CAROGA - Rain dampened everything but the spirits of those in attendance at the National Trails Day event at the Glenn H. Harris Memorial Park on Saturday.
More than 80 people came, many helping clean up the trails in the foothills of the Adirondacks for the Adirondack Mountain Club's Foothills chapter's first Trails Day weekend. Saturday, the second day of the weekend, was the recognized National Trails Day that started in 1993, and many locals came out to show their appreciation for their piece of the Adirondacks.
"We're really about protecting this incredible landscape, which is the only thing we have in this area to attract any kind of commerce," said Deb Zack, development director for the ADK. "If we don't conserve and protect these environments, we're not going to have them, and then no one will come here."
The Durey Creek Band plays at the National Trails Day event at Caroga’s Glenn H. Harris Memorial Park on Saturday.
The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini
The volunteers, mainly consisting of local hikers who frequent the trails, helped the club pick up downed branches, divert rain water from the trails to prevent erosion and clipped trees that interfered with the six selected trails.
Dianne Kierpiec, Jen MacLauchlin and Kathy Schlotzhauer were among the volunteers who said they felt fortunate the annual celebration was hosted in the area this year.
"It's a way to volunteer and help our trails," said Kierpiec who worked on Kane Mountain's East Trail. "It's good for our area. It makes it much safer for the one-day hiker who wants to come out with their family."
One of those families was Steve and Cheryl McGrattan, who often visit Kane Mountain with their 5-year-old son. They felt obligated to help better a trail that has given them so much.
Cheryl, who is the marketing director for Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, said it was an easy choice volunteering for the event as it gives the feeling of getting outside and promoting wellness.
"There's a lot of brush," Steve said. "If you don't keep the main trails clean, then people use side trails and cause more erosion. It's nice to see a group of people get together and do something good for this area."
Musicians also withstood the rain as the Durey Creek Band began the melodies at noon. The Bentwood Rockers followed, and Chris Rohrs was the last performer.
The Foothills chapter presented the Canada Lake Store with a framed photograph of Kane Mountain's fire tower as a token for their hard work in restoring the tower. But the meaning of the day was never lost.
"The outdoors is one of our most tremendous resources," said ADK member Brenda Hammons. "There's so much out there and so much to enjoy."