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December 20, 2019

Jolly Rovers undertake reconstruction of stone staircase to Sam’s Point

By Erin Quinn on

There are the trails, and then there are the trailblazers. There are the views and the vistas, and then there are the steps that lead us there...


Currently, they are attempting their most ambitious project to date: the restoration of the Lenape Steps, a dramatic 100-stone-step pathway that once took visitors to the panoramic summit of Sam’s Point, the highest elevation in the Shawangunk Ridge. “I didn’t realize that there had been a staircase there,” said Ingui, who was walking the grounds of the Sam’s Point Preserve.

The Future of Trails: Volunteers

By Taylor Goodrich, Communication and Media Specialist, American Trails (2019)

Outdoor recreation is an $887 billion industry that is, in many ways, built on the backs of volunteers.

The logic of this is simple: almost all outdoor recreation activities involve trails in some capacity, and trails are possible because of an army of volunteers.

These dedicated individuals work enthusiastically alongside land managers and trail-building professionals, to build and maintain pathways of all kinds. It is no wonder, given these facts, that we are increasingly seeing innovative volunteer-based programs all over the country, investing in creating a well- trained volunteer force for trails and outdoor spaces.

One such organization is the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew, based in New York...

45 Jolly Rover volunteers; Over 7,000 hours of service at a value of $200,000

May 08, 2019

Ellenville Ice Caves Trail - Sam's Point

PIPC blog post: rehabilitating a large stone staircase inside a chasm

The Jolly Rovers Trail Crew has worked extensively in PIPC parks including Minnewaska State Park Preserve. In 2016, the Rovers worked on the Ellenville Ice Caves Trail in Sam's Point Preserve to rehabilitate a large stone staircase. In partnership with the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the Rovers provided safe and visually inspiring access through a difficult portion of the historic ice caves. This newly rehabilitated staircase will not only improve sustainable access but the overall experience for the tens of thousands of visitors that frequent the site annually. 

Improving trail access at Mohonk Preserve

The Daily Freeman, August 16, 2017

The Jolly Rovers Trail Crew partnered with the Mohonk Preserve and its volunteers to improve trail access from the preserve’s Visitor Center and parking area to its internationally renowned climbing cliffs, the Trapps.

20 steps set, 6 Rover volunteer days

Mohonk Preserve - New York

American Hiking Society; 2017 National Trails Fund Grant

A Jolly Rovers team led by co-founder and crew leader Artie Hidalgo-Espinosa trained and worked with the Mohonk Preserve’s staff, volunteering over 25 days to replace current steps with new steps that would meet higher standards and be more durable over the long term. MP’s volunteer “Trail Builders” regularly develop climber ascent trails, but can only shape stone rather than cutting it. The training they received from the Jolly Rovers gave them experience with stone cutting technique and practice, the principles of stone step layout and design, techniques for moving large stones and setting gargoyles. Following the project, MP staff and volunteers plan to use this training to develop and improve ascent trails throughout the Preserve for the benefit of many thousands of hikers and climbers annually.

25 volunteer days, 11 staff and volunteers trained

October 01, 2016

Stony Kill Falls – Minnewaska State Park Preserve

American Hiking feature

In 2016 and 2017, the Jolly Rovers embarked upon one of their most innovative and challenging projects yet: construction of a 35-step stone staircase leading to a stone paved viewing platform overlooking Stony Kill Falls. The project involved reworking many large stones in situ, and getting creative in designing around challenging pinch points and curves. The project was completed in partnership with Tahawus Trails, LLC, which completed other sections of the new trail leading to and above the falls.

Chris Ingui, Executive Director and Founding Member of The Jolly Rovers states: “To accomplish this, our volunteers donated 3,000 work hours over the course of 30 days through the Fall of 2016 through the Fall of 2017. The stone was all native Shawangunk conglomerate and was split and shaped onsite and flown into place via overhead zip lines that we rigged into the surrounding trees.”

35 steps, 2,500 hours, 5 paved landings

September 30, 2014

Building Sustainable Trails in Vermont

Focusing our craft and training the next generation of trail stewards

The Jolly Rovers came to Vermont to help teach construction of sustainable trails in tricky locations. In a collaboration between the USFS, Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA), the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), and the Middlebury Bike Club. Some major steps were taken to further the working relationships between these groups - watch this short video to learn more!

The Rainbow Falls Staircase Minnewaska State Park, NY

Project Completed in 2014

At the base of some of the most famed cliffs in the Shawangunk Mountains, the descent to Rainbow Falls was once a muddy hillside with constant seeping from the watershed above. It is now sustainable, dry and revegetating beautifully. Between 2012 and 2015, the Rovers spent over 5,000 hours completing several stone culverts and stone paved swales and installing 78 stone steps. This project tested the crew's skills in water management. Watch to learn more!

78 stone steps, 30 Rover volunteers, 15+ days

April 01, 2012

Appalachian Trail, Greenwood Lake, NY

Moving 300-pound blocks of stone....

During the winter of 2012, volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference approached the Jolly Rovers to assist with work on the Appalachian Trail at Fitzgerald Falls in Greenwood Lake, NY. After a series of scouting trips the Rovers eagerly adopted the project; it turned out to be the crew's most ambitious undertaking since the crew had launched a year earlier in 2011. Watch to learn more!

60 stone steps, 25 Rover volunteers, 1300 hours

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