There is no snow left in Sanders Preserve, but James Denney is already dreaming about how nice the trails will be next winter with a foot of fresh powder covering them.
The 17-year-old Scotia-Glenville High School senior often skis in the wooded, 395-acre, passive-use park in the Glenville Hills.
“There’s good gradual downhills and there’s long, gradual uphills and there’s turns to keep it interesting. It’s just a good place,” he said.
But Denney sees room for improvement, so he has taken it upon himself to widen about three-quarters of a mile of the trail network in the southern portion of the preserve so it can be groomed for cross-country skiing.
The project will earn the Boy Scout Troop 67 member the rank of Eagle Scout. It will also add a second sequence of groomed ski trails to Glenville’s parks.
At a glance
How to join the trail-widening effort at Sanders Preserve:
WHERE: Sanders Road, Glenville
WHEN: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday; 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 19.
WHAT TO BRING: Chain saws, shovels and pry bars. Dress to work in muddy conditions.
MORE INFORMATION: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have had really very, very positive comments about the trail grooming that has occurred at Indian Meadows Park over the last few years,” said Jamie MacFarland, Glenville parks director.
Wider, groomed trails can improve skiing conditions and allow visitors to ski using a skating technique.
Only a portion of the trails in Sanders Preserve will be groomed and others will remain backcountry trails, MacFarland noted.
Last weekend, a work group of about 14 volunteers took to a trail adjacent to the preserve’s parking lot with chain saws, pry bars and shovels. Small trees were cut down and large rocks were relocated with the help of a backhoe.
Sixty-two man hours later, a significant section of trail had been widened and cleared. Water-filled holes mark spots where rocks have been removed and tractor treads tattoo the mud stirred up during the effort.
The town plans to provide fill for the holes and materials to build several small bridges on the trail. Maps will be updated to indicate the groomed route.
“We understand there’s a little bit of trail disruption, so we’re hoping that folks will understand that this is a short-term inconvenience for really a number of gains,” said MacFarland.
Denney’s Eagle project involves widening the trail from Point A to Point C, but he has also promised to widen it from Point C to Point D, so a complete three-quarter-mile loop can be groomed. He estimated that the entire effort will take at least 300 man hours.
Several more spring work parties are planned.
Once the work is done and winter has set in, members of the town’s park planning commission have volunteered to assist with trail grooming and have offered suggestions of others who might also lend a hand, MacFarland said.
Denney plans to join the military after high school, so when the snow flies next winter, he will likely be away from home. He said he has plans to enjoy the improved trail while on leave.