New Jersey Regional Trails Council

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 5:30pm - 8:30pm
New Jersey Regional Trails Council

NOV. 10, 2015


Introductions – a little bit of his/her region or new projects

Announcements and Additions to Agenda

Approval of August minutes.  Electronic copy was sent to all.


Reports:   Chainsaw Sub-Committee, Estelle Anderson

                   What the committee is and has been doing  

                   Explain chainsaw help request procedure via TC sawyers list.

                    Procedure for Supervisors/Trail Chairs to report downed trees in need of chain saw help.


Trail Updates and Approvals:  (5 minute limit)

Bob Jonas/Paul Makus – changes to Hewitt Butler Trail at Camp Vacamas

Howie Liebmann - Blue Trail in Stokes State Forest.

Don Tripp - Rock Cores Trail, Worthington SF



Suggestions about improving the trail approval process.  

Should it be done on the chair level in each RTC?

What restriction on that method.  Should it go to full Trails Council?


 Don Tripp:  We have been talking about trailhead signs for a few years indicating the role of the NY-NJ Trail Conference in maintaining trails.  Input from others?


 Don Tripp:  Comment regarding change the title of Trail Chair to something else.  What are opinions on this?


From Gene Giordano:  what is the opinion on having buddies or partners for some maintainers who are reluctant to volunteer as they prefer not to be solo.  We need to create a plan that will address this.   Possibly the email list as used by NJAT could be useful; especially in areas with a lot of maintainers, or with rugged trail sections. 


Frequency of our meetings.

Next meeting:


Who would you like to invite from any committee or of staff to provide information on what they do. 


Who will volunteer to host the next meeting?  (handle food and beverage)


Round Robin – time for informal discussion


Adjourn by 8:30 pm.






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November 10, 2015


          1.  Chair Howie Liebmann called the meeting to order at 6:28 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Ed Goodell - Executive Director; Peter Dolan - New Jersey Program Coordinator; Estelle Anderson, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, David Day, Monica Day, Bob Jonas, Michael Lenhardt, Howie Liebmann, Ron Luna, Paul Makus, Peter Meyer, John Moran, Kori Phillips, Keith Scherer, Robert Simpson, Brian Sniatkowski, Karl Soehnlein, Donald Tripp and Steve Weissman.  He asked everyone to introduce themselves.

          Howie Liebmann requested members of the Regional Trails Council to submit additional items for the agenda of future meetings. 

          2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the September 2nd meeting were approved as submitted.

          3.  Report of Chainsaw Committee.  Estelle Anderson updated the Council on the Chainsaw Committee.  She noted that there are currently 33 “B” sawyers and 41 “A” sawyers who are certified.  She pointed out that all chainsawyers must be certified, and she noted that there is an e-mail list for all chainsawyers that can be used to notify the group of blowdowns that need to be removed.  She also pointed out that the committee arranges for training and for the provision of safety equipment.

          Bob Jonas pointed out that the committee tries to distribute the work among all members of the committee.  David Day commented that chain sawing is inherently dangerous, and he stressed that proper procedures must be followed.  There was discussion regarding the proper procedure to be followed regarding the removal of blowdowns, and it was noted that the e-mail list was for use by those who need chainsawyers.  It was pointed out that some areas have chainsawyers among their supervisors and maintainers and will not need to resort to the list to remove blowdowns.  Chris Connolly commented that the committee’s policy raises a number of issues that need to be resolved.

          Peter Dolan commented that our Chainsaw Committee is unique and that our chainsaw certification courses generate much interest from outsiders.

          4.  Trail Updates and Approvals.  The following new trails and relocations were presented:

                   a.  Abandonment of Southern End of Hewitt-Butler Trail.  Paul Makus reported that the 1.5-mile section of the Hewitt-Butler Trail from Osio Rock south to Camp Vacamas has been abandoned.  He explained that the management of Camp Vacamas recently changed and that the new management wanted the trail to be moved outside of their entrance gate.  He noted that the adjacent State property is not suitable for a trailhead, and as a result, the trail section heading north from the camp has been abandoned.  Paul Makus pointed out that the blazes on this section have been blacked out and that signs have been posted to indicate the trail closure.

          Paul Makus suggested that a loop trail be created around Osio Rock, which is now the southern terminus of the Hewitt-Butler Trail. He showed the Council a map of two trails, one of which could be used to complete a loop around Osio Rock, and the other of which leads to an interesting high point.  He also showed the Council several alternative routes for the proposed loop trail.

          After discussion, it was agreed that Paul Makus would further consider the various alternatives and report back to the Council at its next meeting with a recommendation.

                   b.  Blue Mountain Loop Trail in Stokes State Forest,  Howie Liebmann explained that Josh Osowski, the Superintendent of Stokes State Forest, has obtained a $25,000 grant to create a new 15-mile-long Blue Mountain Loop Trail that will loop around the Park, incorporating the routes of a number of existing trails as well as new trail sections.  He pointed out that this new trail will incorporate 11 miles of existing trails and will require the construction of about four miles of new trail, and that it will start and end at the Park Office on Route 206.  He noted that the new trail is being constructed by Park employees, with relatively little input from the Trail Conference, and that they expect to finish the work by the end of this month.  Howie Liebmann pointed out that some of the existing trails that are being incorporated into this new trail will probably lose their current names.  He stated that the new trail, which still needs to be GPS’d, will be blazed with blue-dot-on-white markers.

          After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Blue Mountain Loop Trail in Stokes State Forest be adopted by the Trail Conference.

                   c. Relocation of Rock Cores Trail in Worthington State Forest.  Don Tripp explained a proposal to reroute the northern end of the Rock Cores Trail in Worthington State Forest so that it terminates at a small parking area on Old Mine Road, a short distance south of the existing trailhead (this parking area is not shown on the current edition of our Kittatinny Trails map set but will be shown on the next edition).  He noted that the rock cores drilled for the proposed Tocks Island Dam (that was never built) may be seen along the trail.  He also stated that the exact route of the rerouted trail will not be determined until the spring.  The Council agreed in principle to approve this relocation, with the understanding that the exact route would be brought back to the Council for approval once it has been determined.

          5.  “Trails Chair” Title.  Don Tripp commented that he felt that the title “Trails Chair” was not appealing to young people of the Millennial era, and suggested that a different title be chosen so that we can attract younger people.  Daniel Chazin questioned whether the title of this position was at all relevant to young people who might want to volunteer. 

          6.  “Buddies” or “Partners” for Trail Maintainers.  There was discussion of a proposal made by Gene Giordano that the Trail Conference facilitates finding “buddies” or “partners” for trail maintainers.  David Day explained that Gene Giordano is looking for the institutionalization of “match-making” among maintainers.  Steve Weissman discussed with the Council the computer list that Gene Giordano has created for his maintainers.  He noted that this list allows for maintainers to contact each other and work as teams on various trail sections where help is needed.

          7.  Trailhead Signage.  Don Tripp commented that we need to design an appropriate sign that can be installed at all trailheads informing hikers that the trail is maintained by the Trail Conference.  Chris Connolly stated that it is too late now to add a new item to the budget for 2016.  Peter Dolan commented that if we produce our own signs and offer them to park superintendents, it is more likely that the signs will be approved.  David Day stated that state and county authorities strictly regulate the type of signs that can be installed along the roads under their jurisdiction.

          8.  Volunteer Appreciation Day.  Don Tripp commented that the Volunteer Appreciation Day this past Saturday was poorly attended, with only 100 people coming, and that hardly anyone who attended was under 40 years old.  He suggested that a better format be chosen to recognize and appreciate our many volunteers. 

          9.  Cards for Volunteers.  Howie Liebmann suggested that volunteers obtain Trail Conference cards, which can be created inexpensively at Staples, and give them out to people along trails.  Paul Makus suggested that cards be made available that explain how to download our Avenza maps onto smartphones. 

          10.  Boy Scouts.  There was discussion of the involvement of Boy Scouts in the Trail Conference and its projects.  Daniel Chazin pointed out that Boy Scout troops have not generally been found to be dependable trail maintainers, due to frequent changes of troop leadership, but he noted that short-term Eagle Scout projects have resulted in the improvement of many trails.  Daniel Chazin also noted that Dave Stuhr, a Trail Conference Board member who is on the Executive Board of the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has stated that he hopes to expand the involvement of Boy Scout troops with the Trail Conference.

          11.  Training for Supervisors.  Bob Jonas commented that we should provide better training for our Supervisors.  However, Chris Connolly stated that we need to ensure that we have sufficient volunteers to offer this training.  Peter Dolan stated that volunteers are encouraged to lead training sessions, and he commented that we obtain more positive feedback from trail volunteers when training is held outdoors on trails that need work, rather than indoors.  Don Tripp stated that he is looking for Supervisors for a number of areas under his jurisdiction.

          12.  Future Meetings.  Howie Liebmann suggested that the New Jersey Regional Trails Council meet four times a year.  It was generally agreed that meetings should be held quarterly, but that trail approvals could be done by e-mail between meetings, if necessary.  It was agreed that meetings would be held in early March, early June, early September, and November.  Don Tripp commented that we might want to invite people from outside the Trail Conference to speak at future Council meetings.  It was also agreed that future meetings would be held at the Trail Conference headquarters at the Darlington Schoolhouse.

          Bob Jonas suggested that the enforcement of regulations against ATVs and expansion of our trail system be discussed at future Council meetings.  He also suggested that we consider diversity and try to recruit such hiking groups as the Chinese and Koreans to maintain trails.

          13.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:36 p.m.


                                                                             Respectfully submitted,



                                                                             Daniel D. Chazin