From the Field: Raquette Falls Waterway Work Trip, New York

By Audrey Burns, NFCT Intern

Audrey adding just a little more rock.

The 6-mile afternoon paddle upstream to the work site at the falls clued me in to the rhythm of the week – a lot of work, but with the people and place to make it more than worthwhile.  On the menu for this project: a 30 foot bridge and a rock retainer wall on which to widen part of the portage trail around exposed bedrock in the Trail that had been known to be a tricky traverse.

A much better walk than before.

I elected to be the intern guinea pig this year and lead the crew and the first volunteers into the NFCT Waterway Work Trip abyss.  After graduating from the University of Vermont this spring, I’ll admit that I had begun to “check out”.  I might even have finished checking out this week, but my responsibilities for the work at hand were numerous! We had 5 volunteers come out from Friday to Sunday, many meals to prepare and shop for, and NFCT standards to uphold.  My fellow interns Katelyn, Danny, Renzo and Noah were up to the challenge as we teamed up with Gary, our favorite NYDEC Caretaker, who was ridiculously hospitable and helpful, to eventually complete the projects with our enthusiastic and wonderful volunteers Kathy, Brian, Bill, Ray (and Ray’s friends, Dave and Jay) and Shell. The rock wall saw more of our blood, sweat, and repressed tears than the bridge, and I was worried we wouldn’t finish in time!  Luckily, rocks are growing on me, just as Noah told me they would.

The skeleton of the bridge.

I was so grateful to have met everyone involved in the project, and to share so many stories and laughs! In the end, I was surprised at how sad I was to leave the site and the inspiring people I met (by courtney).  A big, rock-wall sized thanks to everyone who helped us pull it off and for those who gave the crew so much appreciation. The NFCT loves you!

Happy people on a sturdy retainer wall.

We are on our way to our next project now, and I can’t wait to meet the next batch of people who come out to see us! (Only because I won’t have to the the paperwork this time.)


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