Tag: Fire Tower

Raven Rocks 10k Trail Run and Raven Challenge On!

The Raven Rocks 10k Trail Run is BACK! November 14, 2021 @9am. Woo hoo!

We are also going to bring back the Raven 100k Challenge with all of the fun elements from last year — plus we’re looking to add a few more activities to the 100k challenge during the month of November! 

Topline News

Like a lot of races and events, in 2020 we were unable to hold the Raven Rocks Run due to Covid restrictions, so we held the virtual 100k Raven Challenge which was very well received. Runners asked if we were doing it again – the answer is YES!

You can sign up for one or the other — or do BOTH! Early bird (before 10/26) signups get a discount. Signups for both events at the same time also get a discount which appears at checkout. 

Shirts this year will be one design and available either on long-sleeved cotton shirts (traditional) and/or short sleeved tech fabric shirts (new!). You can purchase one, both, or neither shirt. If you are a purely virtual Raven 100k Challenge runner, we will mail you your shirt (if ordered) along with your finisher woodallion. 

As always, these Raven events support the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. We encourage runners to join as members of the museum during registration to support their non-profit educational and conservation purpose. 

This year we are also adding support for the Friends of the Cross River Mountain Fire Tower. We will be working with the Westchester Parks Foundation and raising funds to support Westchester County and NY State in the restoration of the fire tower to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. That fundraising account will be set up soon with a range of support levels. More to come on this news!

More detail about each event

Raven Rocks Run – 10k Trail Run

The Raven Rocks Run is a challenging 10k trail run at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, NY.

Race is in-person Sunday, November 14th, 2021 starting at 9am. 

The race will start in the Meadow near the fallen oak tree and its massive remains. The course passes by the spot where the Leatherman’s Loop begins. Instead of heading towards the river as the Loop does, the Raven Rocks Run 10k course climbs and climbs up to the two highest points in the park (Raven Rocks Overlook and the Fire Tower Summit) before heading back for a (mostly) downhill and (relatively) flat finish.

The course passes by the site of the former Blue Trail fire tower which is the highest point in the park. We are working towards getting back the tower to its former spot in the park. See Course Map page for course details.

More information about the race and tower project is on the About page and the FAQ page of our ravenrocksrun.org website.

One of our limitations is a cap on runners at 250 — so sign up early. We have gotten around that number the last few times we put on the race so it could get full or it may not. Depends on the runner demand!

We are looking forward to November when we will run this event for the SIXTH time — and we hope we can accommodate all who wish to run and keep everyone socially distant and COVID-safe!

Important: We have preliminary approval, but our race plans are contingent on final permit approval from the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation. If the COVID-19 situation changes and this approval is revoked and we are unable to offer the in-person event, we will still have the virtual event. We will also offer a 10k race registration fee refund (minus the charge that goes to the processing company) or race deferrals to 2022 for runners if the race is called off by the county. If we have placed the shirt order before a refund is requested we will send the race shirt via mail to runners. 

Raven 100k Challenge

The Raven 100k Challenge is simple: first, register for the challenge. Then run, hike, or walk 100k during the month of November 2021.

Note: You can register as late as November 16 and enter your mileage to date when you register.

This works out to an average of around 3k per day or 25k (15 miles) per week.

If you complete the challenge, you will receive a wooden finisher medallion. Shirts are optional. 

The Raven 100k Challenge supports the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, a 501(c)3 not for profit organization based at the Trailside Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

You can also join the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation for 2022 membership during signup. One of the most popular levels is the $100 “Wood Turtle” membership which gives the member a parking pass for the park for all of 2022.

Bonus achievements for the Raven 100k Challenge

In addition to running, walking, or hiking 100k during November, there are several bonus achievement badges you can unlock if you are able: 

  • Run 10k on the Raven Rocks Run course (raven badge).
    • This can be done at the Raven Rocks 10k Run race on Nov 14
    • It can also be done any time at the park
    • Course will be marked from 11/11/21 – 11/15/21 for those unfamiliar with it.
  • Run 5x 10k on the Raven Rocks Run course (ultra raven badge)
  • Run 10x 10k on the Raven Rocks Run course (flock badge)
  • Run 33x 10k on the Raven Rocks Run course (Peeter badge)
    • Note: The Peeter badge is named after Peeter Muursep who ran the Raven Rocks course 33x during the month of November 2020 during the Raven 100k Challenge.
    • Run 34x or more on the Raven Rocks Run course (the Peeter badge is renamed after you)
  • Take a selfie at the Raven Rocks Overlook and send it in (photographer badge)
  • Take a selfie at any Raven related site, store, zoo, etc. and send it in (traveler badge)
  • Submit a photo of yourself on a run with your “I Voted” sticker or if you can’t vote in the November election, next to someone with an “I Voted” sticker. (bald eagle badge
  • Run on Thanksgiving (turkey badge).
    • Submit a Thanksgiving run photo to get a badge upgrade to the Photo Turkey badge.
  • Photo of a raven anywhere (raven citizen award)
  • Do a run in the dark to Raven Rocks (night owl badge)
  • Do a run early in the morning to Raven Rocks (cobweb crew badge)
  • 200k distance in November (snowy owl badge)
  • 300k distance in November (white raven badge)
  • Read a stanza from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” poem and send us a link of you doing this. Use soundcloud, youtube, facebook, whatever service you want. We have most of the poem read by challenge participants last year but need a few more to complete the full 16 stanzas. (wise owl badge)
  • Find your Raven challenge object in the Rez (GPS Badge). See below for details
  • We are working to display the badges on your results page.
  • We will incorporate the badges on the physical wooden finisher “woodallion” once you complete the Raven Challenge. 
  • Any other badge ideas? We are open to suggestions 🙂 

In addition, we will have awards for:

  • First 3 men and First 3 women to 100k
  • Top 3 men and Top 3 women in total kilometers.
  • IMPORTANT: Anyone in contention for these Top 3 awards must make their entries in a timely manner:
    • All entries must be made within 36 hours of your run/walk.  
    • This is to prevent participants from “batch entering” their results.
    • Keep your results up to date if you are in the running!
  • Note: In order to win these awards distance submissions need to be made via GPX files.
  • See instructions submitting results on RunSignUp Raven 100k Challenge page.

Halfway bonus GPS challenge badge search

For those in the area near Ward Pound Ridge Reservation we have a special treat in mind that will lead to a bonus badge. If you opt-in via the status form (to be sent to participants in the challenge in November), then after you pass the 50 kilometer mark on your Raven 100k Challenge posted stats, we will send you your own coordinates via “What3Words” app to somewhere in the park where we have hidden a small challenge surprise for you to find. It will be obvious once you get there, but not easy to find unless you have the coordinates.

Everyone will have a different and unique spot somewhere in the park. Some will be further off-trail than others depending on how familiar you are with the park. Let us know when you find your halfway bonus (or if you can’t find it! – we don’t want to leave the challenge items out there!)

You can participate in either event – they can be completely independent of each other. Or you can participate in both events. There is overlap in the 100k challenge and the 10k race since one of the Raven Challenge badges is awarded for completing the Raven Rocks Run course.

We are super happy to be back running on trails with you all! See you out there…

The Fire Tower is Returning!

We have some fantastic news to share: Funding has been secured to begin the design and engineering work needed to bring back the Cross River Mountain Fire Tower in Pound Ridge, NY! (See course map for location of tower – near Water Stop.)

Many of you know the original name of this race was the Fire Tower 10k, but we changed the name to Raven Rocks Run after it was brought to our attention that approval might not be given for a race with that ambitious name 5 years ago. 

Photo taken in 1970 of the Aeromotor Company Model #LS-40 Fire Tower in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The Raven Rocks Run was conceived and founded to help bring attention and resources to the effort to bring the Fire Tower back to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Nine years after the fire tower effort began, and five years after the race was founded, these efforts have paid off.

The credit is mostly due to the persistence and passion of Tom Cohn, former president of the Friends of Trailside Museum, who was our official race starter 2 years ago. Tom has not wasted an opportunity to bend any willing ear to share with  them his dream project. 

Peter Harckham announces the state and county funding for the fire tower restoration project State Senator Peter Harckham on October 29, 2019 at the WPA Gallery at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, NY. He is addressing the crowd about the Cross River Mountain Fire Tower project and the funding he and others have secured at the state and county level. Behind him, left to right, is Westchester County Film and Tourism Director Natasha Caputo, Fire Tower evangelist Tom Cohn, County Executive George Latimer, and County Legislator Kitley Covill. Seated in the front row are Supervisors Kevin Hansen, Peter Parsons, and Chris Burdick from the towns of Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, and Bedford.

New York State Senator Peter Harckham was at the Rez on Tuesday, October 29th to announce NY State funding of $100,000 for engineering and design work to bring back the Tower. Westchester County Executive George Latimer was also there along with District 2 Legislator Kitley Covill — they announced a matching $100,000 from Westchester County to keep the project moving. Town Supervisors from Bedford, Pound Ridge, and Lewisboro were also in attendance and in support.

Check the News12 video story on the announcement here: http://westchester.news12.com/story/41244751/state-grants-dollar100k-to-build-new-fire-tower-at-ward-pound-ridge-reservation

The design and engineering phase will start early next year after 2020 budgets have been passed. Design and engineering will take about 12 months before anything can get started with holes in the ground — but the project finally has the blessing, funding, and public support from the state and county to move forward and get it done. 

Replica of the Fire Tower commissioned by Tom Cohn five years ago to help generate interest and enthusiasm in the project.

We are excited to have the Raven Rocks Run go by the restored fire tower in a couple of years. I hope you are too!

In the meantime, get ready to run the trails next weekend – Race Date November 10th! And good luck to any of our runners who will be running the NYC Marathon this coming weekend!

….Rob, Ciorsdan, and the rest of the Raven Rocks Run Volunteers

News 12 Video about Fire Tower Project

This story was broadcast in early 2015 as plans for the rebuilding of the Fire Tower were gaining attention.

We are not sure of the current status of the project, but we at the Raven Rocks Run are fully supportive of the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservations and their efforts to rebuild the former Cross River Mountain Fire Tower.

It would be rebuilt in its old location on the Blue Trail at highest point in the park if the plans are approved.

Cross River Fire Tower Flyer

1970-fire-tower-photoThe Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation has pledged their support for replacing the Cross River Fire Tower with the same model of tower that was removed in the early 1980s. They have put together this information sheet (the-beacon-flyer) with more information.

The Raven Rocks Run is committed to supporting the Friends group, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, and the Trailside Museum. Proceeds from the Raven Rocks Run will go to the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation to realize this vision and to support the mission of the Park.

From the flyer:

The beautiful and historic fire tower was erected in 1926 and was used by the community until the 1970’s. The County Parks operated the tower until the 1930’s when the NYS Conservation Department began its operations.

The tower, the only one of its kind in Westchester County, was a critical asset to the community as it served as a monitoring station for forest fires. According to a Westchester County government report from 1975 indicates that about 500 fires were reported from the tower between 1966 and 1968, with tower observers working with aerial support to pinpoint their locations.

The tower was decommissioned by the DEC in 1971 and was taken down without county approval several years later.

The view from the top of the tower was nearly 1000′ above sea level and afforded unobstructed 360 degree views including the Hudson Highlands, the Catskill Mountains, Long Island, and New York City. The tower also provided unparalleled views of the night sky.

You can help restore this historic landmark to the park in a few ways:

  1. Run with us in the Raven Rocks Run Sunday November 15th, 2015.
  2. Become a member of the Friends of Trailside Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation – you can join when you register for the race. If you can’t run you can go to the Membership page and join.
  3. Contact the Friends of Trailside via email to find out how you can support the rebuilding of the Fire Tower.

To see a one minute video of what the vista from the top of the tower would look like today, click here:


The Towns of Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge are on record offering their support for the rebuilding of the Fire Tower.