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2011 Year End Trails Report
Show Your Thanks to Our Trail Volunteers By Making a Donation to the Trail Conference.
Chris Ingui, New Jersey Program Coordinator [email protected]
Trail Conference projects in New Jersey started off 2011 with a bang when the new Lenape Trail Committee adopted and assigned maintainers to 34 miles of the Lenape Trail in Essex County. The Lenape Trail is part of the “Liberty Water Gap Trail,” a state-crossing greenway that connects 19 county parks. The pace never let up.
• The West Jersey Trail Crew completed the nine-mile Jenny Jump Trail in Warren County, close to the Route 80 and 78 corridors.
• The Publications Committee delivered the brand-new map set Jersey Highlands: North Central Region, covering 230 miles of trails in 30 parks in this region.
• The Trail Conference, building on previous studies of invasive plants in parks, developed its first Invasives Strike Force, training 100 maintainers to identify and eliminate environmentally harmful plants taking root along trails. Over 150 miles of trails have been inventoried.
• The Trail Conference developed and launched a pilot program to catalog trail problems and structures on 100 miles of trails in western New Jersey.
• Trail University expanded into Bergen County, offering workshops in trail maintenance, trail building, tool use and safety, and invasive plant monitoring.
• The New Jersey program formed and deployed a new trail building crew—the “Bear Claw Crew.” It recently relocated a section of highly eroded trail in the Ramapo Mountains and has several more projects pending.
• In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, our volunteers really pitched in. The West Jersey Trail Crew quickly restored the damaged Pochuck boardwalk along the Appalachian Trail to usability, with all repairs expected to be complete by spring. • On the advocacy front, Trail Conference vigilance and negotiations with the state and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline company will keep trails open and protected during construction of the widened pipeline corridor.
Leigh Draper, East Hudson Program Coordinator, [email protected]g
The Trail Conference has been very active in the East Hudson region adopting new parks, building new trails, expanding our volunteer workforce and training programs, winning grants for trail projects, and increasing our web and social media presence.
• The Trail Conference renewed a trail agreement with Teatown Lake Reservation that continues joint sponsorship of the Community Trails Program and significantly expands the Trail Conference’s role in lower and mid- Westchester County.
• Trails Council adopted more than 20 miles of trails in Westchester, much of it newly built by volunteers. These include trails in Yorktown, FDR State Park, and Turkey Mountain.
• An East Hudson Facebook page was launched and contains links to our active partners and regional groups and provides information on the East Hudson Community Trails program. This was instrumental in aiding clean-up after Tropical Storm Irene.
• 12 Trail University workshops were conducted in the region. The Invasives Strike Force training program filled to capacity, with 30 participants and a waiting list.
• The Trail Conference helped recruit and train more than 150 people who volunteered through group projects – in particular, IBM’s Day of Service, which also yielded a $4000 grant to benefit the Community Trails program in Yorktown.
• Trail Conference support and training were provided to trail volunteers and projects in several New York City parks, including Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks in the Bronx, and the Staten Island Greenbelt.
Jeff Senterman, Catskills Program Coordinator, [email protected]
The launch of a Catskill-focused trails program was the big news in the region for the Trail Conference this year, and it quickly yielded a steady stream of noteworthy accomplishments.
• The Trail Conference was sufficiently established in the region to be an effective force for help and relief to communities and state agencies when Tropical Storm Irene took a heavy toll on the trails and the lives of families in the Catskills this summer.
• Our Catskill Facebook, Twitter, and Trail Conference website pages were instrumental in providing the most current conditions and regional information after the storm, becoming a resource even for state agencies. These pages are now a recognized local resource for the latest trail news and events.
• The Trail Conference signed an “Adopt A Natural Resource Agreement” with the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that allows us to adopt more trails, perform heavier trail work, and receive appropriate recognition for volunteer efforts at trailheads and lean-tos.
• Trail volunteers began reconstructing the Long Path through the Platte Clove Preserve. Working with DEC, we began moving several trails off of roads and onto scenic, woodland routes. The Long Path’s lengthiest road walk in the Catskills will be replaced by a footpath over beautiful Romer Mountain.
• A free Trail Conference brochure map for the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower area is now available at many local businesses and organizations. This map provides useful guidance to a popular tourist destination and introduces new users to our organization and Catskill Trails map set. • We convened key hiking, trails, and recreation groups and agencies for the First Annual Trail Partners meeting to promote coordination of trail efforts.
• The Trail Conference is an active member of the DEC’s Forest Preserve Advisory Committee, where we advocate for preservation and improvement of recreational trail opportunities on the 288,000 acres of Forest Preserve located in the Catskills.
Larry Wheelock, West Hudson Program Coordinator, [email protected]
The Trail Conference has been busy preserving land, building new trails, improving long distance trail connections, repairing storm damage, and creating opportunities for novice hikers and disabled persons to experience the back country.
• Approved and nearly completed a new connection for the Long Path between the Catskills and the Shawangunk Ridge. It extends from Minnewaska State Park through Warwarsing, Ulster County, and on into the beautiful Vernooy Kill area.
• Two key parcels of land totaling nearly 600 acres, purchased by the Trail Conference to protect the Long Path and Shawangunk Ridge Trail, were transferred to the DEC and will be preserved in perpetuity.
• Volunteers completed a comprehensive inventory of all foot bridges and their conditions in Harriman/Bear Mountain and Sterling Forest State Parks. That inventory was the basis for our post-Irene assessment of storm damage and will help park managers budget for these structures in the future.
• Volunteers responded quickly to provide up-to-date trail condition and safety reports after Tropical Storm Irene. This allowed the Trail Conference to keep the public well informed about where they could and could not hike, and where volunteers were most needed. Park managers and trail users commended the Trail Conference for this timely data.
• Bear Mountain Trails Project completed a brand new, 1.3-mile long summit loop, including nearly a half-mile of ADAcompliant, handicapped accessible trail. The new trails were unveiled and celebrated on June 4, National Trails Day and are exposing new audiences , especially disabled visitors, to the backcountry experience.
• The Publications Committee published a complete new edition of the popular Harriman Trails guide book, an 8th edition of the Shawangunk Trails map set, and a 5th edition of Sterling Forest Trails map set. The out-of-print Long Path Guide was updated and published as freely accessed web pages on nynjtc.org.