Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Bear Mountain Steps

Trail Steps up Bear Mountain, originally uploaded by JiBryant.

The NY/NJ Trail Conference has finished the Appalachian Trail section of their Bear Mountain Project. Yea and thank you!

A good thing about Bear Mountain is that millions of people can get to it. A bad thing is that millions of people can get to it. So over the years, the trails have been rebuilt and relocated many times. By the 1990s, it was clear that the Bear Mountain section of the trail, used by a half-million people a year, needed to be rebuilt again. The solution, drawn up primarily by Mr. Walsh and another trail designer, Peter Jensen, was an impossibly ambitious series of steps and walkways supported by native stone.

It would last, one hoped, forever. It would keep neophytes on the trail instead of bounding out into the woods. It would work for urban hikers showing up in tennis shoes and flip-flops, as well as for serious long-haul hikers. And it would be a challenge to build.

That section has always had too much pressure.

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