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Stewards of Stewart update from the mailbag
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Bobg82



Joined: 03 Apr 2012
Posts: 44
Location: Red Hook, NY

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NP Christine!! I did go down early, met Tom and filled out the necessary paperwork. It was hard but worth it. And the Bike doctor guys gave me the course info for Sunday so I did ride some of those trails after too so that was good. The SOS crew do an outstanding job in that big patch woods. I love riding there, just wish it was closer to home. See you Sunday!
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Stay Upright my friends....
Bob
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Due to the heat and schedule conflicts, the month of August 2016 had no official work days scheduled. However, a few Stewards of Stewart volunteers removed several or more downed trees and trimmed back areas where overgrowth on some trails was becoming a problem.

DEC asked SOS for the number of sign posts and signs that SOS installed in Stewart forest. Before we share with you what we reported to DEC we ask you riders how many you count. Please no smart-ass responses like: “too many” or “too few”. You can go to our Face Book page with your response or send an email with your count. There is no prize for the winner but the winner has the option to be the leader/foreman/planner for our next work day.
See you in the forest and thank you.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What happened to 2016? Our last email stated August was too hot for volunteers to do a major work effort in Stewart. September weekends conflicted with personal schedules of volunteer leaders and to date October is experiencing the same situation. This is not to say that we are done for the year but maybe.

One challenge in planning work days is knowing how many volunteers will show up. Our past experience ranged from zero to 20 or was it 21? SOS has a limited number of tools for trail work. If more volunteers than tools or more volunteers than what is needed for the project show up then we could have a situation where someone might feel they are not needed and don’t show up on future work days. We want to avoid that situation.

One thought is to have a core of dedicated volunteers who are willing to work 3-4 hours on a monthly or every other month basis. This “hard core” group would receive a personal email and/or phone call rather than a mass mailing announcing the work day to all on the email database. Hopefully, this will result in us having the appropriate number of volunteers show up for the planned project.

Requesting a response to our announced work day schedule via our mass emailing to identify who will attend has not been 100% successful (and I’m sure it never will be 100%) in that we’ve had “no shows” as well as “more shows” but mostly no response.

Our mass mailings would continue on an irregular basis as they do now to share information with all those on our email database. We can increase the number of “hard core” committed volunteers to spread out the time commitment as new volunteers decide to get involved.

A terrific situation would be creating a core of retirees (2 or 3 or 4) who are willing to do a few hours of trail work during the week. Thus minor projects like clearing downed trees; trimming; topping off stone on those paths through mud wallows and picking up litter helps to keep the trails of Stewart looking great for everyone. The major work efforts that require those young, strong, never get tired volunteers will be scheduled for weekends.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions please let us know.

Thank you and hope to see you in the forest.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends of Stewart State Forest: Given the fact that a new 10 year Unit Management Plan (UMP) for Stewart is in the development stage and the DEC is requesting public input we thought an overview of trail building and maintenance may trigger ideas or suggestions from Stewart users. Please refer to previous email from DEC that outlines the UMP process and schedule. The trails at Stewart were not created with sustainability in mind. Think of what Stewart’s trails will look like in 5 or 10 years given the fact that many of them do not meet the criteria for sustainability as defined in the YouTube video link shown below. In response to a question of whether DEC would be supportive of participating in proposals to obtain grants for trail building a DEC spokesperson stated that: “You mountain bikers have too many trails now.” That is his opinion but other opinions are that the non-sustainable trails should be replaced with sustainable trails. The trails at Stewart are heavily used and as outdoor activities become increasingly popular the development of sustainable and additional trails should be a logical conclusion to more evenly disperse the impact on existing trails. Please check out the following video (or see it on our FB page) and think about whether you want to generate input for what you want to see implemented in the new ten year plan for Stewart. Thank you.
http://stewardsofstewart.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4a8644c204408a87472a3e920&id=1765ae2296&e=6cf3225b40
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends of Stewart State Forest: Two volunteers of Stewards of Stewart (SOS) removed five downed trees from the trails today: 1-just off New Road on the short trail section to Indecision, 2-from Middle Earth, 1-from Senior and 1-off the Meadow View trail. During this effort we met a new DEC Ranger who inspected all of our documents i.e. the DEC volunteer agreement, first-aid certification document, driver license and chainsaw training certificate. This just “goes-to-show-ya” that the DEC is serious about protecting Stewart.

When you are riding in Stewart please let us know location and if possible, a photo of other downed trees blocking the trails. SOS will soon be back into our work day routine and I’m sure all you volunteers are chomping at the bit to participate in the work efforts that are needed to maintain and protect the trails in Stewart. We will let you know of upcoming work days in our irregular emails sent to you via MailChimp, posted on our FaceBook page and website and in the meantime when riding there please spend some time to pick up the litter that is now obvious given the disappearance of snow cover. Thank you.


For those who ride in Highland Lakes State Park aka Camp O please be aware that a section of the park suffered a severe blowdown of trees that has blocked a portion of Camp Orange Road on the Route 211 side of the forest as well as the popular Chutes & Ladders plus Mustang Sally trails. We contacted the Palisades Park Department to inform them of the situation and offered them volunteer efforts to help clear the trails. We have not yet heard back from them – so those of you who have chainsaw certification/expertise stay tuned since you won’t believe the challenges facing us to clear the trails that will take days if not weeks to complete. Thank you.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends of Stewart State Forest: The past few days of very cold temps froze the ground and when the ground surface is exposed to the March sun the sun quickly softens the surface to create the dreaded freeze thaw situation producing surface “mud” that lays on top of icy earth thus ideal conditions to create ruts galore. Please keep this in mind as we advance into warmer daytime temps and please let the trails thaw out and firm up before riding. Too many tire ruts were observed today (3-5-17) and too many of them deep.
And please note that it was obvious that one or more motorcycles vandalized many trail sections by tearing up the earth especially on curves. It is most unfortunate that destroying the fun and enjoyment of other trail users is one of their by-products. So even if you ride as a responsible rider after Mother Nature firms up the earth be prepared to find many torn up sections of trails thanks to the motorcyclists.
Hope to see you on the forest when the trails are ready for us. Thank you.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ear Friends of Stewart State Forest: It is interesting that we see posts on our Face Book page that are supportive or at least not condemning of motorcycles having an impact in Stewart State Forest as they tear up trails creating their version of fun. Although the facts are that most of the single track trails in Stewart were constructed through the impact of motorcycles the current fact is motorcycles (motorized vehicles) are not allowed in SSF.

DEC was contacted for a phone number to call if you need to report a serious situation, dangerous or illegal activity (like a motorcyclist tearing up the trails) that require action from a DEC Ranger. The following number is a 24 hour dispatch that you may want to add to your cell phone: 518 408-5850. Please use the forest and this information responsibly. Thank you.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends of Stewart State Forest: It’s been some time since our last email to you so here is an update of the work done by Stewards of Stewart volunteers and events in Stewart State Forest that may be of interest to you: The concern at this moment is the number of motorcyclists that roam at will in the forest. A good number of new illegal trails were recently made by motorcycles as well as reports of many motorcycles riding in the forest. They inflicted substantial damage on popular trails by tearing up several inches of surface by their motor powered knobby tires. Too bad they are not into human powered biking. It is my opinion that these people are bored with the current DEC recognized trails and decided to create more trails that suit their desire. This is evidenced by observation of at least six new trails that were made by motorcycles plus at least two ribbon flagged trails that I assume are waiting for motorcycle riders to churn in a path. Some mountain bikers applaud this action however a number of mountain bikers deplore this action. DEC is the agency in charge of the forest and we shall see what their response is to this situation. For those who applaud this kind of activity: Enjoy the new trails; and for those who deplore this action - you lose. In conversation with a few seasoned bikers of Stewart they say that it is common knowledge of who is responsible for this. My “old school” values make it difficult for me to understand how some people can destroy the fun activities of many, for their own selfish thrills and not be bothered in the least when they are fully aware of what they are doing is against the law, rules and regulations. Perhaps they are willing to explain?
As for volunteer work in 2017 SOS volunteers to date cleared 14 downed trees and repaired the Windsor Bridge on Windsor Trail due to the damage done by a snowmobiler during the winter.
On Tuesday, 5/2/17, two Board Members of SOS met with Evan Masten who is the DEC person responsible for overseeing Stewart State Forest. We discussed possible work day projects and the role DEC might provide. Future emails will “talk” about work day projects – let us know your suggestions. Check out our Face Book page for more information or comments from others.
Thank you.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends of Stewart State Forest: On Saturday, 5/10/17 the DEC provided a training session that covered all aspects of the Volunteer Stewardship Agreement (VSA). The session was very good and very ambitious including:

An overview of Department rules, regulations and policies; goals and objectives for managing our natural resources; workman’s compensation coverage and how it relates to volunteers; user/volunteer ethics; communication with the general public and similar topics. Trail maintenance brushing/proper pruning techniques, use of saws/chainsaws for blow down removal, marking, water bar maintenance, re-routes, invasive species, use of stains/preservatives and other topics related to maintenance of DEC facilities on publicly owned lands. Safety, education, communication and reporting issues was also discussed.

The DEC hopes to offer future sessions on an annual or biannual basis.

When DEC representatives were asked about the presence of the many motorized dirt bikes riding in Stewart my understanding of the procedure is: A DEC Ranger must personally witness the violation; who can then issue a summons (ticket); that goes to a local justice where max fine is modest but the judge can use his/her discretion about the amount of the fine.

Perhaps the best hope for those who disapprove of the trail damage caused by the dirt bikers is to talk to them and ask them to please not tear up the DEC recognized trails and to pretty please not tear up the crushed stone pathways that volunteers spent many hours to construct through the mud wallows. We can only hope that some of them will accommodate our request. Do you think some dirt bikers will do volunteer trail work to help us repair the damage they cause for others?

June 4th is the fund raising bike tour for SPARC. Check out their website for information and we can use a few volunteers to help prepare the trails. Thank you.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week requires the preparation of Stewart’s trails for the fund raising tour for SPARC on June 4th. Please encourage riders to participate in the tour for the benefit of the role SPARC plays and has played in the history of Stewart Forest plus they will have a great time, great food and opportunity to meet many other riders. Check out the tour website: http://stewartstateforestbiketour.com/

This week the Stewards of Stewart welcome help in trimming the trails of vegetation overgrowth. Check out our Face Book page on our website http://stewardsofstewart.org/ to view the three tour courses. Using these maps along with good work gloves and clippers you can trim the problem vegetation. Please do not leave clippings on the trail and let us know those sections that need more effort than hand tools provide. When trimming the Multi-flora-rose it is best to cut them as far back as possible (base preferred) since they grow rapidly. Thank you and hope to see you at the tour.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The riders at the 2017 SPARC Tour beat the rain and had a great time, good food and comradery. During our trail preparation efforts it was noticed that someone decided to pull out two sign posts and switch them so that the trails were misnamed. If you know who did this, please let us know since we would like to contact them and ask if they want to become one of the volunteers who at their own expense purchase materials, spend time and labor to create and paint signs and dig post holes in very rocky/rooty soil. Just think if an emergency occurred on one of those trials and someone not familiar with the forest called a DEC Ranger or 911 to report assistance needed based on the switched sign. For those familiar with the forest or notice that the trail signs do not match the maps please let us know.

We plan to have our first weekend work day to construct a “burrito” through the mud wallow on Rock Wall near Giles Road (as well as re-plant the signs mentioned above). Stay tuned for the work day date that will be based on a good weather forecast.

In the meantime if you have a suggestion for a trail maintenance project please let us know. Thank you and hope to see you in the forest.
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GG
Veep


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 857
Location: new splatz

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We plan to have a work day on Saturday, June 24, 2017 from 09:00 to approximately 12:30. Meet at the DEC Weed Road Parking lot just off route 207. SOS will have tools, water and Gatorade available but please bring your own work gloves. Our target is to extend the “burrito path” on the Rock Wall Trail just off Giles Road.

Thank you and hope to see several of you on Saturday.
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