In addition to their primary mission of working with local communities to ensure that increased wilderness protection is a priority of the stewardship of the Allegheny National Forest, Friends of Allegheny Wilderness (FAW) over the years has also made significant volunteer investments in the stewardship of the Hickory Creek Wilderness trail, ecological restoration of sites within the Hickory Creek Wilderness, and removal of refuse from the Allegheny Islands Wilderness.
FAW's next major wilderness stewardship project will be a trail clearing backpacking trip along the 12-mile Hickory Creek Wilderness trail from Thursday, May 24, through Saturday May 26. This is a great, rewarding way to experience the natural beauty of the wildly popular Hickory Creek Wilderness first-hand. The group will leave from the Hickory Creek Wilderness trailhead on Hearts Content Road Thursday evening, May 24, spending two nights in the wilderness, and hiking out on Saturday, May 26.
Minimum tools such as axes and elbow grease are all that will be used to remove woody debris and cut back brush from the trail, in order to help perpetuate the rustic wilderness character of the trail. And of course, no power tools such as chainsaws are permitted in wilderness, so there will be no specialized training needed in that regard. There is no charge to particpate, but participants will need to bring all of their own food and camping equipment, and come fully prepared for any weather conditions that may be encountered.
This project will be a good way for people who maintain trails in the Minister Valley Wilderness Study Area, and who will be establishing and/or maintaining the new Bullis Hollow Trail in the Chestnut Ridge Wilderness Study Area, to get a good look at how hiking trails are to be maintained to wilderness standards. Stewardship of Chestnut Ridge and Minister Valley hiking trails can be modeled after FAW's work on the Hickory Creek Wilderness trail.