What follows is an e-mail recently sent by Paul Delucia, of Lean2Rescue, one of several volunteer organizations who work to build and maintain facilities in the Adirondack Park’s backcountry.
Rarely do we get a chance to rescue a lean-to before the damage is done.
On Thanksgiving, Hilary Moynihan (ADK lean-to adopter coordinator) and I were notified that somebody had chopped down a tree at the Gull Lake lean-to (Black River Wild Forest). Sadly, it was live spruce tree (about 60 ft tall) left hanging precariously in a smaller cherry tree. It threatened both the lean-to and anybody that might visit it. I sent out a broadcast to all that might be in the Woodgate / Old Forge Area on a moment’s notice. By Saturday, a crew of eight from Lean2Rescue arrived with nearly 150 lbs of equipment (ropes, climbing gear, saws), and a tree climber (me). After about an hour, the tree was safely down and the lean-to standing unharmed.
I had to climb the cherry tree to the top (roped in), remove the top of the spruce, pull it into the center of the cherry tree, remove most of the branches, set a second rope in a stronger (lower) part of the cherry tree to lower the tree to the ground as we finally cut it from the bottom.
On Sunday morning, winds sufficient to bring the tree down on the lean-to had arrived. Getting a crew of eight within less than a day, I can say it’s forever amazing to see the response and capabilities this group brings to the Adirondacks, and I’m proud to be part of it.
While this was a rewarding and challenging trip, it was overshadowed by the senselessness of the act that made it necessary. After this past year, let’s hope next year is a better one regarding such vandalism. Let’s hope people will stop burning lean-to logs (old/new) and stop chopping down live trees.
Photo: The vandalized tree, left leaning over the Gull Lake lean-to. Courtesy Peter Davis, Lean2Rescue.