Schoharie Crossing site seeking help

With only two staff members, the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site needs the assistance of volu

The year 2011 brought severe damage to the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, shutting it down for the last two months of the season.

That was just a year after a temporary shutdown caused by state budget woes left the site with tall grass and chains blocking access to some of its features.

Despite the turmoil, the site that preserves remnants of the historic Erie Canal is planning a full slate of events for this year.

But with only two staff members, its education coordinator, Tricia Shaw, said the site will need the assistance of volunteers.

Schoharie Crossing is calling for volunteers willing to help out. Whether it’s running the cash register, doing research, giving guided tours or even helping with maintenance, Shaw said there’s a variety of activities people can get involved in.

“We really need to call on the general public to help,” said Shaw, who added the site at times can’t accommodate a large group of school kids hoping to learn about the history preserved there.

The 250-acre site has several trails that could use some work, but Shaw said considering the damage left by Tropical Storm Irene, workers have made “huge strides” putting it back together.

The old Canal Store near the Yankee Hill lock alongside the Mohawk River remains closed — it’s been shut down since flooding in 2006 — but a new attraction will likely be drawing even more visitors to the area surrounding the gift shop.

The flooded Schoharie Creek ripped up the parking lot and unearthed what archaeologists believe is the remains of historic Fort Hunter, the hamlet’s namesake. Shaw said it’s likely that site will become a working archaeological dig in warmer months to come.

“There’s so much here … no matter what your interest in. We could use you in some capacity,” Shaw said.

There’s a long list of activities volunteers can participate in. People are sought for interpretation work, such as answering questions from patrons or giving tours to school groups. Office work like typing, filing and answering phones or maintenance work like gardening and landscaping is also needed.

The environmental aspects of the site could also be the focus of volunteer work, such as conducting bird and animal assessments of the property, as well as photography and research.

People interested in helping out can contact the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site at 829-7516 or by email at [email protected]

Categories: Schenectady County

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