Trail Tramps Celebrate Completion of Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway
On a sunny, cool day in early spring, a group of Trail Conference staff and volunteers gathered together for a celebratory thru-hike on the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway (BPT) in New York’s Westchester County. The special occasion? Wrapping up years of significant trail improvements by the Trail Tramps, a volunteer trail crew for the Trail Conference.
Revival of the BPT, a 12-mile linear route from Ryder Road in Ossining to Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, has been underway since 2019 after hiker Mark Perreault walked the trail and saw the need for extensive revitalization. After approval from Westchester County, and generous funding from Mark, Trail Tramps crew leaders Connie Stern and Michael Pashley began plotting and engineering trail improvements.
After nearly four years of weekly work trips, the Trail Tramps embarked on the thru-hike as an opportunity to not only celebrate but reflect on their progress.
“We were reliving all the blowdown removal, the sawing of lumber, the fitting and nailing of bog bridges, and the mineral soil-intensive turnpiking we did along the way,” Trail Tramps volunteer Rose Bonanno noted. “But we could also see many tasks remaining, as weather and trail usage creates more problems.”
Up the rocky crags in Peekskill and down through the wetlands of Cortlandt, the hike progressed—as obvious trail improvements made the tread easy. Over the spectacular Croton Dam, round streams and rock walls, past piney woods, meadows and farms, the stalwart hikers marched on. Several members of the group departed about halfway through the hike, but six members completed the total 12.5 miles of trail.
Melissa Cascini, New York Program Coordinator for the Trail Conference, had joined the Trail Tramps on a very muddy day in 2021. “It was fun to see the results of all the hard work that went into making this trail so enjoyable,” she said after the hike. Peter Dolan, Trail Conference Trails Program Manager, admired the hard work of the volunteers: “Thanks for having me along and congratulations on a beautiful trail!”
Future plans for the BPT include signage installation, updating website information, creating a map, and continued trail maintenance by volunteers.
The Trail Tramps are Trail Conference volunteers who began their many trail construction and repair projects in 2012, starting with the Teatown Reservation and expanding to many other parks and preserves throughout Westchester County. Many original members continue to volunteer their time on the crew.
Thanks to Rose Bonanno, Fred Stern, and Martha Rabson who managed the logistics of planning rides for the half-way and full-length thru-hikers.
Hikers included: Paul Bissett*, Marilyn Blaho, Rose Bonanno*, Melissa Cascini, Antigone Darmanin, Peter Dolan, Stuart Faust, Bob Gurian, Michael Pashley*, Barry Poet*, Martha Rabson*, Fred Stern*.
Trail improvements and projects completed by the Trail Tramps and our other volunteer trail crews is only made possible through your support. Give back to the trails you love by making a donation or volunteering your time.