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.
June 21-27 – Letchworth State Park
(POSTPONED to 2021)
August 7-9 – 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]
September 14-17 – Kanakadea Lean-to’s
(POSTPONED to 2021)
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.
October 5-9 – Solon Bridge Installation
Project Manager: Peter Dady, Construction Manager: Mary Coffin
This project will involve improving existing trail and creating new trail in the area of Solon, NY. There is the possibility that we will also construct a 50-foot bridge if issues concerning the bridge design can be resolved before the Alley-Cat takes place. Volunteers are asked to contact Peter at [email protected] Mary at [email protected] Food and Lodging will be provided.
Projects postponed to 2021
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 work needs to take place. In 2021 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 in 2019 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.
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]
We will again apply for an American Hiking Society crew and invite other hiking, running and environmental organizations to participate in our Alley Cat event in Letchworth State Park in 2021. Due to social distancing guidelines and the number of the volunteers expected we had to postpone this event to then
We expect by 2021, the reroute on one of the access trails will have been approved and we have already secured permissions for a variety of drainage issues that are the main concern of the Letchworth Branch Trail. A master plan is being constructed for the entire branch trail to create better hiking and running environments that will be passed onto the park for approval once completed.
Come look for us in Letchworth State Park in 2021 as there is plenty to do for all skills levels and come meet the members of the communities that utilize the trail for its many gems.
Project Manager Peter Wybron, 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 Monday, September 14. Work on both lean-tos’ will commence on Tuesday, September 15at 8:00am. Volunteers are asked to contact Mike Ogden at: [email protected] to volunteer.
The Kanakadea lean-to project was rescheduled to occur in September 2020 and we have postponed it to 2021. We are working with Big Beams Timber Frames on a new lean-to design that will be used at this site. We are very excited to be using this design that may become a new standard on our trail system!
Until recently, the existing Kanakadea lean-to was located on a branch trail in the Kanakadea Recreation Area where our main trail passes through near Almond, NY. We have since reunited the Kanakadea lean-to with the main Finger Lakes Trail. The existing lean-to has seen its better days and will be deconstructed while the new lean-to is being built nearby. Lodging and food will be provided for all volunteers.
Building a lean-to is an exciting experience to participate in and one you can come back and visit for decades to come. Look for our call for volunteers in the spring of 2021.