Toast to the Appalachian Trail

June 21, 2019
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Toast to the Appalachian Trail
Bear Mountain Trails Project Grand Opening. Photo by Jennifer Zack.


Cheers to 3,000 volunteers, 1,300 steps, and 14 years of the Bear Mountain Trails Project!

The completion of the Bear Mountain Trails Project was momentous for the Trail Conference and all our project partners. The Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain was rebuilt with more than 1,300 granite steps from the bottom of the mountain to its summit—work completed over 14 years by more than 3,000 volunteers and Conservation Corps members. This remarkable accomplishment was recognized nationally as a 2019 Project of the Year by The Corps Network.

In honor of this achievement, we gathered the trail community on June 21 for a summer solstice hike and champagne toast to celebrate the most ambitious rehabilitation ever to take place on the Appalachian Trail. Along the hike, Corps members, volunteers, and staff who worked on the project shared stories about what it took to transform the A.T. at Bear from an eroded, washed-out, 10-footwide scar into a safe, sustainable footpath. This part of the Trail features the first mountaintop section of the Appalachian Trail that is ADA-compliant, as well as Trails for People, the first outdoor interpretive exhibit aimed at teaching park visitors how trails are made.

After the hike, participants enjoyed light refreshments and mingled with fellow trail lovers from an overlook above the Hudson River. The evening concluded with a champagne toast in honor of everyone who had a hand in this tremendous achievement.