Friends of Seneca (FOS) is an all-volunteer organization that got started in the mid ’90’s when the state of the climber trails at Seneca had gotten to a point that just couldn’t be ignored. Some pretty amazing things were accomplished in the first 5 years included what is now affectionately know as the Inca Staircase aka Stair Master (the series of stone steps up through the corridor above the stream on the west side) and the staircase just above the stream along Roy Gap Road. Folks and organizations that have been super supportive of the effort include Karen and Tony Barnes, Tom Cecil, Diane and Arthur Kearns, Mike Goff, Casey Rucker, The Gendarme and Seneca Rocks Climbing School, The Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides, the USFS, The PATC Mountaineering Section, and The Pittsburgh Explorers Club
Bob Dodson, who has been among the most reliable volunteers, provided a partial chronology of the work weekend projects over the years:
1995 Began steps leading to the Hemlock Grove
5/96 Last 35 stone steps to the Hemlock Grove
10/96 Stone staircase above stream bed
5/97 Stone staircase from Ecstasy to Simple J Malarkey
10/97 18 stone steps from Roy Gap Road toward Skyline Traverse
4/98 30 more stone steps toward Skyline
5/01 Wooden steps below Simple J Malarkey
10/03 Cribbing work at base of Le Gourmet plus various maintenance
10/04 Installed USFS signs on Roy Gap Rd and at old parking lot
2005 In the spring of 2005, The Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides established a rescue cache on the west side at the base of Triple S and equipped it with the help of the USFS. In the fall of 2005 The Seneca Rocks Climbing School established another rescue cache on the east side underneath the notch on the trail to Broadway ledge using the money from the 2004 Chili Cookoff FOS raffle (Arthur Kearns built the box containing it)
3/09 Removing dead trees and trail work at The Southern Pillar
2011: The Lower Slabs project included hiring Ken Dzack to design the climber’s trail connecting the tourist trail to the rocks and staging area near Discrepancy. Major work done over two 2 day work weekends. Also cribbing fix at the base of the stairs by Esctasy Buttress.
Spring 2013: Rerouted and improved the trail below Skyline Traverse. PATC was a huge help accomplishing this.
Summer 2013: Hoping to get started on the trail at the Southern Pillar