Alley Cat Crews work on major trail construction projects. These projects may require months of advanced planning and preparation and the projects themselves may take from several days to a week. They involve construction of trail infrastructure such as lean-tos and bridges, and major trail building or rerouting.  Crews are organized by the FLTC’s Director of Crews & Construction. Projects are done with assistance and local coordination provided by the Trail Sponsoring organization or individual.

Although Alley Cat is named from “Allegany to the Catskills,” Alley Cat crews work on branch trails, too.

Alley Cat Projects for 2020

Check this page often since details will be posted as they become available.

May 16-20 – Kanakadea Lean-to’s

Project Manager and Construction Manager:  Mike Ogden

The Kanakadea lean-to which was on a side trail until recently, was reunited with the Finger Lakes Trail. The existing lean-to has seen its better days and will be deconstructed and a new lean-to will be built nearby. Lodging and food will be provided for all volunteers. Volunteers who will be travelling from afar are asked to arrive on Saturday, May 16 th . Work on both lean-tos’ will commence on Sunday, May 17 at 8:00am. Volunteers are asked to contact Mike Ogden at: [email protected] to volunteer.

June 20-22 – Hesse Lean-to Repair

Project Manager Peter Wybron, Construction Manager:  Kenny Fellers

In the spring of 2019, a tree fell on the Hesse lean-to collapsing the structure. To our good fortune, the new metal roof only sustained minor damage, but the sides of the lean-to suffered significant damage. This project will be to take the roof off the lean-to, rebuild the sides and replace some wood on other parts of the structure in addition to installing a new privy, fire ring and puncheon. Lodging and food will be provided to all volunteers. Volunteers are asked to contact Peter Wybron at: [email protected]

June 21-27 – Letchworth State Park

Project Manager and Construction Manager:  Mike Schlicht

This project will be a multi-function Alley Cat involving several groups and organizations that utilize the FLTC Letchworth Branch trail. We were able to secure an American Hiking Society crew to help us in this endeavor, but the amount of work to be done exceeds what we can do without assistance from other stakeholders. The key part of the project if approved by the park will be to reroute the trail away from the section that is currently sloughing off into the gorge. A plan has been developed that will involve using an existing bridge to transfer part of the branch trail to the other side of the park as it meanders towards Portageville, NY. Other parts of the project involve improving the current trail by creating various forms of drainages to remove muddy areas.

The Letchworth Conference Center has lodging but it is primarily for the American Hiking Society Crew. There is some availability of lodging in the basement if volunteers bring their own cots, air mattresses and sleeping bags. Food will be provided to all volunteers regardless of the organizations they represent. This project is running concurrently with the Hesse lean-to Alley Cat and they will also be eating at the conference center. If you would like to volunteer for this project, it is imperative you contact the project manager so your participation can be recognized as we have to plan for the amount of food needed for the event.

We will also need volunteers to be crew leaders of the various groups participating in the Alley Cat and the tasks they will undertake. Mike’s primary responsibility is to the American Hiking Society crew. The North Country Trail Association is hosting a crew leader training prior to this event and more information will be forthcoming on when and where it will be held. Volunteers are asked to contact Mike Schlicht at: [email protected]

South Bradford State Forest Switchbacks

Project Manager: TBA, Construction Manager: TBA

Lodging will be provided at a nearby Airbnb! This Alley Cat has had several challenges that have delayed its inception to start and complete the work necessary. One change we have made to it is to host volunteers in a nearby Airbnb. Building switchbacks is not easy work so we upped the ante for this project and all others this year and into the future to host crews at Airbnb’s when appropriate. We have not identified a specific Airbnb yet, but it will have beds, hot showers and a kitchen for food preparation.

Coddington Road Trail Reroutes

Project Manager and Construction Manager:  Mike Schlicht

Lodging will be provided at a nearby Airbnb! In 2019, we started building switchbacks up the hill but more works needs to take place. This year we will be installing the two ladders needed to climb embankments that were created when a logging road was put in many years ago. These embankments are approximately 10-15 feet high and will require us to winch the materials up from the road below. While ladder building activities are taking place, we will be redoing parts of the switchbacks that were built as the soil in this area is very fine and we have to change the angle of the switchbacks to support the trail. We have not identified a specific Airbnb yet, but it will have beds, hot showers and a kitchen for food preparation. Mike expects the project to take place in July or September.

Solon Bridge Installation

Project Manager: TBA, Construction Manager: TBA

This project will involve building a 50-foot bridge across a creek recently dammed by beavers. It is not known if all the details can be resolved so an actual date cannot be specified for the construction as numerous issues are still being addressed. If these details are resolved in time, a late summer, early fall time frame date to build the bridge can be set. One positive aspect of the project is that Rt. 41 in Cortland County is only about a 1.4 mile away so material transport to the site will be manageable.