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Trail Conference Year-End Program Report: 2015 Look Back // 2016 Look Ahead
Source:New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
2015 Look Back
- Grew the Catskill Conservation Corps through work trips, workshops, and litter pick-up events at the Blue Hole and other heavily used areas.
- Worked with Woodchuck Lodge to create family-friendly trail system in Roxbury, N.Y.
- Launched highly successes Summit Stewards program on Slide Mountain, the Catskills’ tallest and busiest mountain.
- Completed the South Taconic Trail extension. This lengthens the South Taconic Trail by 6.5 miles, reaching Rudd Pond and the outskirts of Millerton, N.Y.
- Built an extension to the Round Hill Bypass Trail in Fahnestock, linking the Fahnestock Trail to School Mountain Road.
- Built three new trails, a total of four miles, in Dover Stone Church Preserve.
- Conducted 30 trail crew outings with West Jersey Trail Crew, Ramapo Earth Crew, and Long Distance Trails Crew, comprising hundreds of work hours.
- Played an early and leading role in successful effort to protect the Hudson Palisades from a proposed high-rise structure at LG Electronics USA headquarters. Revised lower structure preserves the Palisades viewshed and views from the Long Path.
- Strengthened working relations with National Park Service in the Delaware Water Gap, resulting in increased partnerships and volunteer outreach in western New Jersey.
- Volunteers and groups built a new section of the Highlands Trail, eliminating a 1.4-mile road walk.
- Long Distance Trails Crew re-routed an eroded portion of the A.T., installing rock steps and cribbing on Bear Mountain.
- West Hudson North crew installed bog bridging on Mossy Glen Trail in Minnewaska.
- Completed approximately 500 highly labor-intensive feet of Upper East Face of the Appalachian Trail, reaching 60 percent completion.
- Finished construction of Trails for People Exhibit at base of Bear Mountain on the A.T. Provided over 10,600 volunteer hours of labor.
Cartography and Publications
- Produced new print and digital editions of four maps sets: Catskill, Harriman-Bear Mountain, South Taconic, and West Hudson.
- Completed and launched the brand new Circuit Hikes in Harriman book.
- Produced 15 new northern New Jersey state park maps, made available as free handouts at parks, as downloads on our website, and through the PDF Maps app.
- Completed the fifth year of the Invasives Strike Force (ISF), reaching a milestone of over 1,000 miles of trails surveyed for invasive species. This was the cumulative efforts of 400 volunteers making over 60,000 observations.
- Removed over 50,000 invasive plants from 20 parks, preserves, and partner properties, improving over 100 acres of land.
- Convened over 40 partner agencies of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) to prioritize invasive species work, education, and outreach.
2016 Look Ahead
- Rebuild German Hollow lean-to, which was crushed by fallen trees. Expand Summit Stewards program to other popular destinations in the Catskills.
- Expand and recruit a dedicated Hudson Highlands roving trail crew.
- Collaborate with NYC Parks to recruit volunteers and offer technical assistance and documentation with trail maintenance projects.
- Promote, protect, and improve the long-distance Highlands Trail, New Jersey’s Millennium Legacy Trail. Develop workshops, volunteer outings, and events to draw attention to this nearby, under-utilized hiking treasure.
- Expand Trail Conference presence and recruitment everywhere we maintain trails.
- Collaborate in a Trails Town event along south-western boundary of Harriman, attracting eco-tourism and highlighting improved trail access via mass transit.
- Develop a Bear Mountain Stewards program.
- Create a new trail loop in Sterling Forest’s recently preserved “donut hole.”
- Extend progress on the remaining 1,145 feet and 325 stone stairs of the A.T. on the Upper East Face. Complete all work by fall 2017.
Cartography and Publications
- Develop a new map set covering the entirety of the Long Path.
- Produce revised editions of Jersey Highlands, Kittatinny, Sterling Forest, and Shawangunk map sets.
- Ramp up invasives removal efforts by increasing summer crew service periods, engaging more volunteers and streamlining data collection and processing.
- Lead the Lower Hudson PRISM to aggressively target priority areas and species.