Mud and Roots and Rocks... Oh My!

It all comes down to managing water...

A fundraising campaign for Friends of Hammond Hill

As I write this, spring WAS coming, and then (like she so often does) reconsidered. Our winter sports folks got a bonus week to play, but that's ok because they certainly got cheated earlier this winter. Meanwhile, we all can be looking forward to warmer weather and planning this year's trail work... and making sure we have the funds to make it happen.

Friends of Hammond Hill VSA is sponsoring a Wilderness First Aid class April 29-30 at The Canaan Institute. Lunch will be provided. The training will be led by Dr. Todd Miner of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In other great news! Working closely with Region 7 DEC and Jeff Busche and Pam Gueldner of Cycle CNY, FoHH has identified close to three miles of additional trails that will be added to the Hammond Hill multi use trail network this spring. This will bring our total trail mileage to 29.96 miles, just a smidge under the maximum allowable 30 trail miles for our system. New trail markers will be going up this year, hopefully by late spring, and the map will be revised. These trails will be open to all trail users. A couple of the trails will need additional work to get them up to multi use standards. Volunteer manpower and dollars for materials will be necessary before these sections will be in good shape. We will be scheduling trail work days soon to address the necessary changes. 

However! We haven't finished up last year's Yellow 1 and Blue 1 project. We still need to install several drainage pipes to get water off the trail promptly, and fill in some root-y areas and mud pits. Mud, roots and rocks are nobody's friend, no matter what your sport is. Water is the common denominator for all three. Get water off the trail, and you prevent most of the erosion that results in mud pits and exposed roots and rocks.

Additionally! We're hoping to schedule a volunteer work day to fix up the bottom of Red 1 this year. Cycle CNY agrees that this is a project that deserves attention. Concerns about weight limits on Ganowtacherage road will restrict the size of the trucks we can use to move gravel nearer to the work site, but if we get enough volunteers willing to move the gravel in, we could manage a workaround here.  As there are protected lady slipper orchids along this stretch of trail, preventing trail creep is of extra importance here. 

As these are pretty ambitious plans, we are shooting to raise $10,000 in addition to the WFA funds. 

Welcome to Ernie Bayles who is joining the leadership of Friends of Hammond Hill VSA this year. Ernie is an avid hiker and mountain biker who also enjoys snoeshoeing, hunting, fishing and foraging. His thoughtful input on our trail system maintenance plans is greatly appreciated.

The Friends of Hammond Hill is very grateful to Charlie Mulligan, for his financial and technical support in helping us establish this platform. The Friends is also highly thankful to The Finger Lakes Runners Club for their help in acting as 501-C non-profit for this fundraiser and previous fundraisers. This allows your donations to be tax deductible. 

Hope to see you all out on the trails soon!
Friends of Hammond Hill VSA 

Mike Ludgate, Ann Leonard and Ernie Bayles




What's Going On Here?

October 26, 2023

Dear Friends and Supporters of Hammond Hill

Recently, the DEC did some work in our state forest to block motor vehicle access to our trail system. The resulting earthen berms, dirt piles and pits have caused quite a bit of consternation. I called Region 7 NYS DEC to express those concerns. On Friday morning, (10/20/23) our new forester, Travis Petit, joined me to walk some of the affected areas.

Unfortunately, the dirt piles and pits are a result of their supplier delivering the wrong sized stones. DEC ordered large boulders; what they got was an assortment of large and smaller stones. The problem with smaller stones is that an ATV can hook onto a smaller stone and pull it out of the way to access trails, hence the giant piles of dirt over top of these stones, and the deep pits behind them. The pits also have a purpose: they serve to deter access to ATVs after the dirt piles settle. I was told the dirt piles and pits must stay, although it woud be ok if we smoothed them (but not lower them) and seed them down to be more esthetically pleasing.

Because of the extra work involved due to the smaller stones, the work crew was running behind and the state was ordering them to hurry up, hence the less than wonderful mess left behind.

Access around the new gates for foot, bike and equine access will have to be addressed as well. This will require more discussion with the DEC and we will let people know what is decided.

Meanwhile the piles are too soft and wet to do a thing with, plus hunting season is here, so anything we decide to do will have to wait until spring once things dry up. 

NYS DEC work happened shortly after the most recent Friends of Hammond Hill project using donated funds, and the timing has caused some confusion as to who is responsible for what. The FoHH trail project involved the first section of Y1 from the parking lot to the intersection wth Y6, and a short section of B1. It added new water bars, new culverts and built up a couple of perennially wet areas. Our trail crew did a nice, neat job. I want to reassure everyone that their dollars were not involved in any way with the work DEC did shortly afterwards. 

Sincerely, Ann Leonard

Friends of Hammond Hill

Trail repairs to begin August 31

August 29, 2023

Dear Trail Enthusiasts

Trail repair will start Thursday August 31st with our trail crew stocking stone at various trail heads on Hammond Hill and Canaan Road. Starting September 1st, equipment and materials will be moved along Y1, Y3 and Y6 to the areas on Y1 and B1 to be repaired. Please be aware of this activity and take precautions to keep yourselves and our trail crew safe at all times.

It has been an extremely wet year! The work being done is all to get water off the trail surface as quickly as possible, preventing erosion and mud pits. Thanks to everyone who has donated and otherwise been a part of a very big year for Hammond Hill State Forest... adding new trails, dealing with tornado and high wind damage, and training people to be safer out in the woods. It has been incredible to be a part of this effort. None of this could have been achieved without each and every one of you pitching in. Happy Trails! Hope to see you out on them very soon. 

best wishes, Ann Mike and Ernie




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