From 2006 to 2011, Tahawus Trails LLC was instrumental in the completion of the Bear Mountain Trails Project at Bear Mountain State Park. The project, one of the largest of its kind in the nation, involves a 3 mile relocation of the Appalachian Trail, construction of multiple connector trails, and a half-mile long universal access trail at the summit.
In addition to being responsible for the construction of major portions of this project, Tahawus Trails was instrumental in the management of a unique volunteer training program created in conjunction with the construction project. Volunteer involvement on a trail project of this scale and complexity was unprecedented, thus pushing the hybrid (volunteer-professional) model further than ever before.
To facilitate the use of volunteers with such a technical project, dozens of courses in basic tool use, stone splitting and shaping, rigging, step installation, crib wall construction and even the operation of small machinery were organized and taught by Tahawus Trails to over 800 individuals, accumulating over 30,000 hours of volunteer service. Upon completing these courses volunteers were then able to work alongside Tahawus crew members and other visiting professionals as they constructed one of the most technically challenging trail projects in the country.
Over 1,500 stone steps, more than 13,000 square feet of stone cribbing, over 4,000 square feet of stone paving, and three custom scribed black locust foot bridges were installed.
The Bear Mountain Trails Project has been awarded the 2011 Project of the Year Award by the Professional Trail Builders Association and has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times, Backpacker Magazine and others.
Tahawus Trails LLC has extensive experience building universal access trails in all sorts of challenging terrain. Our accessible trail project at Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, NY was featured on WAMC. Other accessible trails include the Summit Accessible Loop Trail at Bear Mountain State Park and the Nichols Hill Island recreational trail.
Beginning in the fall of 2012, Tahawus Trails completed a series of projects to improve several paths and trails at this Frank Lloyd Wright designed historic architectural landmark, and at the adjacent Bear Run Nature Preserve. Projects included a 450 foot long accessible pathway, reconstruction of stone steps to and improvement of iconic viewing platform, and reconstruction of the trail leading visitors from Fallingwater to the visitor center and parking areas.
As part of a park-wide project to redesign and standardize trail markers, kiosks, blazes, and signs, in 2015 Tahawus Trails completed the design, off-site fabrication, and installation of 25 trailhead kiosks throughout Wissahickon Valley Park. The design included single, double, and three-panel kiosks. These kiosks feature black locust framing fastened with custom stainless steel hardware and are sheltered by rustic cedar roof systems. Included within the scope of this design/build project was the development and delivery of detailed construction documents intended for the future constuction of additional kiosks.
Tahawus Trails specializes in dry laid stone masonry using both native and imported stone. Our stone staircases and dry laid stone retaining walls are designed to artfully complement the natural areas in which they are built. We employ a range of techniques, including rigging systems and small footprint machinery, that allow us to work in rugged terrain while minimizing the impact on the surrounding natural areas. For more examples of our stonework, look in the Bear Mountain, Niagara, and Whirlpool galleries.
The John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary is a 170 acre nature preserve in the Hudson River Valley administered by the Museum of Natural History. Located in West Park, NY and eastern Ulster County, the sanctuary surrounds the Slabsides writing cabin of famed naturalist, John Burroughs. Tahawus Trails designed and built three new trails on the northern half of Sanctuary and reconstructed two trails that connect Slabsides with the Sanctuary Pond.
In the construction process, great care was taken to maintain the natural character of this ruggedly beautiful area. With that in mind, Tahawus installed over 100 stone steps which were quarried on site in order to blend with the surrounding landscape. A 90 foot-long boardwalk, a stone bridge, a black locust ladder, and over two new miles of gentle and intentionally rustic trails were installed.
During the two year construction at the Sanctuary, Tahawus managed and supervised over 100 volunteers, leveraging the resources available for this project.
In the spring and summer of 2016, Tahawus Trails reconstructed a portion of the historic stone staircase at Whirlpool State Park in Niagara Falls, New York. This trail takes visitors down into the Niagara Gorge, just a few miles downstream of Niagara Falls. The trail was originally built during the Depression, and in desperate need of repair. The new dry-laid stone retaining walls and steps are built to last. In order to complete the project, over 130 four foot wide stone steps and over 80 tons of other building stone were lowered into the gorge using a winch and cable rigging system.
Nichols Hill Island
This two-mile trail system meanders through the pine forests and wetlands along the St. Lawrence River in northern New York. Approximately one-mile of the trail is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers, and features boardwalks, an observation platform, and a hunting blind.
This project was sponsored by the New York Power Authority, and is located in the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area, which is managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Great Gorge Railway Staircase was completed in 2012. This trail features a beautiful design which hugs massive boulders. A black locust barrier rail accentuates the climbing curves of the trail. This trail was awarded the 2013 Trail Project of the Year by the Professional Trail Builders Association.
This project was sponsored by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and completed by a team of professional trailbuilders consisting of Peter S. Jensen and Associates LLC, Timber and Stone LLC, and Tahawus Trails LLC. In addition to the Great Gorge Railway Staircase, this project also included two Niagara River fishing access trails in Artpark State Park in Lewiston, NY.
The Great Gorge Railway Trail consists of 350 stone steps and 150 feet of hand crafted timber railing. Since completion, the staircase has not only received heavy use but also earned a 2013 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award for NYPA.
Tahawus Trails LLC has extensive experience building a wide range of bridges to meet any need and match the aesthetic of any surrounding. From rustic timber bridges, to dimensional lumber, to fiberglass trusses, we design and build for pedestrians, mountain bikes, horses, and small machinery.
Boardwalks are the perfect way to get across sensitive wetland areas. From simple puncheon for pedestrian trails to helical pier mounted boardwalks for mulit-use and accessible trails, we provide a range of solutions, all of which are designed to meander and curve through the natural landscape. Our specialty is the use of black locust lumber, a highly rot resistant alternative to pressure-treated lumber.
Tahawus Trails can help you create and implement a succesful wayfinding program for your trail systems. We will work with you to design new kiosks, signs, and blazes that are appropriate for your individual property.