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Restricted Fund Intro

You Make Our Work Possible

When you donate to the Trail Conference, you are investing in the programs that ensure your access to nature remains safe and enjoyable today and for future generations. 

Restricted Box 1 Resilience

Resilience Fund

Resilience Element

When you donate to our Resilience Fund, your gift is used where it’s needed most in supporting the Trail Conference's mission. Trail Conference programs are funded by grants, contracts, and donations from individuals and corporations. But those sources don’t always cover 100% of the costs associated with running every program. The Resilience Fund is an annual fund that supports these programs and the general operating expenses that enable us to be a compliant, sustainable, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit.

Where does my money go?
Gifts to the Resilience Fund, quite simply, keep our organization running. These crucial funds cover salaries, pay operating expenses for our headquarters, keep the website operational, and fill gaps in program funding to provide stability in our on-the-ground work and day-to-day operations. They have helped launch our Online Learning Library and ensure our technology is meeting trail users’ needs. They ensure our staff are well-equipped and available to support our volunteers and the public. They also keep our historic headquarters at Darlington Schoolhouse open for community events and visitor information.

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Trail Building & Maintenance

Trail Element

In 1920, Trail Conference pioneers built Harriman State Park’s first trail, the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail, creating a legacy of connecting people with nature. Three years later, our volunteers built the very first section of the Appalachian Trail, through Harriman-Bear Mountain. Ever since, we have worked with park partners to plan, construct, and restore thousands of miles of trails, building and caring for one of the nation’s finest network of trails. Volunteers learn trail construction and maintenance techniques from Trail Conference volunteer leaders, Corps members, and staff. Materials for trail projects are funded by our partners or through grants, contracts, and donations. In addition, a special dedicated fund, the Zakim Family Tool & Signage Fund, offers a one-to-one match for gifts supporting the purchase of tools and signage materials. To learn more about this fund, contact Director of Donor Advising Don Weise.

Where does my money go?
Donations to the Trail Building & Maintenance Fund have helped us secure materials and tools for projects. They ensure our volunteers and Corps members have appropriate PPE. They fund the expertise and oversight our field managers provide to volunteers and Corps members to ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable experience while building and maintaining trails.

In addition, a special dedicated fund, the Zakim Family Tool & Signage Fund, offers a one-to-one match for gifts supporting the purchase of tools and signage materials. Another dedicated fund, the Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Improvement Fund, supports the reconstruction of Harriman's most historic trails. To learn more about these funds, contact Director of Donor Advising Don Weise.



Restricted Box 3 Service

Service Engagement: Volunteers & Conservation Corps

Service Element

On any given day on the trail, there's a good chance you'll encounter a Trail Conference volunteer or Corps member working hard to improve your outdoor experience. After all, more than 2,000 volunteers annually serve our mission! It takes a dedicated staff to ensure all those people have a great experience both out in the field and “behind the scenes.”

Where does my money go?
Gifts to the Service Engagement Fund help us recruit the workforce that makes your experiences outdoors safe and enjoyable. These funds have ensured volunteers and Corps members receive a uniform onboarding and training experience. They make it possible for our volunteers and Corps members to feel supported and receive prompt attention and coverage if any issues were to occur. Those who serve our mission are passionate about the environment and are dedicated to helping everyone connect with nature. Your donation to our Service Engagement programs allows the organization to provide the mechanism for them to do so.

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Training, Outreach & Education

Training Element

Not only does the Trail Conference build and protect trails, we also maintain and share the most accurate, up-to-date trail maps, guides, and resources. When you donate to our Training, Outreach & Education programs, you are ensuring that everyday trail users have the tools and education they need to use trails responsibly and sustainably.

Where does my money go?
Gifts to the Training, Outreach & Education Fund have supported our Trail Steward program and Leave No Trace outreach. Our Stewards have been bringing face-to-face user education and sustainable, on-the-ground solutions to some of the region’s most popular outdoor destinations since 2013. These funds enable us to produce and distribute our maps, trailhead signage, and our quarterly newsletter, Trail Walker. They support various trainings and certifications for our volunteers and staff.

Gifts to the dedicated Welch Trail Education Center Fund have a direct impact on helping us restore our group camp in Harriman State Park as a modern environmental training center. Learn more about the Welch Trail Education Center Fund by contacting Director of Donor Advising Don Weise.


Restricted Box 5 Stewardship

Ecological Stewardship & Land Conservation

Stewardship Element

Part of preserving a healthy trail system is protecting the integrity of the natural environment. Through our commitment to creating high-quality trail experiences, the Trail Conference has become a regional leader in conserving both trail corridors and native habitat. Donations to our Ecological Stewardship and Land Conservation programs are investments in protecting the land you love.

Where does my money go?
Donations to Ecological Stewardship Fund support our leading efforts to eradicate high-priority emerging invasives in the region including Invasives Strike Force surveyor programs, ISF removal crews and the Aquatic Invasives Strike Force. They fund our innovative Conservation Dogs program—the first of its kind in the Northeast. They also support our native habitat restoration efforts including our Habitat Helpers crew.

The Trail Conference has been actively purchasing land for the protection of trails since 1939. These days, we purchase trail lands with funds from the Trail Conference’s Land Acquisition and Stewardship Fund (LASF). It’s a revolving, donor-supported fund. When we sell land we have purchased to the state for permanent protection, the proceeds are returned to the fund, so your donation is always being put to work to protect the land you love. We work with other land conservation partners whenever possible, allowing us to stretch our funds and preserve more trail miles.