A Tone for Projects to Come
This was the place that would set the tone for Jolly Rover projects to come. During the winter of 2012, volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference approached the Jolly Rovers to visit a long-time trouble spot on the Appalachian Trail called Fitzgerald Falls. After seeing it, we quickly adopted what would become our first truly ambitious undertaking for our then recently founded organization.
The project presented several major challenges. The first was that the native stone suitable for construction was over 200 feet away, the second was that the narrow width of the gorge provided little room for error let alone work. To move the 300-pound blocks of stone into the narrow drop zone an extensive network of zip lines was set up in the surrounding trees. These lines would allow the stones to be flown overs the obstacles and precisely into the narrow gorge below.
Beginning in April of 2012, over the course of four separate 3-day weekends, a 25 person crew volunteered just over 1,000 hours to complete the project in March of 2013. The impressive ascent up the falls tallied in at 60 stone steps with several sections supported by stone retaining walls. Also included are several large step stone crossings across the streams immediately below the falls.