Sunday, February 16, 2014

Van Cortlandt Hike-a-Thon

View from Vault Hill by TheTurducken
View from Vault Hill, a photo by TheTurducken on Flickr.
This April, I'm participating in the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Hike-a-Thon, which raises money for one of New York City's largest parks.

In October 2012, 843-acre Central Park received a gift of $100 million - its endowment alone now stands at about $200 million. Central Park is a beautiful New York jewel, no question, and a great resource for Manhattan. Van Cortlandt Park, by contrast, is 1,146 acres and is to the Bronx what Central Park is to Manhattan. But Van Cortlandt (and Flushing Corona Meadows in Queens) don't attract that kind of big money; in 2013, the Friends group brought in less than half a mil. Even government money is scarce - the city has been promising to build a bridge over the freeway that cuts through the park for years now.

Van Cortlandt Park serves the community in several ways. It has athletic fields and a golf course. It has a nationally famous cross-country trail. It has a historic home that is now a museum. But what draws me to it is its extensive trails. I've blogged here about hiking in the park, and I have more pictures here. It's the only place I know of in New York City where you can genuinely feel as if you are in the woods and away from civilization.

As a trails volunteer, I've seen the work volunteers, park staff, and Friends of Van Cortlandt Park put into maintaining the trails. There is a lot being done on a shoestring, but there is so much more that could be done.

Please consider joining me in making a donation to support the park.

Not from New York? Never been to Van Cortlandt? Next time you're in town, I'll take you up there.

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