Trails Council Meeting - October 2, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Trails Council


New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Trails Council 
October 2, 2014

5:30 PM – Networking

6:30 PM – Meeting begins

(Severe Weather Date – Thursday, October 9, 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.





Approval of minutes


  • Conservation
  • Publications
  • Volunteer Committee
  • Web Team Report


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

  • Clay Pit Ponds State Park Adoption, Patrick Dalton
  • Lusscroft Farms Trail Adoption, Ed Leigh
  • Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Trail Adoption, Don Tripp
  • Willow Crest Trail Relocation in Swartswood State Park, Monica and David Day
  • Lackner Trail Relocation in Stokes State Forest, Monica and David Day


For Discussion:

  • Chainsaw Committee: Chainsaw Swamper Education Day, David Day
  • Combating ATVs; Suggestions from Harriman/Bear Mountain, John Mack


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.




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August 7, 2014


          1.  Trails Council Chair Gary Haugland called the meeting to order at 6:36 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Josh Howard - Deputy Executive Director; Jeff Senterman - Senior Program Coordinator; Sona Mason - West Hudson Program Coordinator; Hank Osborn - East Hudson Program Coordinator; Jeremy Apgar - Cartographer; Linda Rohleder - Land Stewardship Director; Andrew Argeski, Jim Canfield, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Jane Daniels, Walt Daniels, David Day, Monica Day, Mary Dodds, Jakob Franke, Andy Garrison, Jim Haggett, Gary Haugland, Rick Levine, Howie Liebmann, John Mack, John Moran, Joel Pinsker, Chris Reyling, Bob Ross, Keith Scherer, Karen Schoof and Andrew Seirup.


          2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of June 5, 2014 were approved as submitted.


          3.  Reports.  The following reports were presented:


                   a.  Staff Report.  Jeff Senterman reported that the planning process for 2015 has started and that reports will be coming in for work being done during the summer. 


                   b.  Report of Conservation Committee.  Jakob Franke reported that the Conservation Committee met several weeks ago but that he had nothing new to report.  Sona Mason reported that neighborhood brochures have been created for the Shawangunk Ridge Trail to encourage involvement by local residents.


                   c.  Report of Publications Committee.  Daniel Chazin reported that work is progressing on new editions of the Hudson Palisades, East Hudson and South Taconic map sets.


                   d.  Report of Volunteer Committee.  Jane Daniels reported that the Volunteer Committee is now finalizing the awards to be presented this year.


                   e.  Web Team Report.  Walt Daniels reported we have issued an RFP for the redesign of our website, with proposals due by August 25th.



          4.  Annual Planning Process.  Josh Howard presented an outline of the Annual Planning Process.  Chris Connolly stated that, for next year, Board members have requested that the Board have input as to the nature of the planning process, beginning in June.  Josh Howard noted that meetings will be scheduled with all committees, and he stated that trails chairs are encouraged to invite supervisors and others to participate in the budget process and that the program staff will facilitate a dialogue to help identify how each committee can advance the organization’s goals.  He further stated that the emphasis should be on the volunteer experience and how to find new volunteers and retain existing volunteers.


          Chris Connolly questioned how multi-regional trail crews can participate in this process.  Chris Reyling and David Day commented that the trail crews should have direct input into the budgetary process apart from that provided by trail committees.  Jane Daniels commented that committees should be informed as to the proposed disposition of budget requests before the proposed budget is presented to the Board.


          Monica Day commented that most of the work done by volunteer committees involves few expenditures.  Chris Connolly stated that he would like all trail chairs to think strategically and help plan the organization’s strategy for each year. 


          5.  Trail Inventory Program.  Jeremy Apgar gave a presentation on our Trail Inventory and Assessment Program and explained the reasons for conducting such an inventory.  He listed the various areas in which trails have been inventoried and noted that about 250 miles of trails have been inventoried to date.  He also explained what is being inventoried, including structures and deficiencies, and showed photos of various trail deficiencies that have been identified.  He noted that, in each case, a specific GPS location is recorded and a photograph is taken of the feature.  He also showed the Trails Council detailed spreadsheets that are prepared with all of the data.  Jeremy Apgar asked for guidance as to how this data could be best be used by trail volunteers.  He noted that these inventories are currently staff-driven and coordinated, that the projects are time-intensive, and that no recommendations are made as part of the process.



          David Day and Joel Pinsker commented that it would be useful if volunteer supervisors and trail crews could access this information on a timely basis so that the deficiencies identified, especially blowdowns and significant safety concerns, can be remedied.  David Day expressed concerns that items that have been fixed should be noted in the inventory as having been remedied, and he expressed reservations about using the word “deficiency” to describe some of the data, but he commented that inventory data could be helpful in identifying work projects in his region.  Jim Haggett commented that someone responsible for the trail in question should accompany the volunteer who goes out to make the trail assessment.  Andy Garrison noted that these types of inventories are an important component of his work on highways and that they are especially valuable in developing long-term plans.  Gary Haugland commented that the inventory should spell out what is and is not a “deficiency.”  Sona Mason commented that our park partners use the data gathered in the inventories to assist them in deciding what trail improvements should be made in their parks.


          In response to a question by Jakob Franke, Jeremy Apgar stated that it takes, on average, about three hours to survey each mile of trail for a trail inventory program.  John Mack expressed concerns that the assessments tend to point out deficiencies that are not very serious and that, as a result, the park may conclude that we are not doing our job in properly maintaining the trails.  Walt Daniels commented that inventories need not be so complicated and that the needed information can be obtained in a much simpler manner.  Daniel Chazin commented that we should inventory all of our trails but in a much simpler and more cost-effective manner.


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


                   a.  Reroute of Treason Trail and Long Path.  Jakob Franke outlined a relocation of portions of the Long Path and Treason Trail in Hook Mountain State Park along the Palisades, which avoids a very steep slope by rerouting the Long Path along an existing trail that provides an improved route.  He noted that this reroute has already been constructed and will appear on the new edition of the Hudson Palisades map set.  After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the Trails Council approve these relocations.


                   b.  Connector Trail at Manitoga.  Mary Dodds explained that a short connecting trail between Manitoga and the Osborn Loop Trail, which is already shown on our East Hudson Trails Map 101, will now be blazed yellow.  This change was unanimously approved by the Trails Council.


                   c.  Back 40 Trail Relocation at Teatown.  Mary Dodds requested approval of a reroute of a short 0.1-mile section of the Back 40 Trail at Teatown, noting that this is part of a more comprehensive reroute of the Back 40 Trail that will be brought before the Trails Council at a later date.  This relocation was unanimously approved by the Trails Council.


                   d.  A.T. in East Hudson.  Jim Haggett explained that the Dutchess-Putnam A.T. Management Committee is considering building a new shelter along the A.T. in Putnam County, since there is now a 34-mile gap in shelters between the West Mountain Shelter in Harriman and the RPH Shelter in the East Hudson area.  He noted that the exact location of the new shelter has not yet been determined and that funding for the shelter has not yet been obtained.


                   e.  A.T. in Fahnestock State Park.  Jim Haggett commented that he was not aware of the work being done by the Taconic Trail Crew of the Trail Conference on the connecting trail between the A.T. and the beach on Canopus Lake in Fahnestock State Park until he was informed of this work by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and he requested that, in the future, the Dutchess-Putnam A.T. Management Committee be informed of all trail work that is being done adjacent to the Appalachian Trail in the area.  Jeff Senterman stated that the failure to involve the A.T. committee in this process was an oversight at all levels. Jim Haggett also noted that Erik, who is a staff member of the Trail Conference, has flagged a route following an old horse trail that would connect the beach with the A.T. further north.  Chris Reyling questioned whether the proposed trail has been brought before the Trails Council for approval, in response to which Jeff Senterman stated that it is an existing trail that is being improved pursuant to a contract with the Taconic Park Region.  Walt Daniels stated that this trail follows an historic horse trail route and that he would object to any reroute of the trail off of the existing route.  Jane Daniels stated that if the park has requested that a trail be rerouted, the reroute need not be approved by the Trails Council.


                   f.  Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve in Yorktown.  Jane Daniels explained a proposal to establish two new trails in Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve in Yorktown, with a total distance of about half a mile.  She noted that these trails have been approved by the town and will be constructed as an Eagle Scout project.  After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that these two new trails in Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve in Yorktown be approved by the Trails Council.


          7.  Presentation on Outreach.  Jane Daniels and Jeff Senterman gave a presentation on outreach and how to effectively promote the Trail Conference.

They pointed out that outreach does not require a tabling event; rather, one can do outreach just by wearing a Trail Conference t-shirt.  They showed photos illustrating the various types of venues and stressed that it is important to know one’s audience.  Both Jane Daniels and Jeff Senterman related their experiences with outreach events in Westchester County and the Catskills, respectively, and they pointed out that outreach events in Westchester are based on the theme “ask us where to hike," while those in the Catskills emphasize stewardship of the trails.



          8.  Next Trails Council Meeting.  The next Trails Council meeting will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014.


          9.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.


                                                                             Respectfully submitted,


                                                                             Daniel D. Chazin