Trails Council Meeting - February 5, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Trails Council


New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Trails Council 
February 5, 2015

5:30 PM – Networking

6:30 PM – Meeting begins

(Severe Weather Date – Thursday, February 12, 2015)



 The Trails Council 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 council chair, trails chairs, supervisors, trail crew chiefs, and crew leaders. Club trail representatives and visitors are welcome at these meetings, routinely held on the first Thursday of even numbered months, except when inclement or hazardous weather causes cancellation.  In which case, the "severe weather" meeting will be rescheduled for the Thursday of the following week.  Please submit items at least one week before 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.





Approval of minutes


  • Conservation
  • Publications
  • Volunteer Committee
  • Web Team Report


Special Presentations

  • Conservation Corps Program, Ama Koenigshof
  • Insurance, John Leigh


Trail Approvals and Updates – 5 minute time limit per presentation.


1. Trail updates: Teatown Trails. Jane Daniels or Mary Dodds


2a. Trail relocation: AT foot of  south Bear Mountain on Seven Lakes drive. Chris Reyling/Gail Neffinger/Rich Weiler tbd.


2b. Trail relocation:  AT at Greenwood Mine, Harriman. Chris Reyling/Gail Neffinger/Rich Weiler tbd


3. Adoption of a woods road as new Bear Swamp Trail. Presented by Peter Dolan on behalf of Gene Giordano


4. Trail adoption: Minnewaska Awosting Falls Connector. Presented by Sona Mason on behalf of Dave Webber.


For Discussion:

  • Trail construction standards - Walt Daniels
  • The Trail Conference adopt a policy opposing the use of recreational and commercial drones in all Parks, Forests, Preserves, Wilderness Areas etc., where the Trail Conference maintains trails and that we urge all land managers to adopt and enforce regulations to achieve this goal. - Robert Segal


Old Business


Sandwiches and beverages will be servedDonations to cover costs are greatly appreciated

Directions: NY NJ Trail Conference: 156 Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202), Mahwah, NJ

It is located on Route 202, near its intersection with Route 17. Coming from the south, take Route 17 to the Route 202 exit in Mahwah, and turn right at the bottom of the ramp.  The Trail Conference office is the first building on the left.  Coming from the north, take the New York Thruway to Exit 15A and continue south on Route 17.  Take the exit for Route 202 (the second exit on Route 17), turn right at the bottom of the ramp, and cross under on Route 17. The Trail Conference is the first building on the left.

MINUTES OF A MEETING of the TRAILS COUNCIL of the NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY TRAIL CONFERENCE   December 4, 2014             1.  Trails Council Chair Gary Haugland called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Hank Osborn - East Hudson Program Coordinator, Jim Canfield, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Jane Daniels, Walt Daniels, Gary Haugland, Howie Liebmann, Glenn Oleksak, Joel Pinsker, Chris Reyling, Keith Scherer, Andrew Seirup, Brian Sniatkowski, Fred Stern and Bob Ward.             2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of October 2, 2014 were approved as submitted.              3.  Reports.  The following reports were presented:                      a.  Report of Conservation Committee.  Daniel Chazin announced that a 67-acre parcel on the Shawangunk Ridge has been protected through the efforts of the Trail Conference, the Open Space Institute and the Orange County Land Trust.  He noted that additional information on this transaction is available on the Trail Conference website.                      b.  Report of Publications Committee.  Daniel Chazin reported that the new edition of the Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails map set will probably be sent to the printer before the end of December.   He also stated that work is progressing on the new digital South Taconic Trails map, which will probably be sent to the printer in January or February.  Daniel Chazin announced that e-book versions of some of our publications are now available for sale on the Trail Conference website.  Gary Haugland suggested that the trails in the Wonder Lake area might possibly be included in the next edition of our East Hudson Trails map set.                      c.  Report of Volunteer Committee.  Jane Daniels reported that awards were presented at the Annual Meeting, held on Saturday, October 18th.                      d.  Web Team Report.  Walt Daniels reported that work is proceeding on the redesign of the website.  He stated that we are now in what is called the “discovery phase,” which determines the scope and cost of the work that needs to be done, and he noted that this phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of December.  However, he stated that the budget that the Board approved this past Tuesday did not include any funding for the update of the website, since the staff had submitted to the Board a deficit budget and was reluctant to commit additional funds to the website upgrade.  Walt Daniels suggested that the Trail Conference engage in fundraising to cover the cost of needed upgrades to the website.             4.  Trail Approvals.  The following new trails and relocations were presented:                      a.  Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve.  Jane Daniels explained that the present blazing system of the trails in the Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve in Westchester County is confusing.  She passed around a sheet showing the proposed changes in blazing of these trails, noting that the yellow trail will be lengthened, a new red trail will be added, and connecting trails will be blazed in lavender.  Jane Daniels pointed out that the changes in the trail system in this preserve involve only one new trail segment – an extension of the red trail – and she noted that this trail extension had been approved by the Trails Council at the August 7th meeting.             After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that these trail changes in Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve in Westchester County be approved by the Trails Council.                      b.  Adoption of Trails in North Salem Open Land Foundation Preserves. Jane Daniels explained that the Trail Conference has been requested to adopt 3.1 miles of trails (in the shape of a barbell) in several contiguous preserves of the North Salem Open Land Foundation in the northwestern corner of Westchester County.  She pointed out that the trails are primarily for use by hikers, with occasional use by equestrians, and that the walking in this preserve is very pleasant.  It was noted that this preserve is linked by trail to Mountain Lakes Preserve and that Geof Connor is working to improve the trails in this area.  It was also pointed out that since the Trail Conference does not currently maintain trails on properties owned by this foundation, approval of the Board will be required for adoption of these trails by the Trail Conference.             It was then moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council recommend to the Board that the 3.1 miles of trails in the preserves of the North Salem Open Land Foundation in Westchester County be adopted by the Trail Conference.                      c.  Relocation of Highlands Trail/Long Path in Gonzaga Park.  Glenn Oleksak explained that about a quarter mile of the Highlands Trail/Long Path in Gonzaga Park in Orange County, at the base of Schunemunk Mountain, has been relocated to eliminate a roadwalk.  He noted that the trail section in question is between Seven Springs Road and Seven Springs Mountain Road (County Route 44), and he showed to the Trails Council a map of the relocation.             After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this relocation of the Highlands Trail/Long Path in Gonzaga Park in Orange County be approved by the Trails Council.                      d.  Relocation of Highlands Trail in Spruce Run Recreation Area.  Glenn Oleksak outlined his proposal to relocate about one mile of the Highlands Trail in the Spruce Run Recreation Area in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  He explained that the existing trail runs along the water and under Russian olive trees, with the olives falling down on the trail, and that this trail section is often overgrown and is very difficult to maintain.  He stated that he proposes to reroute the trail through an attractive pine forest, which is much more sustainable from the point of view of trail maintenance.  Glenn Oleksak also noted that he is proposing to make this trail section a multi-use trail, with mountain bikes allowed, because many campers in the recreation area have bicycles and would like to have somewhere to ride.             After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this proposed relocation of the Highlands Trail in the Spruce Run Recreation Area be approved by the Trails Council.                      e.  New Trails in Ringwood State Park/Ramapo Reservation.  Hank Osborn stated that he was making this presentation on behalf of Gene Giordano, who was unable to attend tonight’s meeting.  He explained that the proposal is to blaze as marked hiking trails several sections of old woods roads that start in Ringwood State Park, continue through Ramapo Valley County Reservation and head back to Ringwood State Park, and that the proposal had been initiated by Ringwood State Park.  However, he stated that he did not have any further information and had not been provided with a map of the routes proposed to be blazed.  Accordingly, Daniel Chazin moved to table this matter to the next Trails Council meeting, pending the availability of more information, with the understanding that work on blazing the new trails could proceed in the interim.  The motion to table was seconded and carried unanimously.             5.  Role of the Trails Council.  Walt Daniels suggested that the members of the Trails Council who are present at this meeting express their views as to what should take place at future Trails Council meetings.  Gary Haugland commented that the role of the Trails Council is not clear, and he stated that we have the opportunity to make the Trails Council a more dynamic group.  He noted that the Steering Committee is working on coming up with a new structure for the entire organization, and that many items of concern had been identified at the recent Summit meeting.  Chris Connolly stated that all participants in the Summit and all Trails Chairs received an e-mail today that summarized what was presented at the Summit.  Gary Haugland stated that, in the interim, we should all think very seriously about what the mission of the Trails Council is, and what has and has not been working.  He pointed out that the rather sparse agenda for tonight’s meeting did not generate much interest among the trail leadership, with the result that the attendance at tonight’s meeting is very low.             Daniel Chazin urged that the Trails Council assume a more significant role in our organization, since it is viewed by members of the Board as being the official body through which trail volunteers are represented.  He stated that, in his view, all important issues affecting trails should be brought before the Trails Council for discussion.  He commented that although the attendance at tonight’s meeting is low, it probably would have been much higher had there been a more significant agenda.  Daniel Chazin also stated that he believes that it is the responsibility of the staff to bring all important issues affecting trails, such as the hiring of AmeriCorps crews, before the Trails Council for their consideration and recommendation before any decisions are made.  Gary Haugland pointed out that the AmeriCorps program is the source of some of the discontent by the volunteers, which has led to the Steering Committee process that will hopefully result in the resolution of the conflicts that have developed.  Chris Connolly pointed out that, under New York law, ultimate decisions must be made by the Board.             Walt Daniels stated that the Trail Management Guide needs to be completed, and he commented that this should be the responsibility of the Trails Council.  Chris Reyling stated that the current version of the Trail Management Guide does not provide sufficient guidance or standards for trail crews.              Howie Liebmann suggested that the Trails Council discuss best practices.  He also suggested that in the future, when we move to the Schoolhouse, we should encourage participation by phone at Trails Council meetings by those who are unable to attend in person.  Walt Daniels pointed out that the final touches have not yet been put onto the Schoolhouse and he recommended that we request that appropriate audio-visual equipment be installed.             Gary Haugland stated that he takes responsibility for not having a more substantial agenda for tonight’s meeting, and he commented that more thought clearly needs to be given to the agenda for the next Trails Council meeting.  Jane Daniels noted that some presentations at Trails Council meetings are time dependent, which explains why some agendas are crowded while others are very light.  She also related her experience as Chair of the New York State Trails Council, where she introduced the practice of inviting guest speakers to make presentations on topics of interest to the group.             With regard to AmeriCorps, Jane Daniels stated that the program arose when New York State requested the Trail Conference to help improve trails in the backcountry.  She pointed out that the Trail Conference has a reputation for maintaining and building backcountry trails and was therefore asked to participate in this program.  She noted that the way the trails are being built has become somewhat controversial, although she pointed out that the State’s wishes must be respected.  Daniel Chazin commented that he believes that a number of the features of the AmeriCorps program that have caused tension with volunteers were proposed by the Trail Conference rather than by the State.             Joel Pinsker questioned whether any information on blowdowns that was collected in the trail assessments that were discussed by Jeremy Apgar at the August 7th Trails Council meeting has been brought to the attention of trail volunteers so that it could be dealt with.  In response, Gary Haugland stated that there has been a failure of communication in many areas.             Andrew Seirup suggested that a review of the AmeriCorps program be put on the agenda of the February Trails Council meeting, and that informed staff members be present to facilitate the discussion.  He stated that, as far as he is aware, the work of the AmeriCorps crew this past summer in Fahnestock State Park went very well.             6.  Next Trails Council Meeting.  The next Trails Council meeting will be held on Thursday, February 5, 2014.             7.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:43 p.m.      Respectfully submitted,     Daniel D. Chazin