Trees & Trails Committee

We are a crew of about 10 volunteers ranging in age from about 35 to 75 years of age. As the title implies, we plant & maintain trees in Pennypack Park. As you may know, there is little or no regeneration of native trees due to the excessively large deer herd. (they eat everything). This means as trees come down due to old age, wind, ice storms & desease, we are slowly losing the forest. So each year we plant as many ball and burlap trees the we can afford and have time to plant. We are not keeping up with the losses but we keep hoping that the deer herd can be reduced sometime in the future.

Our goal with the trails is to keep them open, to control erosian, to dry out wet areas & to improve them. When trees fall across the trails we cut & remove them. We construct water bars & dig ditches to control erosion. We spread crushed stone on wet areas of the trail to harden them & keep them dryer. With our tractor and Gator We regrade trails that have been erodded, or damaged. We sometimes construct a new trail to replace a worn out or poorly placed trail. We also pick up trash around the area we are working.

We remove tires, shopping carts and any other debres that has gotten into the creek We build rock walls, garden borders & benches. We maintain our chain saws, the tractor and the Gator. We attend training courses & syposiums on tree planting, wet lands, vernal pools, & controling invasive species.

Last year the tree & Trail Committee worked in excess of 1500 hours in the park.

Donations VIA the Reforestation Fund Tribute cards are a great way to help the committee plant more trees.

Trees & Trails Committee Report For Year 2000

Bob Haines, Chairman

This year again, has been very good for us. The Highlights of the year are: The completion of the new garage, The purchase of a new tractor, the purchase of a new Gator, & the acquiring of approximately 600 tons of good clay dirt. The new garage allows us to store all of our equipment & tools in one place, with room for a large work bench, that Alex is building for us. The new tractor is larger & more powerful than our old one, it is also safer & more comfortable. (We traded in the old tractor.) The addition of another Gator allows us to haul dirt & crushed stone to the work site much more efficiently. When reconstructing a trail, we now have two Gators relaying back & forth from the work site, to the site where the tractor is loading them. This gives the crew spreading the dirt or stones, a steady supply, without a long wait in between loads. The supply of dirt is what enables us to tackle the reconstruction of trails, that in the past have been a lost cause. Many of the difficult trails are so heavily eroded that large quantities of high clay content dirt are required to cover the rock exposed surface. Believe it or not, good Clay dirt is hard to come by, in large quantities. This supply came from Montgomery County, Abington Township, where they are undergoing an extensive sewer expansion program. The dirt came to us free, with free delivery. Last year we listed 8 trail sections that we considered beyond our ability. The first of many truck loads of dirt arrived in early march. Since that time we have reconstructed 4 of the 8 most difficult trail sections. Two Gators also give us more versatility. Allowing us to send small crews to two different sites.

We worked in or for the park on 125 different days last year. On any given day we may have as few as 2 workers or as many as 8. The average is 5. The total work hours was just over 2,000. About 300 of those were for purchasing, planting & protecting, 60 balled & burlaped trees, at a cost of well over $5,000. We are no where near keeping up with the number of trees that that are dying of old age or felled in storms. As you may recall, the natural regeneration of trees in the Pennypack is, to all practical purposes, non existent. The extreme over population of deer have been eating all of our young native trees & shrubs for many years. Until we can get the deer population under control, we are obligated to plant as many trees as we can, but it is a losing battle. We have continued our other usual work: Cleaning out water bars, installing new ones, cutting vines, removing Ailanthus trees, cutting & removing trees that fall across the dirt trails, installing drainage pipes, spreading crushed stone on wet trails, installing deer fencing, & etc.

In spite of sometimes asking Region 5 Park management for more assistance then they can provide, we have an excellent relationship with them. Our thanks to: Sam Curry, Charlie Patton & Paul Cleary. Thanks also for the continuing cooperation of the Pennypack Environmental Center People: Peter Kurtz, Will Taygan, Steve Barras, & Al Stinglersthlier. A warm thank you, to volunteer Coordinator, Jackie Olson, for all her good work.

The Trees & Trails committee, The most willing workers in Pennsylvainia: Hal. Phillips, Roland Williams, Jim Smyth, Walt Sawyer, Alex Mcgivern, Nancy Richardson, Chris Corcoran, Ray Jones, Dave Saxe & Bob Haines.

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