The 36 mile long Gerald Hiking Trail in Oil Creek State Park is maintained by a group of "old geezers" known as the OVER THE HILL GANG. These guys trim back brambles, bushes, shrubs, and tree limbs; they also remove fallen trees and other obstacles from the trail.
The main focus is to clear the trails of fallen trees and debris that has accumulated over time. There are 36 miles of trails to be covered and normally about 6-8 miles are done each outing, so it is an ongoing challenge to keep all areas cleared.
In addition to removing downed trees the group keeps the yellow and white blaze trail markings visible for hikers. Foot bridges that traverse wet areas and small ravines are also built and maintained. Where the trails run horizontally to the hillside, small fallen trees are placed and secured to the downhill side of the trail to prevent erosion from damaging the trail.
The group also splits fire wood for the park's Adirondack Shelter fire places.
Clearing scenic overlook areas and maintaining benches is also an important function of the Gang.
The Gang meets for breakfast each Wednesday morning at Sam‘s Restaurant in Titusville before proceeding to the trail(weather permitting).
All the full time members are retirees from many walks of life. The oldest member is 80+ years old; many members are in their seventies. While the Gang does do some hard work at times, their real joy is going out in the beautiful park. The Gang is always looking for new young (60-65 yrs old) members
It is the hope of the “Over the Hill Gang” that the Gerard Hiking Trail is a pleasurable experience for all who use the trail.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the park office at 814-676-5915.
Wood shed built by the Over the Hill Gang for Adirondack shelter camping area.