Volunteers spend day in the cleanup of Schoharie Crossing

Talking a pause to chat during the annual cleanup Saturday at the Schoharie Crossing Historic Site are, from left, David Brooks, education director of the site; Andrew Stuebner of Duanesburg; Becky Nold of Glenville; and Nancy Stueber of Duanesburg. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

FORT HUNTER — The Schoharie Crossing Historic Site has a lot of loyal volunteers.

“I’m a volunteer at the Schoharie Crossing, and I come out for whatever they’re doing,” said Barbara Weldon of Amsterdam, who participated in the site’s annual spring cleanup Saturday.

So also does Mary Lou Coughlin of Tribes Hill, a member of the Friends of the site, who shows up every year for the cleanup.

“I love Schoharie Crossing,” she said. “It’s peaceful and quiet out here. You can hear the birds.”

Whether they’re a groundskeeper, such as Jim Frisch of Johnstown, or a volunteer, they aim to enhance the ambience of the site by cleaning up both natural and human debris, including hundreds, if not thousands, of black pods from locust trees.

“I love parks,” said Nancy Stuebner of Duanesburg, who came with her son Andrew to help out. “I pick up trash when I’m out at a park. I like to clean up natural areas.”

“I enjoy coming to clean up,” said Becky Nold of Glenville.

Some volunteers are local, and some not so local.

“We have a really good group, a hard-working group,” said David Brooks, educator director of the site.

Cleaning up is important because the site has a lot of natural beauty—such as vestiges of the old Erie Canal, the Schoharie Creek and its beaches, and the Schoharie Creek Aquaduct, which is partially in ruins. Visitors can get tours of the historial aspects of the site or use the picnic tables for an outing.

Visitors such as Jennifer Hart and her daughters Peyton and Vidalyn Schuyler came out to stroll along the creek. The girls threw rocks into the creek as children are wont to do.

“It’s gorgeous, quiet and peaceful here,” Hart said. “I love to get the girls out of the house. I don’t like being in the city.”

The site will hold an I Love My Park Day on May 5, when flower gardening work will be done, said Brooks.

On May 21, visitors will be welcomed to a grand reopening. A new exhibit will comprise more artifacts, a physical model of the site with the older lock system, and more old photos. Visitors will be able to pull up the photos digitally.

Roadside cleanups happened in Gloversville and Amsterdam, as well as several other communities.

By Kerry Minor

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