Students past and present, parents, and friends from the Garrison community worked together to blaze and clear the Beckwith, Blueberry Swamp, Cannon, Saddle, and Sloan Carriage trails, which wind through beautiful woods, ridges, ravines, swamps, and a meadow. The School Forest contains the ruins of the South Redoubt, a Revolutionary-era fortification that was part of the outer ring of the defenses of Fortress West Point, located directly across the Hudson River.
"To me, this was a day that exemplified the heart of the Garrison School," said Christine Foertsch, parent and member of the Garrison School Board. "Partnering with our local land experts, exploring the beautiful forest, enjoying each other and learning -- these are the riches of this community. I hope many more families and children will visit and explore our wonderful woods."
The Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund provided the funding that paid for the fabrication of the blazes. The Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) provided support to this project by sponsoring the Green Team elective course. Additionally, Matt Decker, HHLT Stewardship Coordinator, served as a trail team leader on Trail Blazing Day.
Hikers may now explore the Blueberry Swamp, Cannon, and Sloan Carriage trails. The Saddle Trail requires clearing before it is ready for hikers, and the Beckwith Trail requires trail reconstruction work before it is safe for hikers. The Garrison School requests that hikers respect the private property adjacent to some of the trails, along with parking areas that are shared by neighbors of the School Forest.
The Garrison School Forest comprises 181 wooded acres, located in the center of the rough square formed by Route 9D on the west, Snake Hill Road on the north, Route 9 on the east, and Route 403 on the south.
Beginning in 1956, the land comprising the School Forest was given to the Garrison Union Free School District by members of the Sloan, Osborn, and Gunther families. The Forest offers teachers unique opportunities to present math, science, and history curricula in a beautiful outdoor setting. It offers students the chance to become inspired and engaged learners through nature. Children, teachers, families, and communities are encouraged to explore the Garrison School Forest.