This weekend I went on a History Tour of Turkey Mountain hosted by the RiverParks Authority who oversee Turkey Mountain.
Our official tour guide was Ryan Howell who has given the tour a bunch of times and still makes it fresh for everybody.
It took about two and half hours and we covered about that many miles but we saw a bunch of Turkey Mountain and he gave us a ton of information. I thought I knew a lot about the Mountain but turns out I didn’t know squat.
He covered everything about how Turkey Mountain came to be and what its official name is (hint, It’s not Turkey Mountain). Some history of the outlet mall that got moved elsewhere (to never be built) and the Master Plan and all the trails that are getting built. He talked about the difference between the old trails that all eroded and rocky vs the new professionally designed and constructed trails that are designed to shed water and reduce erosion and increase sustainability.
He had tales of hidden Spanish Gold and Viking Runes and magical caves. (Hint, if Ryan knew where the gold was he wouldn’t be giving tours.) He went over the flora and fauna of the mountain and explained about the beavers, bobcats, wild turkeys, deer and Eagles nests and where, in general they can be found.
He talked about invasive species and prescribed burns with “cold fires.” He told us about a still unreleased movie filmed partly on the mountain and showed us the very rock where the lead actress took a power nap during filming. All this and more. I don’t need much excuse to go hiking on Turkey Mountain but this was one of the more memorable outings for me. He also showed us several reminders of Turkey Mountain’s past as a significant oilfield form the 1920’s to the 1960’s.
Ryan has a lot of passion for Turkey Mountain and for educating the public on the resource. The tour costs a nominal amount and 100% of the proceeds go the Mountain. They have the tour several times a year, follow their facebook page to keep abreast of tours and other information