Courses

Read descriptions of all Trail U courses below.
Course Title Course Description Course Level
Invasives Strike Force Standard Surveyor Workshop

Classroom training on Invasives Strike ForceInvasive plants cause problems for our environment and make the habitat less useable by our native birds and butterflies. Our Invasives Strike Force volunteers help spot invasive plants so that we can schedule work days to remove them. You’ll learn easy ways to identify a set of invasive plants commonly found along the trails and how to record information about their locations. 
 
In this first-level course, you will learn everything you need to know in order to become an Invasives Strike Force Standard Surveyor. 
 
You'll learn how to identify 14 common invasive plants, collect data, and use a GPS  unit. GPS units can be borrowed from the Trail Conference or you may use your own or your smartphone. After completing training, you will be assigned to a trail section about 2 miles long.  You will be expected to walk your trail section while identifying and mapping these invasive plants.  Surveying should be completed by the end of the summer.
 
This workshop is an intensive class-room style training session with an outdoor practice component.
 
Pre-registration is required. 
Learn-to Caretaking

William Brien Memorial Shelter at the intersection of the A.T. and the Menomine Trail in Harriman State Park.Lean-to caretaking is the maintenance of an overnight trail shelter in order to keep it harmonious with its surroundings and ready for camping use.

This course helps you gain or brush up on the skills necessary to a Trail Conference Lean-to Caretaker Volunteer.  Skills include cleaning the lean-to and surrounding area, collecting and replacing registries, and assessing and reporting the lean-to’s overall condition.

Please register.  Space is limited.

Native Plant Identification Workshop

Students learning to identify native plants.This course will give you the basics of plant identification and help you learn to identify common native trees and shrubs found along many of our hiking trails.  It is geared towards beginners and is a focused hands-on outdoor course.

 

Please register.  Space is limited.

Orienteering Workshop

A map and a compassOrienteering is navigating using a map and a compass. 

 

This course helps you gain or brush up on the skills needed to read a map, know how to follow blazes, understand contour lines, adjust for declination, use triangulation, and other basic orienteering skills. 

 

Please register.  Space is limited.

Rigging for Trail Work Workshop

Trail builders using a rigging system to install a bridgeRigging utilizes the mechanical advantage of ropes, pulleys, and winches in order to transport materials while minimizing construction disturbances.

This course helps you gain or brush up on inspecting rigging equipment for safety, knowing safe working load limits of the equipment, how to choose the proper rigging system for the job, setting up dragging systems, setting up high lines, and maintaining equipment.

Please register.  Space is limited.

Specialty Stonework Workshop

A stone split into four pieces using the feather and wedge technique.  Specialty stonework encompasses utilizing and manipulating stone beyond basic trail structure construction.

This course helps you gain or brush up on splitting one rock into two rocks, shaping a rock to meet your specific needs, building stone structures without mortar, or anchoring structures to bedrock.

Please register.  Space is limited.

Tabling Workshop

Promotion and information table ready to go at an event.


Tabling is representing and sharing information about the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference at various events.

 

This course helps you gain or brush up on the skills necessary to become a Trail Conference Tabling volunteer.  You will learn how to recruit new volunteers and members, share information on where to hit the trails, and promote trail stewardship.  You will work with a partner and learn how to set up an event table attractively.  Tabling gives you the opportunity to share your passion for and knowledge of trails with people from all walks of life. 

 

Please register.  Space is limited.

Tool Maintenance Workshop

Well maintained tools get the job done.  Tool maintenance is cleaning, sharpening, and maintaining your tools so you can get the most out of them.

This course helps you gain or brush up on the skills of utilizing wire brushes and wire wheels to clean, bastard files and grinding wheels to sharpen, and the types of oils used to lubricate your tools.

Please register.  Space is limited.

Tool Use and Safety Workshop

Group of alternative break students from Buffalo State University quarrying stone with rock bars.Tool use and safety is using tools as they were designed to be used.

This course helps you gain or brush up on how to use mechanical advantage to your benefit and transport and use tools in the safest manner possible.  Learn the ins and outs of McLeods, rock bars, pick mattocks, cutter mattocks, hazel hoes, rogue hoes, shovels, hand saws, loppers, and hammers.

Please register.  Space is limited.

Trail Assessment Workshop

Graphic of erosion occurring on a trail.  Trail assessment is the process of evaluating trail tread, structures, and alignment conditions in order to understand how to best maintain and improve trails.

This course helps you gain or brush up on your “trail eyes.”  It helps you spot the difference between sustainable and failing trails so you learn best practices for creating enduring trails.

Please register.  Space is limited.

Trail Chair Training Workshop

New York - New Jersey Trail Conference logoTrail Chair Training will ensure that you have the resources you need to be able to develop and maintain positive working relationships with agency partners, land managers, trail supervisors, and trail maintainers. 

 

This course helps you gain or brush up on the skills needed to be a successful and inspiring Trail Conference Trail Chair volunteer.  Training will be provided through discussion, case studies, and hands-on exercises.  You will learn how to develop and tap into resources that will help you handle your on/off trail responsibilities including, but not limited to, annual work plan meeting, coordinating with trail supervisors and trail crew chiefs, approving and submitting requests for trail work, and providing up to date trail information for publications and maps.   

 

Please register.  Space is limited.

Trail Design & Layout Workshop

Design and layout of the Redback & Eagle multi-use loops in Sterling Forest State ParkTrail layout and design is the practice of combining art and science to create a route that keeps people on it, water off of it, and is harmonious with nature.

This course helps you gain or brush up on the skills and techniques necessary to design trails looking at the bigger picture of connectivity, character, and positive user experience.  After a sustainable design has been reached, the course participant will learn how to lay it out on the ground taking into consideration grades, soil types, points of interest, construction requirements, and water flow.

Please register.  Space is limited.