In 2017 public access to most of the Mianus River Gorge's landmark sites was lost due to a property dispute. The result of this closure resulted in a complete cut off to most of the preserves iconic sites including the Gorge Overlook, Havemeyer Falls (pictured above), and Bargh Reservoir. In order to regain access a new link via the Old Growth Forest trail must be constructed in very challenging terrain across a steep scree slope utilizing extensive sections of stone retaining walls and staircases. Once completed, access would be restored to the 10,000+ visitors the preserve sees every year.
Located in Bedford, NY, the Mianus River Gorge holds a special place in the world of conservation. Not only was it the first National Natural History Landmark in the United States, it was also the countries first private preserve established by the Nature Conservancy in 1953. Since then, the preserve has utilized its trail system not only as a means of outdoor recreation but also as part of its innovative research-based education programs for high school, undergraduate and graduate students. Our aim this year is to help restore access to many of the natural sites that make the preserve special for both its recreational and educational uses.
The trail relocation will consist of several teams of trail builders tackling individual sections of what will be 1,800 feet of new trail. Our section will consist of more than 620 square feet of stone retaining wall through 480 feet of steep, rocky and ecologically sensitive terrain.
"It's wonderful that the Jolly Rovers are able to come in and begin construction on our new section of the Old Growth Forest Trail" said Budd Veverka, Director of Land Management for the preserve. "This new trail runs through some delicate habitat within our preserve, and I know they will do a great job minimizing the impacts that come with constructing the new trail.”
Construction began on April 14th and is scheduled to be completed sometime in late November or early December with over 6,000 volunteer hours anticipated to complete the project. Stay tuned for more updates via our blog and social media as we traverse the gorge.