Our mission for the day in the New Lands was to explore the property boundaries of this land and clarify the points of interest. Using a Garmin GPS, we were able to create a track of where we walked and created way points of important places.
Walking through the New Lands, we saw many newts, large ferns, and boulders. We also saw ATV/Snowmobile trails, hunting stands, and old campsites. The New Lands has a steep ridge running through the property, which contrasts significantly with the overall flat layout of the North Woods. There are also large rocks that create outcrops in the New Lands, while the North Woods is not very rocky. There were also many patches of raspberry bushes in the New Lands! Exploring both the North Woods and the New Lands is very fun!
Throughout the rest of the summer I hope to continue to develop land use recommendations for the New Lands and explore and learn more about the New Lands and the North Woods!
Our first day was spent exploring the woods. As we walked the trails, we noted tasks that needed to get done such as clearing fallen down trees and marking particularly muddy spots to construct water blocks. Along the way, we discovered a lot of cute friends and some awesome mushrooms!
On our second day, Bob Jones, a former Skidmore economics professor and a local historian, gave us a tour of the woods. On this tour we learned a lot about the history of the woods. Some of my favorite facts from the tour are that the red and blue trails use to be carriage trails, which is why they are so wide and gravely; the water tower is so tall because it is necessary to create enough pressure to get water to the top floors of Jonsson Tower; and at the tallest point on the blue trail, when the leaves have fallen you can see the Green Mountains in Vermont 42 miles away!
The third day we dove right into one of our big tasks for the summer, invasive species removal. We spent the morning pulling garlic mustard from the red trail near the power lines. As we removed each plant, we used hand-held GPS devices to mark the location of each plant. Throughout the summer we will use this information to make an updated map of the invasive species in the North Woods.
We spent the fourth day doing trail maintenance. We deconstructed 3 campfires, picked up trash and removed fallen trees from the trails. In addition, we also laid tree branches down at a spot on the spirit trail, called corduroy, that gets particularly flooded during rain events to make the trail easier and safer to walk on when it’s wet.
It was rainy on the last day of the week, so we figured it was the perfect time to spend indoors in the GIS lab downloading the points we collected from our invasive species removal and brainstorming community events to host this summer in the woods.
It was such a great first week, I am excited to see what the rest of the summer holds! I hope to see you all in the woods and at some of our events this summer!
We kicked the summer off with an alumni tour where we got to meet a lot of former Skidmore students, from different walks of life and in different stages of their lives. It was a very enjoyable walk full of good company. Towards the middle of the summer we went downtown to hand out pesto samples we made at home using garlic mustard. It was great getting to meet some of the people we see in the woods so often, and you helped us a lot by filling out our survey. Our last event, and one of our favorites, was watching WALL-E outside the Tang. It was beautiful – but buggy – night out and it was great to unwind and watch a cute little robot follow his heart. We were so happy to see how many people showed up! Some other favorite events and moments were when we gave some folks at the library a tour, hosted a s’mores-making event, and recently led an activity-filled walk with Camp North Woods (a day camp for 4th-5th graders).
From the events, to the tours, and all the other work in between, it’s been a lovely summer and we have been very happy to share it with you. Cheers to another great summer, happy exploring!
Jingling and I have been walking through these new parcels identifying areas that need to be cleaned up, figuring out the most ideal spots for signage indicating the boundary lines, and understanding how to better encourage community members that visit this land to be more respectful of it. We have been taking apart some campsites, collecting litter, and enjoying the new landscape.
We have also been fortunate enough to go on several walks in these new lands with different people of varying aspects of expertise. On our walk with Drew Roginski, one of the lead members of Saratoga Mountain Bike Association (SMBA), we enjoyed getting to see and appreciate the impressive layout of their trails, some of best in the country, and very rigorous. They cross over onto our parcel from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land which the mountain bike trails are largely on. We enjoyed the all-around beauty of this parcel. On our walk with Kurt Smemo from Skidmore’s environmental department we were able see other parcels to the Northeast of campus. We learned about the wetlands and the flora and fauna that exist there. This parcel includes areas of large wetlands and very few trails, all of which are unmarked. On one of our walks we were even lucky enough to spot a deer munching leaves in the distant. We’ve also seen at least 50 red efts, one of my favorite critters in the area.
On campus the Skidmore Lands and Grounds Committee are the ones who are working towards creating more cohesive plans for land use and management. The group consists of faculty, staff and students that get together to discuss the future of these parcels and seek to collaborate with the Saratoga community. It’s very exciting to have these new lands, and more exciting still to consider how this land might be used in subsequent years.
A huge thanks to Robert Jones in the Economics Department. He is a history buff with a wealth of knowledge on the history of the North Woods and Saratoga Springs in general.
Be sure to check out Robert’s new book on the history of the North Woods and stay tuned for updates on tours and other information
Thec water pump in the creek by the Glenn Mitchell
One of the lamp posts, just bellow the steps of the dance pavilion
Hello world! We’re your 2017 summer stewards, Jingling and Yesenia. We’re very excited to be in the woods exploring, mapping, removing invasives, and giving tours. That’s just to name a few things that the stewards do. We also work on independent projects, laying the foundation for future stewards and other college planning, as well as continuing the legacy of research and mapping on invasive species like Garlic Mustard, Burning Bush and Japanese Barberry as well as mapping rare/protected species such as Green Violet, Wild Ginger and Ginseng and Goldenseal. With the hope that in so doing we can ensure that the North Woods continue to be maintained and more welcoming to visitors like you. This summer we will also begin exploring new lands the college has recently acquired, which we are very excited about.
Speaking of visitors, just this past weekend Skidmore College held its annual Alumni Weekend, and we were fortunate enough to be able to give a tour of the woods to diverse group of class years, from 1962 to 2012. It was great getting share a bit of our knowledge on the history of the woods with people who got to explore it during different stages. A ‘97 graduate recalled how the trails were to be used for mountain biking and as a result were a wreck, covered in mud and overly trafficked (one of those cycling competitions actually led to the current rule of foot traffic only). She recalls her time mountain biking through the woods fondly, but also recognized that there was a marked improvement in the state of the North Woods, something we continue to strive for.
Our tour was just a little over an hour. Walking through the red trail, we were able to explore centuries of history and learn about the many figures who shaped the North Woods into the beloved woods we have now. Mostly however, we loved seeing alum talk among themselves, laugh, and reminisce on their college years.
Cheers to another wonderful summer, and thank you for reading!
Yesenia and Sana]]>
This week, Yesenia is out of town so burning bush removal has slowed down a bit. However, there is a tour scheduled for this evening at 7 starting at the Falstaff’s kiosk. Learn about the historic blue trail and its rich history. Next week, we will be meeting with Camp Northwoods for some light hearted fun with little explorers and we will also be having a focus group for middle school students. The focus group will meet to talk about bike signage concerning the potential bike path that will extend from N Broadway to the middle school. Stay tuned for updates!
7/25/16: North Woods Tour 6:30-7 arrival time at Falstaff’s Kiosk
8/2/16: Middle School Focus Group (If you would like to participate please contact email@example.com, or Sana at firstname.lastname@example.org)
8/4/16: Camp Northwoods activities]]>
This Saturday from 10-12pm we will be working
with the Urban Forestry Council to remove some more Burning Bush from the Red/Blue trails. We will meet in the Falstaff’s parking lot, anyone is welcome to join! Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
With that I leave you with a picture of Sana holding up and some huge branches of Burning Bush that she clipped.