Trail Conditions Forum

Mud? Ice? High water at stream crossings?

This is the place to let the trail community know what you encountered, where and when (be as precise as possible). Suggestion: Make the trail or park name your subject.

To report serious trail problems that need Trail Conference attention, including illegal trail use issues, visit our Contact Us page. Problems reported through our Contact Us page get to the maintainers fast and reliably. Problems reported on the forum below may help fellow trail users avoid problem areas until they get fixed, but not all maintainers read this regularly.


 

Michael K7's picture

Another reason to hate DuPont. There's always access from the Indian Rock Trail from the lot at Back Beach Park as well as the other trails mentioned.
thegup's picture

I hadn't hiked this track since Sandy and was dismayed to see all the hard work put into replacing the 3rd steel plate bridge a few years ago completely washed away.  I hiked it Sunday morning and juding by the number of vehicles by Hibbard and the many folks I met on my trek, it is still a very popular trail.  Are there plans to replace it?  I know it's a big effort to get the necessary materials into that area.  Recovering those steel beams and plates requires heavy duty winches and skilled operators.  As an interim solution, maybe you could build a stone stairway into the steep bank heading down to the creek that serves as the detour.  It's quite slippery and I saw a woman lose her footing and land on her back pretty hard.  Luckily she was OK. 
John Magerlein's picture

As you can imagine, our crew was very disappointed when hurricane Irene destroyed bridge 3, which we had worked so hard over several months to build. There are a number of problems on School Mountain Road including several damanged or unsafe bridges and severe erosion. The park has begun a planning process to determine what should be done with the trail. Rehabilitating it to again support bicycle, horse, and foot traffic would be very costly and difficult. We have suggested different alternatives, but we can't do major work on the trail until the park decides how to proceed. We will try to build some steps leading down the bank to our temporary bridge soon. The destruction of many bridges in parks throughout the New York/New Jersey area by recent hurricanes has led us to review our bridge policy and to look more carefully at the sites where bridges are built.
Michael K7's picture

As i was finishing my run this afternoon, i saw an ATV on the abandoned telephone line path between the R-D and Triangle trails in Tuxedo. It was long gone before i could get out my camera and take a picture, for all i know it could have been a Park Ranger, although i highly doubt that. I guess you should add this area to the list of places that need to be watched.
jbeard's picture

For years, I have noticed that blowdowns that block trails in Harriman are fairly quickly removed---I assume by TC sawyers. Today I hiked in Sterling Forest, using the Lake-to-Lake, Firetower, West Valley, and Sterling Ridge trails.  We had to walk around about 15 trees that almost completely, or completely, blocked those trails.  I last used some of the same trails about a year or two ago, and I remember having to go off the trail to get around some of the same trees then.  Is there a reason the trails in Harriman are promptly cleared, and those in Sterling Forest are left blocked? Jonathan
johnm's picture

The posting  July 18 was a good note and a good question.  It is correct that marked trails in Harriman and Bear Mountain Park  are all maintained by the Trail Conference saw crews.  In Sterling Forest, the Trail Conference has not adopted all of the trails for various reasons, among them, boring and gravelled road (FIre Tower Connector), trails on eroded woods road that we are unable to improve to satisfactory condition (in this writer's opinion), example: Lake-to Lake Trail, and some other trails due to planned future multiuse designation . In addition to the two examples, we do not maintain FIretower or West Valley Trails.  As for Sterling Ridge Trail, we cleared many trees late last year (in snow), but possibly not all of them.  We have no later reports and concede that there may currently be some blockages on Sterling Ridge Trail.  We would be pleased to receive reports of tree blockage there or anywhere else, with approximate locations.  We can forward to the park any reports for trails that we do not maintain; cooperation is typically excellent.  One other consideration, though realizing that the subject posting seemed clearly to relate to significant blockages, we sometimes leave in place trees that are not difficult to get around on foot but may block ATVs, or that are low, lying on the ground and acting as water dams..  Thank you for the report.
hiker4414's picture

If the park police and rangers seem disinterested it is because they are not being pressed for enforcement. The request for enforcement should be coming from the Trail Conference. Recently there were ATV tracks ripped down to bare soil on the west side of the Minsi Swamp outlet and bushwhacking up towards the water tower on the ridge. There was no prior woods roads past the old aquaduct and the newly disturbed ground is I believe how invasive plants get there foothold in a new area. With all we have been hearing about the effort to control invasives, the Trail Conference should be taking preventive steps and asking for enforcement.
Georgette Weir's picture

The Trail Conference staff and lead volunteers are very aware of the use of illegal off-road vehicles in Harriman and other parks. Unfortunately, our parks are woefully underfunded--including for enforcement--and that is not a problem that will be addressed overnight. The public needs to back us up when we urge our public officials to make parks funding a priority. Only then can more rangers can be hired and be better trained.

In the meantime, we continue to urge hikers and other park users to document as best they can the where and when of illegal trail uses. In particular, document where ATVs are coming from. Do not confront ATV users. Take pictures and videos if possible. Report your observations  at http://www.nynjtc.org/webform/illegal-usage-problem-report. Help compile the evidence needed to make the case for funding enforcement.

Then, when budget season comes around, write letters to your public officials in support of adequate funding for parks. 

PVPatrick's picture

I, the public, back you in your efforts to make park funding a priority; but, with all due respect, the evidence is as clear as the tire tracks.  I dont think a large funding initiative is necessary.  A focused temporary effort to round up the few persons involved would send a clear message to others thinking its ok to ride the parks because nobody will stop them.  The park enforcement  already has ATVs, why not use them to round up those rascals.
hiker4414's picture

Georgette, additional funding for our Parks would be lovely. But please don’t continue to duck the issue. The average pay of a PIPC ranger is about $60,000 a year which comes to about $260 a working day. Even at overtime rates, the cost of two rangers would be about $800 for a full working day or $8,000 for 10 full days devoted to enforcement. Truly a drop in the bucket. I know all of the full time rangers working in Harriman and some of the seasonal rangers too. They are professionals. They are also much smarter than the 16 year olds and 26 year olds riding ATVs. It is unkind of you to suggest additional funding is needed so they can be better trained.
PVPatrick's picture

Well said.  Am holding my 25 year old  membership renewal to the NYNJTC to hear some real action points.  Tired of hearing about the expensive new "headquarters".  Get back to basics!
hiker4414's picture

Your second reply below on the Wildcat Ridge trash issue is on the mark and what members espect from the TC. Can we get a similar response to the issue of ATVs in Harriman? They were out again this weekend and this time one entered a wetland area and came close to a rare plant species found in only very small populations.
Estelle's picture

would you contact me directly at [email protected]  and give me some specifics as to locations of ATV activity.   I'll find out which Trail chair/Trail Supervisor handles the region - they will know who to contact at PIPC for enforcement.   thanks 
hiker4414's picture

Estelle, why not go straight to PIPC Executive Director Jim Hall and David Barone, General Park Manager. Wouldn't they be the ones to allocate ranger and police resources? Wouldn't they be best for making ATV enforcement a priority? They did meet with the NYNJTC Trails Access Committee recently. Why not ask for an email address where reports and photos can be sent? Why not enlist the aid of the hiking public? As noted by members posting below, ATVs are in Harriman on a regular basis and the rangers already know where. 
PVPatrick's picture

The Park Police dont seem interested, or are incapable, of stemming the ever increasing horde of loud, speeding motorcycles on the Park Roads in Bear Mt/Harriman; even when it is directly in their face as the motorcycles speed past their headquarters! As for the Rangers...when was the last time anyone saw a ranger anywhere but on the paved roads of the park? The Police and Rangers are fine people I'm sure, but seem to be managed with a set of priorities that differ from those of the hiking community as is clear with their inaction on the ATV issue.
hiker4414's picture

I don't see anything positive in the Trail Conference responses below. Reporting a problem to a volunteer trail supervisor can't get the kind of action that reporting to authorities can. Members expect advocacy from the TC and so far we are not getting any. 
jriordan1985's picture

In preparation for a multi-day trip to the High Peaks region, ADK, I've been taking to the trails as often as possible. I've probably trekked 50+ miles through the Wildcat Ridge area over the last few months and I've noticed a big problem. Seems like the local kids don't know how to clean up after themselves. They're turning Gatorade bottles into bongs and then launching the evidence into the brush. I couldn't care less about the pot smoking, but these guys are making a giant mess. The worst of the litter is usually found downhill from the bat cave, which makes sense, as it's right near the trail head. I take it on myself to clean up, and have removed a good deal, but it would be easier to do if there were a trash barrel near the batcave viewing platform. Anyone know where I can pick one up from for free?
Estelle's picture

Thanks for your info.  And sadly there is trash throughout our trail system, people seem to carry the full stuff in but can't carry the empty stuff out.   Thank you for your efforts to keep this area clean.  I've contacted the trail supervisor for Farny and for Wildcat with your comments.  You should hear something from them as I have passed on your contact info.     If you are bagging the trash and bringing out to the parking lot, you could contact Rockaway Twsp DPW and let them know to pick up from the parking lot.   if that doesn't happen, let me know and we'll contact Rockaway.  Generally they are very cooperative.   Estelle 
Estelle's picture

Further information:  We have notified NJ Fish and Wildlife who administer Wildcate Ridge.  they will increase enforcement patrol to monitor the parking lot, we have made that request as well to Rockaway Township.   As I said, trash throughout our trail system is a huge problem and we appreciate all hikers and volunteers who help remove that trash.  If you are there again and encounter much trash, you may notify us and we will get volunteers in there to clean it up. (I have contacted you privately, feel free to respond directly to my email.)   We also advised of the bat cave signs being removed or destroyed.     State of NJ has a new initiative to combat dumping on State Lands and request notification be made per this:  Please encourage your members to contact us if they witness ongoing illegal activities at any of our Wildlife Management Areas. Our 24 hr. dispatch number is 1-877-WARNDEP.   thank you again for your report and for caring.