NJ-RTC Meeting February 24, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 5:30pm - 8:30pm
New Jersey Regional Trails Council

New York – New Jersey Trail Conference

Regional Trails Council Meeting -     Feb. 24, 2016


Location:  Trail Conference Office

Committee:  New Jersey Regional Trails Council (RTC)


If the Schoolhouse parking lot is full when you arrive, overflow parking will be in the Ramapo Valley County Reservation parking lot, immediately to the south.  The church across the street is not available for parking, at their request. 

Please print the attached parking pass and have it visible on your dashboard so Bergen County knows you are not parking overnight.  Have a flashlight or headlamp handy for the walk through the woods!


New Jersey Regional Trails Council

Feb. 24, 2016

5:30 PM Networking & Sandwiches

6:15 PM – Meeting begins

(Severe Weather Date – March 2, 2016)



The NJ RTC is a forum for discussing trail-related projects and concerns as well as sharing information and strategies.  It makes decisions concerning adoption of new trails, blazing procedures, and matters that directly affect the building and maintenance of hiking trails.   Voting members are the RTC Chair, Trails Chairs, Supervisors, Trail Crew Chiefs and Crew Leaders.  Club trail representatives and visitors are welcome at these meetings.

Please submit any agenda items at least 10 days prior to the meeting.  We will try to accommodate late submissions if there is time.

Note:  All items requiring a vote must be submitted in advance – in writing – so that we have an accurate record in the minutes.





            Trail Supervisor changes – Estelle Anderson


Approval of Minutes

New Business

Staff  Update:  Peter Dolan                                                                                        5 min.

Special Presentation:  Josh Howard, will speak regarding Board-approved            15 min.

 plan and budget and planning chart.  Questions to follow.


Trail Approvals and Updates – 5 minute time limit for presentation

            Update on Blue Trail in Stokes State Forest – Howie Liebmann                   5 min. 


Informational Discussion:  Peter Dolan

  • How to get grant funding for trail projects; strengthen staff-volunteer communication to ensure projects receive the support they want. 


  • Examples of existing Trail Conference cards and Printed Material available as a resource for your use:  Peter Dolan


  • Signage proposals for discussion:  A few basic examples of generic parking/trailhead/maintainer signs.  

Motorized Issue :  Bob Jonas

How do we get more enforcement from NJDEP and other agency partners.  Are problems worse in some areas?  Do we need a unified approach from Trail conference for NJ problems and NY problems.  Comments and suggstions? 


If time:  Estelle Anderson

Trail University Classes and Outreach/Tabling Events in NJ. 

  • Do you know what classes are available?
  • Do you know any one of us can lead a trail instruction class?
  • Do you know you can participate in Outreach events?




Adjourn 8:30 p.m. 

Peter Dolan - New Jersey Program Coordinator; Estelle Anderson, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, David Day, Monica Day, John Fudala, Victor Incorvaia, Bob Jonas, Michael Lenhardt, Howie Liebmann, Ron Luna, Nick McManus, Peter Meyer, Glenn Oleksak, Kori Phillips, Keith Scherer, Robert Simpson, Brian Sniatkowski, Karl Soehnlein, Steve Weissman and Pete Zuroff
Status of Minutes: 


of the


of the



February 24, 2016


          1.  Chair Howie Liebmann called the meeting to order at 6:18 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were:  Peter Dolan - New Jersey Program Coordinator; Estelle Anderson, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, David Day, Monica Day, John Fudala, Victor Incorvaia, Bob Jonas, Michael Lenhardt, Howie Liebmann, Ron Luna, Nick McManus, Peter Meyer, Glenn Oleksak, Kori Phillips, Keith Scherer, Robert Simpson, Brian Sniatkowski, Karl Soehnlein, Steve Weissman and Pete Zuroff.  He asked everyone to introduce themselves and to report on recent developments.


          2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the November 10, 2015 meeting were approved as submitted.


          3.  Job Descriptions.  Howie Liebmann pointed out that Ed Goodell had sent out an e-mail with various job descriptions prepared by the Organzational Structure Committee and had asked for comments by the end of the month.  He noted that we are trying to condense all job descriptions to no more than a single page.


          4.  Staff Reports.  Peter Dolan reported on the following matters:


                   a.  Recreational Trails Grants.  He announced that the Trail Conference has received two Recreational Trails grants – a grant of $24,000 for an AmeriCorps crew that will be working with the Highlands Trail Committee to do an on-the-ground assessment of the Highlands Trail and to work on improvements as prioritized by Trails Chair Glenn Oleksak and Supervisor Adam Rosenberg, and a $12,300 grant for the trailhead map and signage program.  He stated that this grant would primarily be used to develop signage materials for kiosks, and he pointed out that the greatest significance of this grant is that it includes the right for the Trail Conference to place its own brochures and maps at trailheads in state parks.


          Estelle Anderson stated that she does not want the AmeriCorps crew to do any trail work on trails in her region without approval of her trail committee.  Bob Jonas commented that funds are also needed to repair trailhead kiosks which are falling apart.


                   b.  Technology Committee.  He read a statement from Mary Dooman of the Technology Committee regarding the update and redesign of the website, and he noted that the Regional Trails Councils will be involved in this process.


                   c.  Planning Process.  He reviewed with the members of the Regional Trails Council the planning process for each year.  He stated that, based on the input he will receive from members of the Regional Trails Council, he would be preparing reports for the Board of Directors, which would review them and use them to help them set the strategic direction for next year.  He noted that this is the first year that this process is being used, and that some adjustments might have to be made.  It was pointed out that the reports should focus on major matters that would be of concern to the Board.


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


                   a.  Blue Mountain Loop Trail in Stokes State Forest,  Howie Liebmann noted that he had reported that the last meeting of the Regional Trails Council on the new Blue Mountain Loop Trail in Stokes State Forest.  He noted that the new trail is nearly 17 miles long, and he pointed out that the Stony Brook and Tinsley Trails bisect the loop and make it possible to hike shorter loops.  He pointed out that several minor adjustments still need to made to the trail route. 


          In response to a question, Daniel Chazin stated that it was anticipated that the new edition of the Kittatinny Trails map set will be printed in April or May.  He also pointed out that the Trail Conference received a grant to create new maps of all state parks and forests in northern New Jersey for the State Park Service, and he noted that the map for Stokes State Forest could easily be redone to incorporate this new trail.


          6.  Presentation by Peter Dolan.  Peter Dolan pointed out that the Trail Conference receives many offers of group volunteer work days, and he stated that, to the extent possible, such group volunteer work days should be led by volunteer leaders and that the groups should work on projects that have been identified by Trail Conference volunteers.  He noted that these groups usually want to work on weekdays, but he stated that sometimes the work can be done on weekends.  Peter Dolan requested anyone who knows of potential trail projects to notify him so that he may keep these projects on file for groups who want to volunteer.  He also stated that he hopes that he can provide at least one group volunteer crew to every region.


          David Day pointed out that these group volunteers often have little training or understanding of what trail work is about.  He noted that it is essential that a trained volunteer from the Trail Conference be present to supervise and direct the work.  Bob Jonas pointed to instances in which volunteer groups had done poor quality trail work in Morristown National Historical Park.  There was discussion about how to properly train these volunteers to perform good quality trail work.


          Peter Dolan noted that the Trail Conference often receives grant opportunities with a relatively short turnaround time.  He explained the normal process for grant applications, and he pointed out the importance of having some projects “shovel-ready.” 


          Peter Dolan discussed available Trail Conference materials, such as brochures, rack cards, smaller cards, and signs, and he noted that such materials could be produced for volunteer trail committees or trail crews.  It was noted that most of the signs are outdated, and there was discussion on how the signs could be improved.  He also showed samples of signage that might be used at trailhead kiosks and discussed the various materials that could be used, their cost, and their ability to resist sun and water damage.  He also explained that we are trying to develop prototype trailhead signs that can be used on all trails.


          7.  Policy Council.  Chris Connolly explained that 10 members of the Policy Council are appointed by the Board, with each Regional Trails Council appointing one member.  He stated that the Policy Council is charged with approving policies for the entire Trail Conference.  Chris Connolly explained that recommendations of the Policy Council would be circulated to the Regional Trails Council for their review and then sent to the Board for approval.


          8.  Motorized Vehicles in Parks.  Bob Jonas expressed his concerns regarding the continuing intrusion of motorized vehicles in parks where the Trail Conference maintains trails.  He noted that the State had promised to develop motorized vehicle parks in all three areas of New Jersey, but he pointed out that this effort has been completely unsuccessful.  He also noted that municipalities and counties have been reluctant to prosecute illegal ATV users, and he commented that the ATV users have significant political influence.  Peter Dolan commented that he believed that the statute providing for increased penalties for illegal ATV use is now enforceable, but he pointed out that several legal issues still need to be resolved.  He commented that hikers should not confront ATVs but should report all ATV sightings to the parks so that they can establish patterns of use.  It was also noted that hikers could fill out the Illegal Use Report on the Trail Conference website to report sightings of ATVs in parks.


          There was extensive discussion of possible steps that could be taken to deter illegal use by ATVs in New Jersey parks.  It was pointed out that the Trail Conference has no enforcement powers and that we are largely dependent on park rangers issuing summonses.  It was also noted that many parks are short-staffed and have other priorities for law enforcement.  Howie Liebmann commented that in Stokes and High Point State Parks, signs indicating permissible uses are posted at every trailhead, and he stated that he has not seen any evidence of illegal ATV use in these parks.  However, Monica Day noted that Stokes and High Point are large parks, remote from civilization, and that most illegal ATV use is found where people can enter the parks with their ATVs from their backyards.  David Day related an incident that took place in the Pochuck area, on National Park Service lands, where a ranger caught someone illegally using an ATV on park lands and confiscated the ATV as a penalty.


          9.  Future Meetings.  It was suggested that Jeremy Apgar, Mary Dooman, Erik Mickelson, and/or a representative of the Conservation Committee be asked to attend a future meeting of the New Jersey Regional Trails Council.


          It was agreed that the next meeting of the New Jersey Regional Trails Council would be held on Wednesday, May 11th.


          10.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:38 p.m.


                                                                             Respectfully submitted,


                                                                             Daniel D. Chazin