessible fishing piers, working all over, from Marcy Dam in the High Peaks to Essex Chain Lakes projects near Newcomb.

The work is funded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Lands and Forests with Environmental Protection Fund monies.

Jeremy Burns is manager of the SCA Adirondack Program based at headquarters in the Whitney Wilderness, near Long Lake.

Project work began in late May with a busy schedule that extends into October.

“They complete a month of training followed by our field season, working in five or 10 day hitches, which is what we call a project. We do 10 hitches throughout the season.”

The 18 folks are split into three teams of six, Burns said.

Openings for SCA slots are posted around the holidays, Burns said, and by spring the rosters are full.

“It does fill up pretty quickly,” Burns said. “We are doing a winter corps in the Adirondacks this year.”

DEC says SCA crews are important to trail maintenance in the park.

“The program has been wildly successful from all aspects and has resulted in significant amounts of new or improved outdoor recreation infrastructure,” DEC Region 5 Spokesman David Winchell said. “The efforts have increased access, improved visitors experience, and protected the natural resources of the Adirondacks.”

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Student Conservation Association