The Keleher Preserve, MHLC’s largest nature preserve, is comprised of 447 forested acres along the Helderberg Escarpment. Here, trails weave up and down Wolf Hill through hemlock cathedrals, swaying pines, and sandy patches of low-bush blueberry.
With the help of intrepid MHLC volunteers, these winding paths now feature directional signposts at each trail junction!
So: How did we go about installing these heavy cedar signs across six miles of back-country trail?
In late February, our small work crew met at the parking lot and readied ourselves for a day of hiking, building, tools, sweat, and fun. We headed across the rolling terrain of the preserve, pulling behind us a garden cart, piled high with shovels and lumber. The posts are easier to transport without the signs attached, so we also toted a plastic red toboggan which carried the thirty directional signs to be assembled on-site. Once we arrived at each juncture, we dug post holes through rocky soil, drilled and fastened the individual signs onto the posts, and tamped down gravel and mud to secure the new sign.
In other words: We teamed up with great volunteers, got creative, and got a workout! Here’s what one of our new volunteers, Bob Frederick, had to say about this inventive form of exercise:
“If you’re someone who likes a challenge and enjoys introducing movement to new muscle groups in your body, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy has the answer: six hours of fun in one of the Conservancy’s 18 public preserves. Yeah, you can go to a gym and work out for an hour in a typical boot camp class, but as Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator Sawyer Cresap says, ‘why not get your whole week of heart pumping, muscle cramping, and heavy breathing done in one fun-filled day of volunteer service?’”
After this recent “Keleher Boot Camp,” Bob wrote: “Every muscle in my body aches at the moment, but I’m so glad Sawyer led us through each obstacle and celebrated every stage we completed. Her positive attitude and can-do spirit made me and the other boot camp volunteer dedicated to the end goal – installation of new trail sign posts without injury and receiving a total body workout in nature.”
We invite all gym rats, weekend warriors, and anybody in between to test your endurance, mental focus, and competitive spirit by signing up to be invited to the next “Volunteer Boot Camp.”
You never know… it could be the start of a new fitness craze!
If you’re interested in joining us as a volunteer, visit our Volunteer webpage and fill out an online form. We can’t wait to meet you!
Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator