Hunter Brook trail got some helping hands recently thanks to Westchester Land Trust volunteers.

“Our climate is changing, and our trails are feeling it,” WLT Communications Coordinator Zoraida Lopez-Diago said.

Due to climate change, storms have had a major impact of WLT trails and preserves, resulting in flooded and eroded trails, destroyed foot bridges and “mud season” that lasts longer. 

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Westchester Land Trust has brought in volunteers who will help care for 15 miles of trails year-round. This past year, they focused their efforts on helping the Hunter Brook Preserve in Yorktown and Hemlock Brook Preserve in Yorktown Heights.

“The way we approach our trails and the visitor experience is evolving - where we once could lay a simple boardwalk at ground level, we’re now increasing the height of our walkways and bridges, using stronger materials, and hardening with stone and rebar,”

Director of WLT Land Stewardship Brendan Murphy said. 

After a storm in October 2018, WLT and volunteers from the REI store in Yonkers, helped move a 16 foot bridge after it was mangled under rocks in water. They also relocated 100 feet of the trail to higher ground, along with re-labeling the trail indicators.

The Hunter Brook Preserve covers 45 acres of land along Hunter Brook Stream that leads into the Croton Preserve.

In 2012, the WLT launched a repair tree planting program for Hunter Brook Preserve.

So far, more than 100 trees and shrubs that thrive in wet environments have been planted in the brooks floodplain to help stabilize, mitigate storm and flood damage, improve water quality and enhance the habitat. 

“With renewed focus on safer and more resilient trails, and with Westchester Land Trust supporters and volunteers, their team looks forward to the challenge of whatever mother nature can throw at them,” Lopez-Diago said.

For those interested in volunteering, email Kristen at Kristen@westchesterlandtrust.org to learn more about WLT volunteer stewardship opportunities.