Trails Council Meeting - February 2, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 6:30am - 9:00am
Trails Council

Please Note:

Social hour begins at 5:30!  Enjoy some refreshments and socialize prior to the meeting. 


New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Trails Council 
February 2, 2012 - 6:30 PM

(Rain Date - Wednesday, February 8)


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 "rain check" 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.


  • Introductions

o New Supervisor for Rockaway NYC area – Bob Ward

o New Supervisor for Westchester Trails – Mary Dodds

  • Announcements

o “I Love My Park”, a Parks and Trails NY event on May 5th – Jane Daniels


  • Approval of minutes 
  • Additions to agenda


  • Conservation and Advocacy 
  • Publications
  • Program Coordinators
  • Volunteer Committee
  • Web Team Report

Old Business

1. Draft Bridge Policy – Walt Daniels (attachment below)

2. Progress of Trails University – Jeff Senterman

3. Minnewaska LP update – Jakob Franke (attachments below)

4. Franklin Lakes Nature Reserve trails update - John Moran (attachment below)


Trail Approvals and Updates

1. Approval of the Baywater Trail – Rockaway, NYC – Bob Ward

2. Approval for Green trail spur in John Hand Park in Westchester – Leigh Draper

3. Change LP section on Schunemunk to Hil Mar Trail – Patty Lee Parmalee & Jakob Franke (attachment below)

4. Sections of the Finger Lakes Trail for adoption – Jeff Senterman (2 attachments below)

5. Relocation of LP at Route 202 in Mt. Ivy, Rockland County – Jakob Franke (attachment below)

6. Relocation of a Major Welch Trail Section on Bear Mtn - John Mack (attachment below)



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



February 2, 2012


          1.  Trails Council Chair Pete Heckler called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Pete Heckler - Chair, Ed Goodell - Executive Director, Leigh Draper - East Hudson Program Coordinator, Chris Ingui - New Jersey Program Coordinator, Jeff Senterman - Catskills Program Coordinator, Georgette Weir - Communications Manager, Larry Wheelock - West Hudson Program Coordinator, Alan Abramowitz,  Estelle Anderson, Andrew Argeski, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Jane Daniels, Walt Daniels, David Day, Monica Day, Mary Dodds, Jakob Franke, Brenda Holzinger, Bob Jonas, Ron Luna, John Mack, John Moran, Glenn Oleksak, Patty Lee Parmalee, Joel Pinsker, Chris Reyling, Keith Scherer, Frank Schoof, Andrew Seirup, Rich Taylor, Bob Ward and Pete Zuroff.


          Pete Heckler thanked Estelle Anderson for her suggestion that a Social Hour be held beginning one hour prior to the start of Trails Council meetings.  He welcomed Mary Dodd, the new Supervisor for Westchester Trails, and Bob Ward, the new Supervisor for the Rockaway area in Queens (New York City).  Chris Ingui welcomed Pete Zuroff, who will be Chair of the New Jersey Roving Chainsaw Crew. 


          Pete Heckler noted that, in the event of inclement winter weather, Trails Council meetings will be postponed to the following Thursday (or Wednesday, in the event that a Delegates’ Meeting would be held on that Thursday).  


          2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of December 1, 2011 were approved as submitted.


          3.  Announcements and Presentations.  The following announcements and presentations were made:


                   a.  Parks and Trails New York.   Jane Daniels announced that Parks and Trails New York is sponsoring a “I Love My Park” Day on Saturday, May 5th.  She noted that more information is available at, and she pointed out that an event will be held in Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown on this day.  She urged all Trails Chairs and Supervisors for parks in New York State to work with their park to get an event scheduled for this date in their park.



          Chris Connolly presented Jane Daniels with a framed map of Westchester County in recognition of her dedicated work to expand the trail network in Westchester County.


                   b.  Earth Day.  Walt Daniels announced that a special program entitled “Earth Day 2012 - Mobilize the Earth," sponsored by Earth Day Network, will be held on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd, and he urged Trails Council members to participate in this program.   More details can be found at


                   c.  Youth Policy.  Pete Heckler announced that a question raised regarding the Youth Policy at the last Trails Council meeting has been researched and that it has been determined that it is acceptable if the second adult accompanying youth at a Trail Conference project is a Boy Scout leader, rather than a representative of the Trail Conference.



          4.  Reports.  The following reports were presented:


                   a.  Report of Conservation and Advocacy Committee.  Chris Connolly reported that the Conservation and Advocacy Committee has recommended that a separate Advocacy Committee be established.


                   b.  Report of Publications Committee.  Daniel Chazin reported that the new 2012 edition of the North Jersey Trails map set was printed in December, that the new edition of the Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails map set should be sent to the printer in the next few days, and that work is underway on new editions of the Hudson Palisades Trails and East Hudson Trails map sets, which should be sent to the printer in the next month or two.


                   c.  Report of Volunteer Committee.  Estelle Anderson reported that the Volunteer Committee is working with staff to develop a better method of screening potential Trail Conference volunteers.  She also reminded everyone that the deadline for award nominations is July 1st.  Pete Heckler encouraged Trails Council members to nominate deserving individuals for these awards.  Estelle Anderson also noted that deserving volunteers can be presented with the Distinguished Service Award, which does not require Board approval and can be presented at any time.


                   d.  Web Team Report.  Walt Daniels stated that there is nothing new to report.  Larry Wheelock and several Trails Council members reported that they had problems when they tried to download attachments to the Trails Council agenda that had been posted to the Trail Conference website.



                   e.  Report of New Jersey Program Coordinator.  Chris Ingui reported that the new Roving Chainsaw Crew will be able to assist with the removal of blowdowns on trails throughout New Jersey.   He thanked Monica and David Day for their efforts in restoring the Black Creek bridge on the A.T.   He also reported that the Trail Conference is applying for two Recreational Trails Grants in New Jersey – for the restoration of the Cedar Swamp Boardwalk and replacement of Long Pond Ironworks bridge.


          Chris Ingui also reported that Public Service Electric and Gas Company is seeking to expand the right of way and height of their power lines through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey.  He noted that several Trail Conference representatives appeared at recent hearings to support “no build” option, and he stated that there is a real chance that permission to build the expanded power lines may be denied.


          Chris Ingui also reported that the application of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company to widen their existing pipeline in New Jersey, which traverses a number of parks and crosses various trails, is proceeding.  He noted that the State will be receiving $7 million from the pipeline company, Bergen County will be receiving $700,000, and the Trail Conference has been offered $150,000 to be used to mitigate the damage caused to the trails in the area by the construction of the pipeline.  He stated that, at its meeting this past Tuesday, the Trail Conference Board voted to accept this donation.  Daniel Chazin pointed out that, by the acceptance of this donation, the Trail Conference has not agreed to take any position on the pipeline and that the only restriction is that the funds must be used to improve trails in the general area of the pipeline crossings.  In response to a question from John Moran, Chris Ingui emphasized that acceptance and use of this money by the Trail Conference would not exempt the pipeline company from fulfilling its own obligations to restore the trails in the area of the pipeline.


                   f.  Report of Catskills Program Coordinator.  Jeff Senterman reported that he is writing articles about trails in the Catskills for Catskill Mountain Region Guide magazine and for Kaatskill Life magazine, and he distributed copies of his most recent column in the Catskill Mountain Region Guide magazine to members of the Trails Council.  He requested that Trails Council members submit to him any information appropriate for inclusion in these articles about trails in the Catskill Region (Ulster, Greene, Sullivan, Delaware and Schoharie Counties).  Jeff Senterman also reported that he is providing Kaatskill Life with details of Trail Conference events for listing in their Community Calendar, and he requested that any events that should be included in the spring 2012 issue of this magazine be sent to him by February 15th.



          Jeff Senterman also reported that, on Sunday, May 20th, he will be holding a Trail Maintenance 101 workshop in Stamford, New York, in partnership with the Headwaters Trails organization and the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce.  He explained that this workshop is aimed primarily at volunteers and users of the Headwaters Trails in the Stamford area.  He also reported that he is working with the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce to increase cooperation and coordination between trail organizations in the area.


          Jeff Senterman reported that a Forest Preserve Advisory Committee meeting will be held tomorrow (Friday, February 3rd), and that, at that meeting, the Trail Conference and the Kaaterskill Rail Trail Committee will be making a presentation on the progress of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail.  He stated that this project will be used to help show the need for greater connections between communities and Forest Preserve.


          Finally, Jeff Senterman reported that we are waiting on final approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the adoption of several miles of trails and a lean-to in the Catskills, and for the approval of two proposed trail relocations.


                   g.  Report of West Hudson Program Coordinator.  Larry Wheelock reported that 19 workshops have been planned for the spring in the West Hudson area, including rock work training workshops at Bear Mountain.  He noted that anyone interested in attending these workshops at Bear Mountain must first attend an orientation session.  He also noted that a Trail Maintenance 101 workshop has been scheduled for the Hil-Mar Lodge on Sunday, May 20th, that another workshop will be held in Port Jervis on Saturday, May 12th, and that Chris Reyling will be running an invitation-only workshop at Fitzgerald Falls.


                   h.  Report of East Hudson Program Coordinator.  Leigh Draper reported that the Eagle Fest event will be held this weekend at Croton Point Park and in Peekskill, and that the Banff Film Festival will be held in March.  She asked for volunteers to help represent the Trail Conference at these events.  She also noted that Christina from Van Cortlandt Park will be giving a workshop on preparing a master plan for the park in connection with next week’s Delegates’ Meeting.  Finally, she announced that, on Sunday, March 25th, a workshop entitled “Facilitating a Workshop - Training Instructors” will be held at the Trail Conference office.


          5.   Bridge Policy.  Walt Daniels noted that the Bridge Policy is designed merely to establish a set of ground rules, and that each park will still decide what the requirements for bridges in that park are. 


          He explained that, under the revised draft of the Bridge Policy circulated to the Trails Council prior to the meeting, bridges have been divided into three classifications – standard (that can be built by anyone, following standard specifications), custom, and engineered (large fiberglass truss or cable suspension bridges that require special engineering).  He also pointed out that the revised draft makes it clear that the term “puncheons” refers to structures that are very close to the ground, while bridges are located higher above the ground.  Walt Daniels also pointed out that most of our trails are located in what is generally defined as “front country,” since they are less than a mile from a road.  As a result, he explained, the revised policy proposes that we substitute the term “built environment” for areas that are subjected to higher use.  There was discussion as to the definition of “built environment.” 


          Chris Connolly raised the issue of the extent to which the Trail Conference should assume liability for bridges that we construct.  Monica Day questioned the necessity of having bridges approved by a certified professional engineer, noting that, under the draft policy, this requirement would apply to all bridges that are “custom” or “engineered,” and that requiring review by an engineer could result in the Conference incurring a large expense.  Andrew Argensi recommended that this requirement be eliminated from the policy.  John Mack questioned how the “25-year flood level” can be determined.  David Day pointed out that the Pochuck Boardwalk, which was designed to withstand a 100-year flood, floated well above the water level during Hurricane Irene.


          Pete Heckler encouraged all members of the Trails Council to think about these questions and review the draft Bridge Policy, which will be discussed further at the next Trails Council meeting.


          6.  Trails University Curriculum Redesign.  Jeff Senterman pointed to the many workshops included in Program Coordinator reports as an example of the breadth of our Trails University program.  He stated that he is working to supplement and improve the workshops that are being offered.


          Jeff Senterman reported that, following the December Trails Council meeting,  he gathered input regarding the redesign of the curriculum for Trails University and created a scoping document for Tahawus Trails, which was used by Tahawus Trails to develop their final scope of work.  He pointed out that members have been solicited for the review subcommittees for each of the four new courses - Trail Evaluation, Tread & Drainage, Trail Structures, and Trail Design and Layout – as well as for the Trail Maintenance 101 and Leadership Training courses, and that invitations to participate in the review subcommittees have already been sent out.  Jeff Senterman commented all subcommittees should start their work by the end of February, and he stated that the development of the new courses would be a collaborative process.


          Jeff Senterman explained that the curriculum for Trail Maintenance 101 will be updated, but that the course will retain its basic structure.  He noted that he is developing ideas for the Leadership Training course, including how to work with volunteers and with the Trail Conference, and stated that there will also be an upcoming session on training the trainers.  He also noted that all four of the new courses will be initially taught by Tahawus Trails, and that the courses would then be evaluated by the subcommittees to determine whether changes need to be made.  He explained that, because we are starting from scratch on developing a Leadership Training course, it is likely that this course will not be offered until the fall.  Jeff Senterman distributed copies of a document entitled "Trails University - Status Update" to interested members of the Trails Council. 


          Jane Daniels pointed out that the Trails Council is responsible for training and urged all members of the Trails Council to review the proposed curriculum and make suggestions.  Monica Day suggested that a plan for follow-up and retention be included as part of the training plan.


          7.  Trail Approvals.  The following new trails and reroutes were presented:


                   a.  Long Path Reroute in Minnewaska State Park.  Jakob Franke outlined the planned reroute of the Long Path in Minnewaska State Park, from the Sam’s Point Preserve to Berme Road.  He explained that work on this new trail has been completed, with the exception of a short section leading down to Berme Road.  He noted that we recently obtained permission from the State to complete the final section that descends to Berme Road, and stated that as soon as work on this section is completed (probably during the spring), the new route of the Long Path to Berme Road would be opened, and the existing Long Path route from Sam’s Point through Minnewaska State Park would be deblazed as such.  He pointed out that the existing route of the Long Path through the park will remain but become three distinct trails, with different blazes, and he noted that the Park has given us permission to co-align the Shawangunk Ridge Trail with these trails, provided that markers are installed only at junctions and at infrequent intervals.  Jakob Franke also explained that the Long Path route would temporarily follow Lundy Road and Rogue Harbor Road and then continue on the existing roadwalk, but that the intent is to build a new trail through Vernooy Kill State Forest and Sundown Wild Forest to link up with the Catskills.  Larry Wheelock pointed out that bushwhacking is permitted in these state forests and noted that unmarked trails or woods roads do exist for most of the proposed Long Path route.  Jakob Franke, however, pointed out that a bridge is missing in at least one location along the Vernooy Kill, and he commented that even if the bridge across the Vernooy Kill on Cutler Road is utilized, several miles would need to be traversed without the benefit of any marked trails.


                   b.  Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve.  John Moran reported that he, with the assistance of Chris Connolly, Jakob Franke and others, has reopened the trail around the lake that was formerly known as the Haledon Reservoir in the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve, which had become impassible, and that this trail has been named the Preserve Shoreline Loop.  He noted that another trail, called the Island Bridges Trail, also exists in the Preserve, although two bridges are missing.


                   c.  Bayswater Trail in Far Rockaway.  Bob Ward outlined the route of the Bayswater Trail in the Bayswater Natural Area in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York.  He explained that the trail starts on State property and continues along the edge of the water.  He also stated that the intent is to extend the trail further in the future, and pointed out that the trail is accessible by both subway and bus.  After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Bayswater Trail in Far Rockaway be adopted by the Trail Conference.  This motion was seconded and unanimously carried.


                   d.  Trail up Bald Mountain in John Hand County Park.  Leigh Draper explained that while the Trail Conference recently adopted the Teatown-Kitchawan Trail in Westchester County, it did not adopt a short side trail in John Hand County Park that leads from this trail up Bald Mountain.  She explained that this trail is less than a half mile in length and that it is currently blazed in various colors.  She stated that, if adopted by the Trail Conference, the trail will be reblazed in a uniform color that has not yet been determined.  Jane Daniels suggested that the trail be blazed in some color other than green, so as not to confuse hikers who are coming off of the green-blazed Teatown-Kitchawan Trail.  After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the trail up Bald Mountain in John Hand County Park be adopted by the Trail Conference. 


                   e.  Long Path Reroute on Schunemunk Mountain.  Patty Lee Parmalee explained that a section of the Long Path on Schunemunk Mountain will soon be relocated to a new route that will extend south along the Jessup Trail, rather than north along the western ridge of the mountain and then west down to the Hil-Mar Resort on Clove Road.  She proposed that the former route of the Long Path be blazed orange and renamed the Hil-Mar Trail to honor the Hengst family, whose property is traversed by the trail. Larry Wheelock pointed out that members of the Hengst family had originally constructed the trail leading up the west side of the mountain, and he commented that it would be appropriate to name the trail after the resort owned by this family. 


          Daniel Chazin pointed out that the section of this trail that runs along the western ridge of the mountain was formerly called the Western Ridge Trail, and he proposed that the historical name for this trail be restored.  This suggestion was not accepted by the Trails Council.  Daniel Chazin also suggested that, if the Western Ridge Trail name is not accepted for the trail section that runs along the western ridge of the mountain, consideration be given to renaming the short spur trail that crosses the mountain and is now called the Western Ridge Trail.


          In response to a question by Chris Connolly, Larry Wheelock pointed out that the Hil-Mar Resort, which the Long Path passes through on the way down to Clove Road, is currently up for sale.  He noted that the owner would consider selling a trail corridor along the side of the property to the Trail Conference, and he also pointed out that there is a land-locked parcel near the trail route, further up the mountain, that could perhaps be acquired by the Trail Conference.


          After further discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that, effective upon the relocation of the Long Path on Schunemunk Mountain, and contingent on Park approval, the former route of the Long Path along the western ridge of the mountain and down to Clove Road be blazed orange and renamed the Hil-Mar Trail.  Jakob Franke noted that he had repeatedly contacted Jeff Hutchinson, Park Manager, to advise him of this proposed change but had not received any response from him.


                   f.  Adoption of Trails in Western Catskills.  Jeff Senterman explained that, several weeks ago, he was approached by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and asked whether the Trail Conference would consider adopting two trail sections in the western Catskills that are part of the Finger Lakes Trail.  He stated that the trails proposed to be adopted by the Trail Conference are the 3.7-mile Touch-Me-Not Trail and the 8.1-mile trail section that extends from the end of the Mill Brook Ridge Trail on Balsam Lake Mountain to the northern end of the driveable section of Black Bear Road and includes portions of the Balsam Lake Mountain, Dry Brook Ridge and Neversink-Hardenburgh Trails.  He pointed out that these trails were maintained by the Trail Conference a number of years ago but that, at the request of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, we turned over to them the responsibility for maintaining these trails.  He also noted that the section of the Neversink-Hardenburg Trail proposed to be adopted is one of the few relatively level trail sections in the Catskills.


          Jeff Senterman pointed out that, at present, these trails are maintained by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  He stated that, for the present, we would be maintaining these trails on behalf of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, but that we would work to change the “paperwork” so that these trails would come under our own MOU with the DEC in the future.


          After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trail Conference adopt the following two trails in the western Catskills: the 3.7-mile Touch-Me-Not Trail, and the 8.1-mile trail section that extends from the end of the Mill Brook Ridge Trail on Balsam Lake Mountain to the northern end of the driveable section of Black Bear Road and includes portions of the Balsam Lake Mountain, Dry Brook Ridge and Neversink-Hardenburgh Trails.  This motion was seconded and unanimously carried.

                   g.  Relocation of Long Path in Mt. Ivy.  Jakob Franke explained that the Long Path currently follows Route 202 and a ramp that is part of Exit 13 of the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Mt. Ivy.  He explained his proposal to relocate the trail in this area to a sidewalk on the north side of Route 202 and to a footpath through a wooded area inside the loop of the ramp, which would eliminate about a quarter mile of roadwalking.  Jane Daniels questioned the safety of crossing the Parkway exit ramp, but Jakob Franke stated that the use of the trail section is very light, and that visibility of approaching traffic is reasonably good.  It was also noted that the Long Path currently crosses the ramp in the same place that it would cross if the relocation is approved.


          After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the proposed reroute of the Long Path in Mt. Ivy, at Exit 13 of the Palisades Interstate Parkway, be approved by the Trails Council.


                   h.  Relocation of Major Welch Trail in Bear Mountain State Park.  John Mack explained his proposal to relocate two short sections of the Major Welch Trail in Bear Mountain State Park.  He noted that the first relocation substitutes a 1,900-foot-long switchback for a rocky and eroded section of the trail, and that the second relocation involves constructing a parallel route to 150 feet of trail.  In response to a question by Jane Daniels, John Mack stated that steps would be taken to remediate the old sections of trail that are being abandoned. 


          After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the two proposed relocations of the Major Welch Trail in Bear Mountain State Park be approved by the Trails Council, contingent on the approval of these reroutes by the Park.


          8.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 p.m.


                                                                             Respectfully submitted,



                                                                             Daniel D. Chazin

NYNJTCBridgePolicy.pdf175.52 KB
Bridge Policy.ppt2.14 MB
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