Trails Council Meeting - June 5, 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Trails Council


New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Trails Council 
June 5, 2014

5:30 PM – Networking

6:30 PM – Meeting begins

(Severe Weather Date – Thursday, June 12, 2014)




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.





  • National Trails Day – June 7
  • Budget Review in August

Approval of minutes

Additions to agenda


  • Regional Coordinators
  • Conservation
  • Publications
  • Volunteer Committee
    • Workers Compensation: John Leigh
  • Web Team Report
  • Invasives Update: Linda Rohleder
  • Injury Procedures: John Leigh

Special Presentation

  • Clarifying board, staff and volunteer roles in decision making: an inclusive approach: Anne Gardon


Trail Approvals and Updates – 5 minute time limit per presentation. Trail update form and map of change must be submitted prior to the meeting:

  • Highlands Trail, Glenn Oleksak
  • AT Relocation, Monica Day
  • MacMillan Reservior Trail, John Moran

For Discussion:

  • Chainsaw Committee: Proposed Curricula for Sawyers and Swampers:  Gary Haugland
  • Update on Survey of Trail Council Members:  Jane Daniels

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.


Status of Minutes: 


of the


of the



April 3, 2014


          1.  Trails Council Chair Gary Haugland called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: John Leigh - Volunteer Coordinator; Sona Mason - West Hudson Program Coordinator; Hank Osborn - East Hudson Program Coordinator; Estelle Anderson, Jim Canfield, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Jane Daniels, Walt Daniels, David Day, Monica Day, Mary Dodds, Jack Driller, Jakob Franke, Andy Garrison, Gary Haugland, Sam Huber, Rich Jobsky, Bob Jonas, Howie Liebmann, Mark Liss, John Mack, John Moran, Federico Nealon, Glenn Oleksak, Patty Lee Parmalee, Joel Pinsker, Chris Reyling, Keith Scherer, Andrew Seirup, Brian Sniatkowski and Fred Stern.


          2.  Announcements.


                   a.  Consultant.  Chris Connolly reported that Anne Gardon, a consultant, has had initial interviews with 18 Trail Conference people, including 8 trail management people.  He stated that she will be holding a feedback session next week and will be attending an Executive Session at the next Board meeting.  He indicated that there will be discussion of many issues and that changes will probably be made at various levels so that we all act together as a team, and he also noted that this process will probably take a number of months.  He commented that everyone should have a clear idea as to what their roles and areas of authority are and that if we adopt strategic goals, they should be supported by everyone.


                   b.  Supervisor Training Workshops.  Jane Daniels reported that a supervisor training workshop was held on Sunday, March 23rd and that another workshop will be held this coming Tuesday.  She noted that the workshops use case studies and are interactive, and she stated that she and Howie Liebmann are looking to present workshops for Trails Chairs in the fall.


          3.  Minutes.  The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of February 6, 2014 were approved as submitted.


          4.  Reports.  The following reports were presented:



                   a.  Report of Conservation Committee.  Jakob Franke reported that the Conservation Committee met last week and received reports on the progress of negotiations to preserve certain parcels in Orange County.  He noted that the committee is looking for additional members. 


                   b.  Report of Publications Committee.  Daniel Chazin reported that the new edition of Walkable Westchester by Jane and Walt Daniels was recently published, that the new edition of Hiking Long Island should be sent to the printer soon, and that work is proceeding on Don Weise’s new book, Circuit Hikes in Harriman.  He also reported that Jeremy Apgar is working on a new digital edition of the South Taconic map (which is currently out of print), and that he hopes that the new map will be available sometime this summer.


                   c.  Report of Volunteer Committee.  Jane Daniels requested members of the Trails Council to submit nominations for volunteer awards.  She also noted that next week is National Volunteer Week, and she urged Trails Chairs to thank their supervisors and, in the process, ask them to contact their maintainers so that trail volunteers may properly be recognized.


                   d.  Web Team Report.  Walt Daniels reported that the regions used on the website, which are based on the regions set forth in the New York and New Jersey Walk Books, do not correspond to the regions used by the Trail Conference for trail maintenance purposes.  David Day noted that the information we are promulgating on our website needs to make sense to the public, and he commented that the regions that have been set up for internal administrative Trail Conference purposes do not necessarily make sense to the average member of the public.


          Walt Daniels also commented that, in the future, Trails Council minutes will be available online only to those who are logged on to the website.  Many of the Trails Council members present at the meeting indicated that they know how to log onto the website.


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


                   a.  Scout Trail in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  Jane Daniels proposed that the Trail Conference adopt a new 0.2-mile-long trail in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation known as the Scout Trail.  She noted that this trail has already been constructed.  After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council approve the adoption by the Conference of this trail, except that one member abstained.



                   b.  North Salem Trail in Mountain Lakes Park.  Jane Daniels proposed that the Trail Conference adopt the new 0.2-mile-long North Salem Trail in Mountain Lakes Park in Westchester County.  She explained that this short trail connects the Orange Trail in Mountain Lakes Park to the adjacent Hearst-Mead Preserve, and she noted that this trail has already been constructed.  After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council approve the adoption by the Conference of this trail, except that one member abstained.


                   c.  Manitoga Trails.  Mary Dodds reported that Manitoga, The Russel Wright Design Center, has requested that the Trail Conference adopt the four miles of trails in this preserve in Putnam County, including three main trails and two yellow-blazed side trails that lead to viewpoints.  She noted that the trails were all designed by Russel Wright as part of his estate.  It was pointed out that these trails, which are shown on our East Hudson Trails map set, have existed for many years, but that only now has the Trail Conference been requested to maintain the trails.  It was noted that since Manitoga is a new trail partner, the adoption of these trails needs to be approved by the Board.  It was also pointed out that free parking for hikers is available at Manitoga.


          It was then moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council recommend to the Board that the Conference adopt the four miles of trails at Manitoga.


                   d.  Proposed Reroute of Highlands Trail in Sussex County.  Glenn Oleksak explained that the Highlands Trail in Sussex County currently passes through lands of the Weldon Quarry, an active quarry.  He pointed out that the trail presently runs along a fence and next to a power line and that the landowner has refused to grant to the Trail Conference an easement for the trail (although they currently do not object to the trail being routed through their property).  Glenn Oleksak outlined a proposed reroute of a section of the Highlands Trail onto a more westerly route, where it is likely that a permanent easement to permit the trail to traverse lands of the Hudson Farm can be obtained.  He noted that skeet shooting is allowed on the Hudson Farm.  It was pointed out that the Patriots’ Path Council of the Boy Scouts of America used to own Bear Pond, which is adjacent to the Highlands Trail in this area, but that they have sold it to the Hudson Guild, so that in the future, Scouts will probably not be camping there.  Glenn Oleksak stated that he is still negotiating with Sandy Urgo of the Land Conservancy of New Jersey as to the exact route of the Highlands Trail through the property of the Hudson Farm.


          After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council preliminarily approve the relocation of the Highlands Trail in Sussex County outlined above.


                   e.  Cranberry Lake Preserve.  Jane Daniels reported that the Trail Conference has been requested to take over the maintenance of the 6.4 miles of trails in Cranberry Lake Preserve in Westchester County.  She noted that all the trails in this preserve are for foot traffic only and that no dogs are allowed in the preserve. She pointed out that although the trails in this preserve have existed for many years, they have not been maintained by the Trail Conference up to now.  It was noted that some of the trails need erosion control devices and steps.  Chris Connolly questioned whether we will be able to recruit a sufficient number of maintainers to maintain all of the trails in Cranberry Lake Preserve.  He commented that our current trail maintenance system does not appear to be working well in some areas where we maintain trails.  In response to a question by John Mack, Jane Daniels stated that Westchester County regularly supplies materials needed for trail work.


          It was then moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council approve the adoption by the Conference of the 6.4 miles of trails in Cranberry Lake Preserve in Westchester County.


                   f.  Hunt-Parker Memorial Sanctuary.  Jane Daniels reported that the Trail Conference has been requested to take over the maintenance of the 4.6 miles of trails in the Hunt-Parker Memorial Sanctuary in Westchester County, owned by the Bedford Audubon Society.  She noted that all the trails in this sanctuary are for foot traffic only and that no dogs are allowed in the sanctuary.  Jane Daniels pointed out that the Bedford Audubon Society owns other preserves in Westchester County and that the Trail Conference may be asked in the future to assume the maintenance of the trails in these preserves, but that for now, we are being asked only to maintain the trails in this one sanctuary.


          Daniel Chazin pointed out that, at the December 2, 2010 Trails Council meeting, the Trails Council recommended to the Board that the Conference adopt the trails in several sanctuaries owned by the Bedford Audubon Society, including those in the Hunt-Parker Memorial Sanctuary, and that the adoption of these trails was approved by the Board at its meeting of December 14, 2010.  Accordingly, it was agreed that no action was required at this time by the Trails Council, as a decision had already been made to adopt these trails, and that the report presented by Jane Daniels was for informational purposes only.



          6.  Sawyer Training Status.  Walt Daniels reported that it is becoming harder to find trainers for chain-sawyers, since there is no “train the trainers” program.  David Day stated that, for work on the Appalachian Trail, we are effectively required to follow the U.S. Forest Service training program, but the budget for training has been cut on the federal level, with the result being that the National Park Service is using a program to train their sawyers which does not qualify for our purposes.  David Day pointed out that currently only one person, who resides in Michigan, is qualified to certify trainers, and that this person is generally unavailable.  He also noted that Jack Shuart, one of the two trainers that we currently use to certify sawyers, plans to retire from his position with the State of New Jersey within a year, and that he would no longer be available for training after he retires due to prohibitive insurance costs.  It was noted that many volunteers’ chainsaw certifications will expire in the near future.


          Walt Daniels reported that, at its recent meeting, the Mid-Atlantic Region of ATC voted to request that additional trainers be provided, but he pointed out that there are significant concerns regarding the cost of liability insurance for trainers.   John Mack commented that OPRHP rangers are currently being certified for chainsawing, but it was pointed out that they are certified for a logging program that differs from our needs, since it involves cutting standing rather than fallen trees.


          Sona Mason reported that Peter Jensen is offering two separate chainsaw recertification courses this year, one of which is comprised of two one-day “B” recertification classes.  She encouraged all “B” chainsawyers in need of recertification to take these courses.  Jane Daniels suggested that someone be waitlisted for each day that the course is offered, so that if a person who registered does not show up, the person on the wait list would be able to attend instead.  David Day suggested that we charge for the courses, with the fee being refunded to those who successfully compete the course or used to purchase such items as chaps or hard hats.


          After discussion, it was agreed that the Chainsaw Committee, rather than the staff, would determine who would be asked to take the chainsaw recertification courses, and that the first priority would be the recertification of “B” chainsawyers, with the second priority being the upgrading of the certification of “A” chainsawyers to “B” chainsawyers, and the third priority being the certification of new “A” chainsawyers, preferably in areas where we currently have few chainsawyers.  It was noted that Jack Shuart could probably schedule another two-day chainsaw certification course this year.



          7.  Discussion of Restructuring of Trails Council.  Jane Daniels continued the discussion on the restructuring of the Trails Council that had been begun at the last Trails Council meeting.  It was noted that many members of the Trails Council who live near the Trail Conference office regularly attend Trails Council meetings, but that those who live over an hour away (such as those in the Catskill region) generally do not attend Trails Council meetings.


          Chris Connolly noted that tonight’s meeting was attended by ten regional Trails Chairs, which is more than usual.  He suggested that all Trails Chairs be requested to attend an annual meeting.  Jakob Franke noted that it had previously been suggested that Trails Council meetings be held in different locations.  Gary Haugland stated that this was once tried out but did not succeed in attracting new attendees.  Howie Liebmann suggested that those who live further away could participate by teleconference.  Daniel Chazin noted that teleconferencing is currently used for Board meetings and other Trail Conference committee meetings.  Walt Daniels pointed out that the current Trails Council deals well with “on the ground” issues but not with policy issues, which require a different set of skills.  Chris Connolly noted that at an ATC meeting that he recently attended, the staff prepared a very detailed agenda that facilitated discussion, and he recommended that the Trails Council consider adopting a similar system.


          Jane Daniels commented that the people who do not regularly attend Trails Council meetings are the ones who most strongly support regional meetings for the Trails Council.  In response to a question, it was stated that, at the regional meetings, there could be discussion of the Plan and Budget, as well as regional concerns, and that those attending the regional meetings could also make recommendations on policy issues.  Chris Connolly suggested that regional meetings could discuss partner relations and priorities within the region and would be supported by the Program Coordinators.  It was suggested that the two-thirds of the Trails Council members who do not regularly attend Trails Council meetings be asked what would encourage them to participate more fully.  It was also commented that the content of Trails Council meetings needs to be improved.  Gary Haugland suggested that trail approvals be dealt with by the regional committees and that the full Trails Council primarily discuss policy issues.  He also endorsed the concept of a survey of Trails Council members to consider the needs and desires of those who do not currently attend meetings.


          A question was raised as to the need for the entire Trails Council to approve all new trails and relocations, since it is extremely rare for a new trail or relocation not to be approved by the Trails Council.  It was also commented that much discussion at Trails Council meetings is unfocused and difficult to understand, and it was recommended that supporting materials for new trails and relocations be sent out by e-mail in advance of the meeting.


          Jane Daniels agreed to help compile a survey to all Trails Council members regarding the above issues.


          8.  Next Trails Council Meeting.  The next Trails Council meeting will be held on Thursday, June 5, 2014.


          9.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:03 p.m.


                                                                             Respectfully submitted,


                                                                             Daniel D. Chazin