Starting on April, 30 the Dickie Barre area in Minnewaska State Park Preserve will be officially open to climbers. We have the Gunks Climbers Coalition to thank for working so hard at pooling their resources together and making this happen. In a relatively short period of time, they were able to build trails, roads get the area surveyed and all the other essential organizational stuff that comes along with opening up an area for climbing.
Below is a letter from Park Manager, Jorge Gomes, to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in Albany acknowledging the work of the GCC on the Dickie Barre carriage road.
I would like to take a moment to say how well this past weekend’s trail improvement project went. I am very impressed with the Gunks Climbing Coalition’s (GCC) ability to recruit and utilize volunteer labor from within their organization to accomplish such a substantial work project. They didn’t just sit back and complain about why things were not moving along faster with the climbing area expansion; they asked us what they could do to help and then showed up, in force, to do it.
At our spring 2012 meeting with the GCC, we explained what we needed to do before we could move forward with the master plan recommendation to expand the Peter’s Kill Climbing Area to include the Dicke Barre. They have since helped to complete all the necessary cliff surveys and will be preparing a report and maps of the Dicke Barre, which we will submit to the region and Albany.
GCC members have also helped us collect data to assess the existing baseline conditions of the area so long term monitoring will be more effective. Additionally, we requested the GCC’s help in improving access to the Dicke Barre Area, in case an emergency response is needed in the future. The Bull wheel trail to the Dicke Barre was once a service road, but over many years without regular maintenance, had reverted to more of a foot trail.
The GCC was able to get expert help from the Access Fund, which sent two paid staff members to provide some trail building expertise. The GCC also recruited volunteers, with much success, from the New Paltz Climbing Co-op and other climbers. The bulk of the work was completed this past weekend with 23 volunteers working a 6 hour day on Saturday and 17 volunteers working a 3.5 hour day on Sunday. We asked that the trail be repaired to a standard that would be passable for an ATV/UTV and they definitely exceeded that expectation. In total, the GCC put in well over 200 volunteer hours to repair this trail!
Having previous experience in parks where user groups have felt that complaining loudly and publicly is the only way to bring attention to their particular issues and demands, it is refreshing to work with groups like the GCC. On top of all the sweat equity they have invested, the GCC has also donated a rescue litter and accessories costing over $1500.00. This group really put their money and muscle where their mouth was, and I am truly looking forward to working with them in the future.