Trails Council Meeting - June 2, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Trails Council

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Trails Council
June 2, 2011 - 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 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, 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 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
  • Announcements
  • Approval of minutes 
  • Additions to agenda


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

New Business

  1. Long Path Regional Chair Positions

Old Business                                                                                                                                     

  1. Long Path Committee Chair Appointment – Jakob Franke, Andy Garrison       
  2. West Hudson North Committee Chair appointment – Patty Lee Parmalee

Trail Approvals and Updates

  1. Wonder Lake Trails Update and Approval – Andy Seirup
  2. Highlands Trail updates for Putnam County – Gary Haugland

For Discussion

  • Trail Worker discussion 


Sandwiches and beverages will be served. Donations 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

June 2, 2011

    1.  Trails Council Chair Pete Heckler called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Pete Heckler - Chair, Chris Ingui - New Jersey Program Coordinator, Leigh Draper - East Hudson Program Coordinator, Larry Wheelock - West Hudson Program Coordinator, Catherine Gemmell - Database Coordinator, Estelle Anderson, Jill Arbuckle, Jim Canfield, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Walt Daniels, David Day, Monica Day, Les Ferguson, Jakob Franke, Andy Garrison, Gary Haugland, Pete Heckler, Bob Jonas, John Mack, Paul Makus, Ken Malkin, John Moran, Sandy Parr, Joel Pinsker, Andrew Seirup, Brian Sniatkowski, Richard Taylor and Don Tripp.

    2.  Announcements.  The following announcements were made:

        a.  Hudson River Valley Ramble.  Walt Daniels announced that in mid- to late September, there are a number of events scheduled for the Hudson River Valley Ramble.  He noted that he and his wife Jane generally lead hikes for this event, and he encouraged others to do so, so that the Trail Conference would have a strong presence at these events.  He asked that all those interested in leading hikes contact him or Jane.  Larry Wheelock pointed out that our Development Director, Kevin Melchionne, hopes to enhance the participation of the Trail Conference at these events and is looking for additional volunteers from the Trail Conference to lead hikes.

        b.  Opening of Accessible Trail on Bear Mountain.  Larry Wheelock announced that the new handicapped-accessible trail at the summit of Bear Mountain will be officially opened this coming Saturday, June 4th, and that the opening ceremony will be followed by a Delegates’ meeting on the lawn outside the Bear Mountain Inn.

        c.  Trudy Schneider.  Larry Wheelock informed the Trails Council that Trudy Schneider recently fell and broke her hip.  A card was circulated so that members of the Trails Council would have the opportunity to express their wishes to her for a speedy recovery.

    3.  Minutes.  The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of April 7, 2011 were approved as submitted.

    4.  Reports.  The following reports were presented:

        a.  Report of Conservation and Advocacy Committee.  Andy Garrison reported that the Conservation and Advocacy Committee is working on mapping our long-distance trails and securing landowner agreements.  He also pointed out that 389 acres on the Shawangunk Ridge are being transferred from the Trail Conference to the State of New York.  Larry Wheelock noted that the Trail Conference is scheduled to receive over $1.5 million from the sale of this property to the State, and he pointed out that a portion of these funds would be used to replenish the Land Acquisition and Stewardship Fund.

        b.  Report of Publications Committee.     Daniel Chazin reported that the new Jersey Highlands Trails – Central North Region map set has been printed and is available.

        c.  Report of East Hudson Program Coordinator.  Leigh Draper reported that workshops have been held in Van Cortlandt Park on the first Saturday of each month, and that this Saturday, the project of installing new stone stairs will be led by volunteers.  She also noted that, so far this year, six workshops have been held in the East Hudson area, and that there will be an event with IBM next month.  

        d.  Report of West Hudson Program Coordinator.  At Larry Wheelock’s request, Jacob Franke reported that he and Andy Garrison recently walked the proposed Long Path reroute in the Witches Hole area of Minnewaska State Park with representatives of the State, and they are currently awaiting the approval of the route.  Larry Wheelock reported that a meeting was recently held of the West Hudson North Committee, and that John Blenninger has stepped down as Supervisor for Black Rock Forest.  Larry Wheelock also reported that Arnie Seymour-Jones is preparing an inventory of all trail bridges in Harriman State Park, and he stated that this would be an important resource both to the Trail Conference and to the Park.

        e.  Report of New Jersey Program Coordinator.  Chris Ingui stated that we are considering adding more trail crews in New Jersey, and that we are hoping to receive grant money from REI to support our trail crews in North Jersey.

        f.  Report of Volunteer Committee.  Estelle Anderson reported that the cut-off date for our annual awards is July 1st.  She also announced that green polo shirts are available in the lobby for volunteers, and that the lapel pins for volunteers have been received and will soon be sent out.

        g.  Web Team Report.  Walt Daniels encouraged all Trails Council members to register on the website, and he noted that special pages have been set up for the Trails Council.  He stated that the Trail Management Guide is a work in progress, and that more volunteers are needed for this project.  Walt Daniels also discussed the new online maintainer reports, which are currently experimental only.  Comments were made that some maintainers will not understand how to fill out the electronic forms correctly.  Larry Wheelock pointed out the Program Coordinators would assist any maintainer who may have difficulty filling out their forms.  Several members of the Trails Council urged Walt Daniels to make the new online maintainer reports as simple and as easy to use as possible. John Mack raised an issue regarding approval by Trails Chairs of new maintainers.

    5.  New Trails Chairs.  Larry Wheelock reported that Jakob Franke and Andy Garrison have agreed to assume the positions of Chair and Co-Chair for the Long Path, and he noted that the Board has approved the consolidation of the two Long Path regional committees into one Long Path Committee, which will include the
Shawangunk Ridge Trail system, as well as trails in the Neversink River Gorge area.
    Larry Wheelock also reported that Patty Lee Parmalee has agreed to assume the position of West Hudson North Trails Chair.

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

        a.  Trails in Wonder Lake State Park.  Andy Seirup explained that trails in Wonder Lake State Park (in Putnam County, New York) were first adopted by the Trail Conference in 2007.  He pointed out that the park presently has both hiking-only and multi-use trails, and that there is a network of woods roads that the park manager wants to open for equestrian use.  

    Andy Seirup proposed that the Conference adopt the following trails in Wonder Lake State Park:

            i.  Highlands Trail.  He proposed that the Conference adopt a 3.8-mile section of the Highlands Trail, a hiking-only trail, that crosses the park.  He pointed out that the Trails Council gave preliminary approval to the route of the Highlands Trail through the park in 2008.  He noted that the final section of this trail was completed in November 2010 and stated that maintainers are in place for most of this trail section.  It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this section of the Highlands Trail be adopted by the Trail Conference.

            ii.  North Spillway Trail.  He explained that the North Spillway Trail is a half-mile-long, white-blazed trail that connects at both ends to the Highlands Trail.  He noted that this trail has already been built, and that half of the trail is a new foot trail, while the other half follows an existing woods road.  It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the North Spillway Trail be adopted by the Trail Conference.

            iii.  Orchard Hill Trail.  He explained that the Orchard Hill Trail is a one-mile-long, blue-blazed hiking-only trail (not yet built) that will connect at both ends to the Highlands Trail.  It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Orchard Hill Trail be adopted by the Trail Conference.

            iv.  Bare Hill Trail.  He explained that the Bare Hill Trail is a half-mile-long, red-blazed trail that was built in 2008 and connects at one end to a yellow-blazed multi–use trail (and at the other end to the Highlands Trail).  He pointed out that part of this yellow multi-use trail is eroding, but noted that there are plans to eliminate the equestrian use of this trail in the future.  

    Andy Seirup proposed that the Conference adopt the Bare Hill Trail, as well as the half-mile-long portion of the yellow-blazed trail that extends from the parking lot to the Bare Hill Trail.  He explained that he was not recommending that the remainder of the yellow-blazed trail be adopted by the Trail Conference at this time, as that section of the trail is in poor condition and probably should be abandoned.

    It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Bare Hill Trail, as well as the half-mile-long portion of the yellow-blazed multi-use trail that extends from the parking lot to the Bare Hill Trail, be adopted by the Trail Conference, but that the remainder of the yellow-blazed multi-use trail not be adopted by the Trail Conference at this time.

        b.  Highlands Trail Updates for Putnam County.  Gary Haugland provided the Trails Council with an update on the status of the Highlands Trail extension in Putnam County, from east of the Taconic State Parkway to the Connecticut border.  He noted that this extension would cross three properties owned by the New York City DEP, and he explained that, to date, the NYC DEP has refused to allow the Trail Conference to mark any trails on its lands unless the Trail Conference agrees to indemnify and defend the NYC DEP for any and all claims related to the trails, which is against the Trail Conference’s current policy with regard to government entities that open their property to the public for recreational use.  Thus, Gary Haugland explained, it was decided instead to develop bushwhacking routes through these properties that can be followed by hikers using GPS devices.

    Gary Haugland reported that four volunteers recently assisted in scouting the three NYC DEP properties in the area for acceptable bushwhacking routes, and he noted that this comprised a 6.5-mile hike over very hilly terrain.  He pointed out that a guide accompanied the volunteers on their scouting trip; otherwise, he commented, the group would have been completely lost.  He noted that there are no outstanding features on which to orienteer, and he expressed the view that the route would be difficult to promote as a bushwhack without losing hikers.  Gary Haugland also pointed out that there is a fire tower on top of a mountain on NYC DEP property from which one can see three states on a clear day; however, he noted, one must find one’s way through bushes to reach the fire tower. He stated that a 2.5-mile route (part woods road, through wetlands and high areas, and then back to the road) has been laid out, but he commented that he was not satisfied with this route and that his committee plans to go back to the drawing board, make additional attempts to identify outstanding features, and try to come up with a route that is easier to use.  Gary Haugland also stated that he is looking forward to the future when the Highlands Trail hopefully can be marked through NYC DEP property.

    Gary Haugland also reported that members of the Putnam County Land Trust recently attended a Trail Conference workshop, which resulted in their developing an interest in allowing the Trail Conference to extend the Highlands Trail through lands owned by the Land Trust.  He noted that the Highlands Trail East Committee plans to provide a proposed trail layout and offer a design workshop to enable them to build additional trails through their lands.

    Finally, Gary Haugland reported that Hudson Highlands State Park is looking to purchase part of the Wang property, which would enable hikers to walk from Jaycox Road to the Hubbard-Perkins section of Fahnestock State Park.  He stated that the Trail Conference’s Conservation & Advocacy Committee is considering a recommendation to the Board to support this potential purchase, which would involve a partnership with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust and, perhaps, other land trusts.  Gary Haugland stated that he will report back to the Trails Council when more concrete information on this purchase becomes available.

        c.  Reroute of Indian Rock Trail.  Brian Sniatkowski requested approval to re-route a very heavily eroded section of the Indian Rock Trail in Wanaque, which extends from the Wanaque River up to the gas pipeline.  It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this eroded section of the Indian Rock Trail in Wanaque be rerouted and the old section be deblazed.

    7.  Trail Worker.   Les Ferguson introduced himself, stating that he had signed up in November as a volunteer to work on the Trail Worker, a publication targeted to volunteers who work on trails.  He stated that his plan is to revamp the Trail Worker, which would complement the communications put out by Georgette Weir, and would be produced at practically no cost.  Les Ferguson explained that the objectives of this publication – which will be issued electronically twice a year, in June and October – include reminding volunteers to submit trail reports and providing information to those who work on the trails.  Les showed the Trails Council the proposed first issue, consisting of two pages and covering such topics as trail etiquette, tool talk, and techniques.  He expressed the hope that the Trail Worker will be used as a forum for trail volunteers and that it will be an organic process.  He also commented that the Trail Worker should include some “fun stuff,” such as amusing stories, cartoons etc. Les Ferguson noted that Georgette Weir is developing an online survey for input on the Trail Worker, and he stated that articles, ideas for articles and other input can be sent to [email protected]  Georgette Weir stated that the survey is being completed and will go out soon.

    Pete Heckler stated that the quality and success of the Trail Worker is dependent on the Trails Council, and if members of the Trails Council are not interested in producing such a publication, we will not proceed with it.  In response to a question by Jakob Franke, Les Ferguson said that the Trail Worker would be sent out by email to all trail volunteers, but that it cannot be sent as an attachment, so the e-mail would have a link to a .pdf file of the Trail Worker on our website.  Bob Jonas suggested that no technique be considered too simple to describe in the Trail Worker, as others may not know the details.  In response to a comment by Andy Garrison that the Trail Worker could also be used to ask questions or seek advice, Les Ferguson responded that it might evolve into a blog.  Joel Pinsker suggested that each edition could highlight a portion of the Trail Maintenance Manual.

    It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trail Worker be “rekindled” to see how it goes.  Pete Heckler thanked Les Ferguson for his work on the Trail Worker.

    8.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

                                Respectfully submitted,

                                Daniel D. Chazin