How To Create A Great First Impression

Hammond Hill State Forest's main entry trail Yellow 1 is a mess! We're way overdue for a makeover.

A fundraising campaign for Friends of Hammond Hill

How often have you heard "you never have a second chance to make a first impression?" Those familiar with Hammond Hill State Forest know how the main entry trail, Yellow 1, has taken a beating over the years. In places, heavy rains have eroded the trail bed. Some areas have developed mud potholes; in others, roots have become exposed. As rough as this is in warm weather, winter sports have the additional challenge of dealing with areas of slush and ice.

Instead of waiting for our underfunded and understaffed DEC to address the needed repairs, Friends of Hammond Hill would like to invite our fellow trail enthusiasts to step up to the plate and take on this very important project.

Our first fundraiser last year through GiveGab was a resounding success, raising close to three thousand dollars more than our original goal. As a result, we were able to greatly improve three sections of very muddy trails.(** See note below) Yellow 1 (and Blue 1) is an even more ambitious project than last year. Due to the scope of the project as well as the dramatically increased cost of materials, it is also significantly more expensive. With everyone's help, however, it is also completely doable!

Outdoor recreation is one of the most rewarding and least costly ways to take care of our mental and physical health. Your support for these ongoing trail improvements is hugely appreciated by everyone who uses the trails. Please donate generously and encourage your friends, family and places of business to chip in as well.

**Footnote:  There have been some difficulties caused by excessively abrupt water bars that were installed on Yellow 5 last year. Friends of Hammond Hill is consulting with NYS DEC Region 7 to come up with a workable solution.

Visit for trail updates.

2022 trail work is complete

September 26, 2022

Dear Trail Enthusiasts... our trail repairs for 2022 are complete!! The first picture shows the upper portion of Y1 looking toward the Y6 intersection... the next picture is where the trail was eroded to a good 2 feet below grade. Quite a difference, eh? Pictures 3 and 4 are of the area just below the field, and the small open area near the warming hut (Hammond Hilton) We have some large stone piled by the trail kiosk left over from this project which can be used next year, ...just in case anyone was wondering what that pile was all about. It's not always easy to estimate quantities! Our trail crew ended up donating many extra hours of their time to make sure the work was completed, which is incredibly generous of them and hugely appreciated by everyone.

Some may notice that there are things that did NOT get done: repositioning/replacing of too small drainage pipes, and so on. These remain on the "to-do" list, but our funds reached just so far... which in fact was a lot further than I had even hoped they would. As it stands, Y1 is now a much safer entry trail, allowing room to safely pass in opposite directions, plus getting water off the trail early and often, which prevents premature deterioration of the trail bed, and hopefully will make ice less a problem in winter.

Pictures of the Y5 water bar modifications are not included, as the pictures I took don't show how vastly improved those are. One mountain biker wrote the DEC the day they were worked over, stating that the new drainage dips were easy to traverse, even on his cross bike. Other bikers who also ski commented that skiers should also find them easy to ski over. But don't take my word for it, come see for yourself.

thanks everyone! Hope to see you out on the trails this fall!
Ann and Mike

Trail work about to begin!

August 27, 2022

Dear fellow trail enthusiasts,

At long last, all the t's are crossed and the i's dotted, and we are about to get going on 2022's trail work in earnest. We raised a total of $8338.00 this year after platform fees were taken out. Awesome, everyone!!

Our contractor will be starting on or about the 9th of September, beginning with modifying the water bars on Y5 so that they are more gradual and easier to traverse with skis and bikes. He will then move over to Y1 where it intersects with Y6, and work downhill from there, repairing the trail bed and installing gentle swales that will direct water off the trail at regular intervals so that the surface has a better chance of staying put in future rains. He will proceed downhill on this section until our funds run out.

Next year, (all willing and the creeks don't rise,) we will pick up this project where we left off, until we get this entire section of Y1 repaired right down to the entrance to the trail system. 

While work is in progress, please consider taking alternate routes when recreating on Hammond Hill. Work will only be done Fridays through Sundays, as our contractor works for the Tompkins County DOT the rest of the week.

Once again, thank you all for your generous support of Hammond Hill trail system! To those who are getting duplicate messages on this subject, we apologize, we simply don't want to miss out informing everyone who donated this year. 

We hope to see you all out on the trails soon!
Ann and Mike

Last day of 2022 campaign

June 23, 2022

Dear trail folks,

We are on our final day of 2022's campaign to fix up Yellow 1 trail! 85 trail people and clubs have contributed $7556 towards this effort. Although we won't make our (very ambitious) goal this year, there is still time to assist in the purchase of gravel and machinery time... Every bit helps! If you haven't done so already, please do join us. We will repair as much of the trail as our dollars reach, and then next year continue on until we have the whole project completed.

Giving Day alone brought in $325 despite being a truly "last minute!" affair, so we will continue to utilize this venue in future years.

Additionally, now that Finger Lakes Runners Club and Friends of Hammond Hill have a official 501 (3) (c) working relationship, FoHH can (and will!) apply for grant money once we find grants that we actually qualify for. If anyone knows of one or more of these sorts of grants, please let Mike and Ann know as soon as possible, because grant applications take time to get right, and raising money for trails is just our side gig.

For those who remain concerned about the Yellow 5 hill water ditches, we now have a plan to get those modified to make them less severe after having consulted with the DEC regarding them. Depending on the cost, we might be able to hire our trail guy make the changes with his machinery, OR it could involve volunteers with pickaxes and shovels. We'll know more after consulting with the trail guy after the 4th July, when he's actually able to meet up with us. Additional funds will help with this effort!!

AGAIN! A HUGE Thank you!!! to everyone who loves our trails and has pitched in year after year to make these trails the best they can be!

Ann and Mike

We're FINALLY LIVE on Giving Is Gorges!

June 21, 2022

and apparently it wasn't my fault after all, as we just this morning received approval.

Here's the link!Giving is Gorges Friends of Hammond Hill

Please share with your friends! Thanks =) Ann

Not a job for an amateur, obviously...

June 20, 2022

OOPS!!! Something has not gone as intended. But the regular GiveGab donation is still available! (Can you tell I am not an expert at this? So sorry for all the extra emails)

2022 Yellow One repair campaign


June 8, 2022

Apparently to see any pictures, you will have to click on the "View Update" button. Phooey... Or maybe there's a trick to it that I haven't figured out yet!


7 days left... $800 raised today alone! Total $6121 toward this year's project

June 8, 2022

And boy what a day we've had! 10 generous people stepped up and donated $800 to our 2022 campaign in just the past 24 hours! That's two more truckloads of gravel! Many more yards of trail repaired!! YOU ARE ALL SO AWESOME!!! Thank you!!

Just a quick reminder picture of what a repaired trail looks like. This is Yellow 5, part of last year's repair. Previous to the repair, this bit of trail was a muddy, too wide, root wracked mess. Now look at it from between the perked up ears of my handsome little Morgan horse! (sorry, the pic's a little blurry, we were moving on down the trail at a nice clip!) These are the kind of trails your donations are putting together, and you should  be really proud of that. Kudos, folks!

I will be posting daily now, because the last week can get pretty exciting! Each day I will share something about Hammond Hill that perhaps you just didn't know. It's a pretty neat place to call home that's for sure!

A quick footnote: I am sharing these updates on BOTH this year's and last year's campaigns as I want to make sure we reach as many people as possible. Some of you lovely people will be getting duplicate notices because you have donated BOTH years. (Thank You Thank You Thank You!!) Don't feel you have to read both, just smile and delete the extra and bear with me for awhile. Note that I will report the daily amount raised and the total raised for THIS year's campaign ( don't get confused by last year's amount... I apologize that I am not computer literate enough to simplify things by merging mailing lists. I apologize. I'm 66, give me a break. I can drive a stick shift pickup truck and tractors are easy peesy, but computers give me the jim jams)

Keep up the good work! We'll see you out on the trails soon I hope!

Ann and Mike

Countdown is underway for 2022 Campaign!

June 7, 2022

Hi everybody

Wanted to alert everyone that we are at 9 days and counting to the end of 2022's campaign to fix up Yellow 1 entry trail. We had a very ambitious goal of 22,000 this year, and sadly we're not doing so well, currently at 26% of our goal this year. However, all is not lost! We still have 9 days to the end of our fundraising campaign this year, and there is still time for the "I'll get around to it soon" guys to get their Round Tuits in motion. These are our trails, folks, and every bit you can do to help fix trail surfaces is hugely appreciated by thousands of folks who come here to enjoy nature. Please consider donating again this year! 

What if we don't make goal? Well, all is not lost there, either. We will go as far as our collective funds get us! And then, next year, we do it again.This s an ongoing effort.

We also have a couple other ideas to raise funds as well. One is through Giving IS Gorges Day June 21 2022, which we just found out about, and the other is a Wilderness First Aid class with Todd Miner tentatively scheduled for April 29-20 2023 which we will host.

Hope to see you out on the trails soon! Ann and Mike

we're at 22% and 3 weeks from our deadline YIKES!!

May 27, 2022

Dear fellow trail enthusiasts!

Perhaps you've been wondering what's going on with this year's trail repair funding campaign. You are not the only one! Mike and I apologize for not being as chatty as last year, but WORK for both of us has been utterly overwhelming this year, and we're sneaking in our volunteer hours whenever we can manage.

Getting some questions about the repairs planned for this year too; maybe we can help a bit here to address those.

If we don't make goal, and we might not, it's not the end of the world!! Honestly, it's not. (Of course, we'd love to meet goal, please talk to your friends about donating too!) The $22,000 was what we were told it would take to do the whole of Y1 to the Y6 intersection, and a wee bit on B1 where the roots and mud pits are. We will repair as much trail as the money we raise allows. Then next year, we  raise some more. This is an ongoing effort to make our trail system the nicest anywhere. We know this requires ongoing effort!

Any new gravel will be hard packed just like the gravel on last year's improvements.

For anyone wondering if rerouting the trail was an option: it was discussed and quickly abandoned for several reasons 1) people would keep using the old trail, because, well, PEOPLE! 2) any new trail would be even more expensive than repairing the old one and 3) it's the same dirt. 6 inches of topsoil on top of fragipan. That's Hammond Hill. Any new trail would quickly deteriorate, and we're right back where we started.

And then the WHY it's so expensive. It's not just because fuel and gravel and labor costs have jumped, folks! The cost is far more this year because it is a MUCH TRICKIER AND LONGER section of trail. The trail design DEC's Tim Day made up is really excellent, and prioritizes getting water OFF the trail bed far more frequently using gentle swales in the trail which will be easy for tires and skies to traverse. This will greatly reduce erosion forces, preserving the trail bed for longer. There are of course other erosive forces... feet, hooves and tires all impact the trail surface over time. Great trails require constant attention as you know.

Hope this helps! Please talk to your trail buddies about pitching in on this year's campaign! Thanks SO SO much, and we hope to see you all out here enjoying the trails very soon!
Ann and Mike

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