Champlain Area Trails (CATS), an accredited land trust, hosted 15 volunteers from as far as Georgia, Virginia, and Illinois during the first week of October to improve trails at the SUNY Plattsburgh’s Twin Valley Outdoor Education Center in Essex/Lewis, New York. The volunteers participated through the American Hiking Society’s Volunteer Vacation program, which provides all-inclusive trips for volunteers to help maintain and build trails.
For many, this was their second or third time volunteering with CATS through the program. “The teamwork and fall colors of the Adirondacks keep bringing me back,” said Anthony Quinn, a volunteer from Vermont. “CATS’ mission to connect people with nature and promote recreation is inspiring.”
Since 2009, CATS has created 78 miles of trails, protected 983 acres of land, and hosted hundreds of hikes, outdoor education events, and volunteer activities. The organization attracts thousands of visitors each year to experience the natural beauty of the Champlain Valley.
“We are grateful for the dedication of volunteers who travel from near and far to help improve our trails and keep them safe, accessible, and enjoyable for all,” said Chris Maron, Executive Director at CATS. “Their work is instrumental in helping us achieve our mission of making trails, saving land, connecting people with nature, and promoting economic vitality in the Champlain Valley.”
The volunteers worked for a week at Twin Valleys, clearing brush, removing fallen branches, creating a new connector trail at Whipple Mountain, and beginning a trail going to a viewpoint on Payne Mountain. In addition to the trail work, the volunteers enjoyed the area’s scenic vistas, fall foliage, and outdoor recreational opportunities that CATS works to protect and promote access to.
“The Adirondacks in the fall are stunning,” said Dan Greenberg, a first-time volunteer from Raleigh, North Carolina. “Knowing I’m helping to maintain access to this natural beauty for others to enjoy makes the trip especially rewarding.”
CATS hosts volunteer activities, public hikes, outdoor education programs, and special events encouraging community members and visitors to enjoy the Champlain Valley’s forests, fields, and scenic vistas. Engaging their participation helps support its work to provide healthy outdoor recreation in the Champlain Valley. You can visit CATS’ calendar of events and support its mission of protecting land and making trails by visiting champlainareatrails.com.