Woodchuck Lodge tours and tree walk this weekend

Roxbury — Celebrate naturalist John Burroughs’ 175th birthday with a visit to Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury May 5 and 6.

The lodge, located at 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury, will be open for free tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Follow signs from Route 30 to Hardscrabble Road, just north of the Hamlet of Roxbury.

Just up the road from Woodchuck Lodge, a special observance will be held Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m. at Burroughs Memorial Field State Historic Site, where the naturalist was buried on his 84th birthday, April 3, 1921. A ceremonial planting of an apple tree and a short reading from a Burroughs essay or two will be followed by a tree identification walk led by Minekill State Park Educator Ashley Drum. There is no charge to attend this combination Birthday/Arbor Day celebration, co-sponsored by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Plan to tour the lodge before the tree planting. The 1862 farmhouse was built by Burroughs’ brother, Curtis on the east end of the farm where the siblings were raised. It was the summer home of the famed naturalist from 1910 to 1920, the final years of a productive, celebrated life.
Guided tours, offered the first weekend of each month, May through October, start on the rustic porch John built, and proceed through the first floor of the house, where Burroughs entertained guests like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.

Special events
Several special events are planned to hail Burroughs and his legacy this year. Two collaborative outings are coming up: Hike Rochester Hollow on May 12 to see the monument to Burroughs amid a memorial forest planted in 1922 by students of the Riordan School in Highland. Meet at noon at the Rochester Hollow trailhead parking lot on Matyas Road just off Route 28 between Pine Hill and Big Indian. The hike follows a 10 a.m. stream walk and talk sponsored by the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program. To attend the morning stream walk, register at gr283@cornell.edu. Registration is not required for the two-mile afternoon Burroughs hike.

On June 2, Woodchuck Lodge will team up with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Catskill Mountain Club to observe National Trails Day with a hike to Slide Mountain (elev. 4,200 feet) on the Burroughs Range. DEC biologist Gregg Kenney will tell hikers about the elusive Bicknell’s thrush and the threat it faces from mercury in the environment. The bird was first discovered on Slide in 1882. Burroughs described its distinctive song in his essay “Heart of the Southern Catskills.” Registration for this hike is required: www.catskillmountainclub.org.

Summer events at Woodchuck Lodge include the Annual John Burroughs Community Day on June 9, a day packed with outdoor activities for the whole family; a Nature Journaling Workshop for youngsters led by Minekill Educator Ashley Drum on June 16; and a Moss Walk, also led by Drum, on July 8.

For more information, call 586-4973 or find JohnBurroughsofWoodchuckLodge on Facebook!