SCA Restores Cross Country Trail at December ConSERVE NYC Event

Volunteers come together to build resiliency in the Bronx

The winter weather didn’t stop more than 90 volunteers from coming out to Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, December 7th, for SCA’s biggest ConSERVE NYC event so far.

Van Cortlandt Park’s famed Cross Country Trail (recently profiled in the NY Times) offers a beautiful three-mile course through the woods and hills of the Bronx. However, Sandy and other storms have taken their toll, eroding the gravel surface and creating treacherous dips and gullies. This weekend, SCA arrived on the scene to help repair erosion damage and make the trail more resilient.

Working in partnership with Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and the NYC Parks Department, SCA volunteers repaired 28 water bars that will help divert water off the trail in future storms. They also removed 2000 sq ft of invasive bittersweet, pulling out vines that were choking native vegetation along the trail. At the end of the day, the path was leveled, raked, and ready for action as weekend runners pounded by and waved their thanks.

Tina Walsh, an SCA alum and now Program Assistant at Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, was instrumental in organizing the project. “SCA holds a special place in my heart because that’s how I got my start in this field,” she said. “Now that I manage my own high school interns, I really want them to learn about SCA and explore all the different green job opportunities that are out there.”

Many volunteers enjoyed the chance to network while on the trail. “I had a lot of fun meeting other people who were volunteering,” said Eric Donnelly. “It’s a different crowd than I’m used to, which was great.” Others appreciated the chance to see a new part of the city. ”We really enjoyed SCA’s last service day at Riverside Park, and this project at Van Cortlandt Park was so different but also so great!” said Ruth Willner, who volunteers regularly with her son Sam. “We hope to be there again at the next one!”

Other volunteers just enjoyed the chance to spend a day in the woods within the bounds of New York City. “I loved working with a pick mattock for the first time!” said Amosh Neupane, a student from Bryant High School in Queens. “That’s something you don’t get to do every day.”

— Ann Pedtke, SCA Marketing Outreach Coordinator

See more photos from the December event.

As part of the ConSERVE NYC initiative, SCA will host public service events each month to engage the New York City community and build resiliency in public lands around New York Harbor. Stay tuned for details on the next event on Saturday, January 18th.