Trails Council Meeting April 2, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Trails Council
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Trails Council
April 2, 2009 - 6:30 PM
Draft Agenda

The Trails Council is a forum for discussing trail-related projects and concerns as well as sharing information and strategies. It makes decisions concerning the adopting 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, held on the first Thursday of even-numbered months.

Please submit items at least one week before the meeting. We will try to accommodate late submissions at the end of the meeting if there is time.


• Introductions
• Announcements:
• Approval of minutes of the February 5, 2009 meeting
• Additions to agenda

New Business

• Effects of the down turned economy on the Trail Conference - Ed Goodell 6:45
Committee Reports 7:15
• Publications
• Regional Reps
• Trail Chairs Roundtable
• Trail Chairs Reports
Trail Approvals 7:45
• Cannonball reroute - Brian Sniatowski
• Mountainside Park trail adoption - Bob Jonas
• Sterling Forest - Allis relocation off of pipeline - Pete Tilgner
• Trail Updates for the Bare Rock and other Sterling Forest Trails - Pete Tilgner

Old Business

• Reminder about ATV/illegal usage report form on Web--Brenda

Discussion: 8:30

• Our precious maintainers - Jack Driller

Some suggested agenda items for the June meeting:

Sandwiches and beverages will be served.

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.

Jane Daniels - Chair, Ed Goodell - Executive Director; Christie Ferguson - East Hudson Regional Representative, Brenda Holzinger - New Jersey Regional Representative; Larry Wheelock - West Hudson Regional Representative, Estelle Anderson, Jill Arbuckle, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Walt Daniels, Monica Day, Jack Driller, Jakob Franke, Andy Garrison, Joseph J. Giglio, Gary Haugland, Gordon Hoekstra, Bob Jonas, Mark Liss, Ron Luna, John Mack, John Magerlein, Paul Makus, John Moran, Glenn Oleksak, Sandy Parr, Larry Paul, J. Cal Rizzuto, Adam Rosenberg, Manny Silberberg, Ike Siskind and Pete Tilgner.


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April 2, 2009


          1.  Trails Council Chair Jane Daniels called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Jane Daniels - Chair, Ed Goodell - Executive Director; Christie Ferguson - East Hudson Regional Representative, Brenda Holzinger - New Jersey Regional Representative; Larry Wheelock - West Hudson Regional Representative, Estelle Anderson, Jill Arbuckle, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Walt Daniels, Monica Day, Jack Driller, Jakob Franke, Andy Garrison, Joseph J. Giglio, Gary Haugland, Gordon Hoekstra, Bob Jonas, Mark Liss, Ron Luna, John Mack, John Magerlein, Paul Makus, John Moran, Glenn Oleksak, Sandy Parr, Larry Paul, J. Cal Rizzuto, Adam Rosenberg, Manny Silberberg, Ike Siskind and Pete Tilgner. She asked everyone to introduce themselves.


          2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of February 5, 2009 were approved as submitted.


          3.  Announcements.  The following announcements were made:


                   a.  Scenic Byway Designation of Palisades Interstate Parkway and Henry Hudson Drive.  Daniel Chazin reported that, on Tuesday, March 31st, a meeting was held at the Fort Lee Historic Park to discuss the recent Scenic Byway designation of the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the Henry Hudson Drive.  He pointed out that the designation includes not only the roads themselves, but also other features immediately adjacent to these roads, including the Long Path along the Palisades cliffs and the Shore Trail along the Hudson River. 


          Daniel Chazin pointed out that, during the next year, a Corridor Management Plan will be developed. He explained that this plan is designed to "identify the goals and suggest ways to begin to accomplish them," and to "outline a course of action."  He noted that there will be additional meetings during the course of this year, and that all groups having an interest in the plan are invited to participate.  He also pointed out that only projects that advance the goals developed in the Corridor Management Plan are likely to receive funding.


          Daniel Chazin commented that it was important for the Trail Conference to be involved in this planning process, and he invited Chris Connolly, Supervisor for the Shore Trail, and Jakob Franke, Long Path South Chair, to attend future meetings of this group.


          4.  New Business.  The following items were discussed:


                   a.  Strategic Planning Retreat.  Jane Daniels announced that, this past weekend, the Board of the Trail Conference held a Strategic Planning Retreat.  She reviewed with the Trails Council the purpose of the retreat and the goals agreed upon by the Board at the retreat, which include recognition of the value of volunteers to the organization.  She pointed out that, so far, the Board has only enunciated general goals, and that additional work is needed to formulate objectives and a work plan to achieve them.  She also responded to various questions by members of the Trails Council. 


          Jane Daniels pointed out that our consultant, Shelli Bischoff-Turner, will be attending the April Board meeting and the June Delegates' meeting.  She also noted that staff, Board members and other volunteers will all be involved in formulating these objectives and work plan, and she asked that anyone who wishes to be involved in this process talk to her.  She also stated that she hoped that the work plan would be formulated, at least in part, by August, so that its implementation could begin in the next fiscal year.


                   b.  Effects of the Downturned Economy on the Trail Conference.   Ed Goodell reported that, in light of the financial downturn experienced by the Trail Conference, five positions have been eliminated, and the remaining staff has been required to take two furlough days a month (a 10% furlough).  He explained that funds raised from the Capital Campaign are beginning to run out, and that we need to raise additional unrestricted funds to take their place.  He also noted that we acquired trail lands worth about $2 million with the expectation of selling them to the State of New York, but that there have been significant delays in this process.  As a result, he stated, the Land Acquisition and Stewardship Fund is now indebted to the rest of the organization in the approximate amount of $400,000.  He also stated that the Trail Conference's investments have declined about $80,000 in value since the start of the fiscal year.


          Ed Goodell stated that as of last December 31st, we were still on budget, but income - especially unrestricted donations - significantly decreased in January, February and March. He explained that therefore we had to take a hard look at our budget and, as a result, we had to terminate three employees and abandon plans to hire two additional employees.  He noted that the regional representatives still remain to serve volunteers and that a fundraising person has been hired, and he stated that we renewing our efforts to raise additional funds. 


          In response to a question by Jack Driller, Ed Goodell stated that it is not easy to place volunteers in positions where they would replace paid employees, since many of the tasks performed by these employees require extensive training.


          Jane Daniels encouraged all Trails Council members to contribute towards the cost of the food that was provided for the meeting.


          5.  Reports.  The following reports were presented:


                   a.  Report of Publications Committee.           Daniel Chazin reported that the Walkable Westchester book by Jane and Walt Daniels - a comprehensive guide to walking and hiking in Westchester County -- is now available.  He also reported that work is nearly completed on the new digital edition of the Kittatinny Trails map set. He noted that a copy of the final version of all four maps is available for review, and he stated that the maps should be printed during the month of April. John Mack reported that we hope to send the revised edition of our North Jersey map set to the printer in about two months.  He stated that we have most of the data needed to update the eastern map (Map #115) but still need additional data for the western map (Map #116).  Daniel Chazin noted that the revised edition of the Hudson-Palisades map set should be sent to the printer in about another three months.


          Daniel Chazin also noted that we are working on a new digital edition of our Catskill Trails map set, but he stated that these new maps will not be ready by the time that we run out of our present supply of Catskill maps in the spring.  As a result, he pointed out, we will be reprinting our existing analog edition of the Catskill Trails map set. In response to a question, Daniel Chazin confirmed that we also are working on the production of a new "North Jersey South" or "Central Jersey" map set, which will cover parks in Morris County, including Pyramid Mountain.


                   b.  Report of West Hudson Regional Representative.  Larry Wheelock reported that chainsaw certification workshop scheduled for this coming weekend has been cancelled due to a misunderstanding by one of the instructors as to payment for his services.  He noted, however, that the November course will be held as scheduled.  He also announced that the Basic First Aid and CPR course held on Sunday, March 21st was completely subscribed, with 12 participants, but that some room is still available in the April 19th course.  He stated that the cost of these courses is $60, and that although the Board agreed that the Conference would subsidize the cost of volunteers attending the course, we are requesting that volunteers pay the cost themselves, if they are able to do so.  Finally, Larry Wheelock announced that a Trail Tools Techniques Day will be held on Sunday, July 11th, at the Weis Ecology Center, and he pointed out that this event will provide volunteers with the opportunity to share skills among each other.

          Larry Wheelock also reported that the three A.T. regional committees have formed a coordinating committee, composed of each region's chair and the three regional representatives, and that this committee will make important decisions affecting the entire A.T. in New York and New Jersey.


                   c.  Report of East Hudson Regional Representative.  Christie Ferguson reported that Hormoz Kheirabi has accepted the position of Supervisor for Westchester Trails and that all vacancies for maintainers in Westchester County have been filled.  She also reported that we sold $5,103 of raffles at the three Banff Film Festival events, all of which represents unrestricted income to the Trail Conference. 


          Christie Ferguson also reported that we received a $2,000 LL Bean grant for the Swamp River Boardwalk project. These funds are for hardwear materials to suplement donated materials.  Finally, she announced that there will be a trail opening event on National Trails Day (Saturday, June 6th), in Wonder Lake State Park for a new section of the Highlands Trail.


                   d.  Report of New Jersey Regional Representative.  Brenda Holzinger stated that there is no news yet regarding the budgetary status of New Jersey parks.  She also announced that there will be a celebration on Saturday, May 16th on the Delaware River in Riegelsville, PA to commemorate the beginning of the extension of the Highlands Trail into Pennsylvania.


          Brenda Holzinger called upon John Moran to report on the status of a parcel of land being acquired by the Borough of Ringwood.  John Moran explained that the borough has acquired a piece of property that will permit the completion of a circuit hike around Monksville Reservoir.  He pointed out that we have submitted to the borough a Memorandum of Understanding that would permit the construction of a trail on this property.


          Finally, Brenda Holzinger announced that the ATV legislation will be submitted to a vote in the New Jersey Assembly during the month of May and will also be considered by the Senate Environment Committee.  She poined out that, a few weeks ago, she testified in support of the bill before the Senate committee.


          In response to a question by Larry Wheelock, Brenda Holzinger commented that the Ridgerunner program for the AT is moving forward for this summer and 3 Ridgerunners have accepted positions.  However, the state budget process could have a negative effect on this program, and we will need to wait until mid-May when the budget is officially unveiled for an answer. 


          5.  Trail Approvals and Updates.  The following reports were presented:


                   a.  Adoption of Trails in Mountainside Park.  Bob Jonas outlined the trail system in Mountainside Park in Pequannock, New Jersey, adjacent to the Cedar Crest Retirement Community on Route 23.  He noted that, at present, the blazing of the trails in this park is confusing and the trail map provided is poor.  He pointed out that Dick Warner (former North Jersey Trails Chair who lives in Cedar Crest) borrowed a wheel and has measured the trails in this park. 


          Bob Jonas noted that, due to a misunderstanding, the Township of Pequannock initially was reluctant to have the Trail Conference adopt these trails.  However, he stated that the township recently hired new personnel to administer the park, and that he has met with them and they have now agreed to have the Trail Conference maintain these trails.  He stated that he will be drafting a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the maintenance of these trails that he will be submitting to the township, and he noted that the trails will be marked with metal tags. 


          Daniel Chazin commented that he has visited the park and was very impressed with its potential as a hiking area, although he concurred that the blazing of the trails needs substantial improvement.  Bob Jonas noted that the township may want to allow bicycles on the trails in this park but does not want ATVs on their parkland.  Chris Connolly commented that in view of the potential use of the trails by bicycles, the Trail Conference should not accept responsibility for the maintenance of bridges in this park.


          After discussion, Sandy Parr moved that the Trails Council recommend to the Board that the Trail Conference adopt the trail system in Mountainside Park in Pequannock, New Jersey.  John Moran seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.


                   b.  Reroute of Bearfort Waters-Clinton Trail around Buckabear Pond.  Bob Jonas explained that the Clinton West Trail (also the route of the Highlands Trail) follows an old road on an embankment across the outlet of Buckabear Pond.  He pointed out that, in recent years, the water level of the pond has increased, due to damming by beavers, and that, as a result, the trail across the embankment is often flooded, at least in part.  In addition, he noted, much of section of the yellow-blazed Bearfort Waters-Clinton Trail which runs along the west side of Buckabear Pond is under water and cannot be utilized as a foot trail.  However, he stated that the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation, which manages the Pequannock Watershed, does not want us to install a beaver baffle, which is needed to bring the water level down.


          Bob Jonas requested preliminary approval from the Trails Council to reroute this section of the Bearfort Waters-Clinton Trail higher up on the hillside (to the west of the present route).  He explained that he is only asking for preliminary approval of this reroute because he is still trying to obtain permission from the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation to remove the beaver dam that is causing the flooding.  After discussion, Sandy Parr moved that the Trails Council approve this proposed reroute.  Gary Haugland seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.


                   c.  Relocation of Allis Trail in Sterling Forest.  Pete Tilgner outlined a proposed reroute of the Allis Trail in Sterling Forest off of a gas pipeline.  He noted that the reroute (which extends north to a power line) goes through an attractive pine plantation and features an outstanding viewpoint.  He also noted that the existing trail is used by ATVs and that the proposed reroute would offer the hiker a significantly improved experience.  He also pointed out that the reroute has already been approved by the authorities in Albany and by the Park.  After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this reroute be approved by the Trails Council. 


                   d.  Extension of Bare Rock Trail in Sterling Forest.  Pete Tilgner reported that the western section of the Bare Rock Trail (which is about 2½ miles long and leads to a viewpoint over Greenwood Lake) has finally been approved by the authorities in Albany and by the Park and will be blazed and opened in the near future.  He noted that he believes that this trail was approved several years ago by the Trails Council, but asked that it be reapproved.  After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the extension of the Bare Rock Trail in Sterling Forest be approved by the Trails Council.


                   e.  Cedar Ridge Trail Extension in East Hudson Highlands. John Magerlein outlined a proposal to extend the Cedar Ridge Trail for 0.6 mile, across the adjacent Watergrass Sanctuary owned by the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society, to Route 9.  He noted that the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society has approved the extension of this trail across their property.  John Magerlein stated that, at the present time, there is no formal parking area on Route 9, but he noted that cars may be parked at roadside turnouts, and that a larger parking area may be provided there in the future. It was stated that, since this trail extension involves a landowner on whose property the Conference does not currently maintain trails, Board approval would be required.


          After a brief discussion, Walt Daniels moved that the Trails Council recommend to the Board that this extension of the Cedar Ridge Trail be adopted by the Conference.  This motion was seconded and unanimously carried.


          Chris Connolly commented that, in the case of every new trail, we should make every effort to secure approval to install signage recognizing the Trail Conference's work in constructing and maintaining the trail.  John Mack noted that the State of New York is working on a trails plan that would include uniform standards for trails.


          6.  Old Business.  The following items were discussed:


                   a.  New Trail Conference Website.  Walt Daniels stated that a report on the new website would be postponed to a future Trails Council meeting.


                   b.  Trail Problem Forms Available on the Website.  Brenda Holzinger showed the members of the Trails Council where "Report a Trail Problem" and "Illegal Usage Problem" forms are available on the Trail Conference's website.  She stated that all the data will be collected in a database, and she stressed the importance of using these online forms to report problems with trail conditions (rather than submitting such reports in another format).


                   c.  Mountain Bikes and and Trails Policy.  Discussion of this item was postponed to the June Trails Council meeting.


          7.  Discussion.  The following item was discussed:


                   a.  Rewarding Precious Maintainers.  Jack Driller led an interactive discussion on "rewarding precious maintainers."  Jane Daniels pointed out that the Volunteer Committee had considered awarding long-term volunteers some tangible item of recognition, but that this project has been put on hold in view of the current financial condition of the Trail Conference. 


          Several Trails Council members commented that the Trails Council should hold an expanded discussion of volunteers and their role in the Trail Conference.  It was agreed that such a discussion would take place at a future Trails Council meeting.  Jane Daniels suggested that all volunteers be thanked for their contributions during National Volunteer Week in April.


          8.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:06 p.m.


                                                          Respectfully submitted,



                                                          Daniel D. Chazin

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Re: Trails Council Meeting April 2, 2009

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