On Saturday, October 13, the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community (HVATC) held its fifth annual Trail Day at Native Landscapes & Garden Center on Route 22. Co-hosted by the HVATC and Native Landscapes, the event featured multiple booths with information about local attractions, nature walks, a photography workshop, hikes, a food truck, and many other activities guests could take part in. Despite the rainy weather, a crowd of visitors showed up to celebrate the Appalachian Trail and the surrounding communities.
At this event, there were many tents and tables that showcased different groups and organizations. Under one tent was the local Schaghticoke tribe historian, with multiple artifacts that he explained to guests. He detailed the history of his tribe, which is based in Dover Plains. This table attracted many visitors interested in local history. Another tent held a photography exhibit, called Harlem AT Hiker Portraits. This exhibit showed photos taken of hikers on the Pawling section of the Appalachian Trail. Hudson Valley photographers Justin P. Goodhart and Jane Haslam were on hand to answer questions about their work as well. The HVATC had its own tent, with information about the organization’s purpose, membership forms, and general information about the trail. There was also a booth with information about how to stop deforestation and excess development from occurring in the local area, and what visitors could do to help. There was also a petition guests could sign to show their support, which many did.
Another popular feature of Trail Day was a variety of hikes, one of which was led by the Native American historian. These hikes occurred throughout the day, with guests traversing the Dover Plains and Pawling section of the AT, including one walk to the Dover Oak. Visitors also strolled on the boardwalk leading to the trail, a project that has been underway for several years. There was a mindfulness nature walk and a fall foliage nature hike. Later in the day, an award was given to Melissa Goodwin for her photography workshop and Aaron Leonard for his work with Sierra Club Military Outdoors.
The HVATC was formed by Pawling and Dover, the first two towns to apply jointly for AT Community designation, and has been a huge success. With two towns involved, there is double the manpower for all projects like this one, allowing for a more broad selection of people of different backgrounds to come and tell their stories. The local section of the Appalachian Trail begins in Pawling at the Beekman-Pawling border, and it returns into Beekman, finally going through Dover.
To learn more about HVATC, visit @HarlemValleyAppalachianTrailCommunity on Facebook. To view photographers’ portfolios online (including Melissa Goodwin’s “Scenes from the Appalachian Trail”), visit JaneHaslamPhotography.com; JustinPGoodhart.com; and MelissaGoodwinPhotography.com.