New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Trails Council December 5, 2013
5:30 PM – Networking
6:30 PM – Meeting begins
(Severe Weather Date – Thursday, December 12, 2013)
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.
- · Introductions:
- Approval of minutes:
- Additions to agenda:
- Volunteer Committee
- Web Team Report
- Staff Reports
- Programs Update (Jeff Senterman)
- Conservation Corps Information (Josh Howard)
Trail Approvals and Updates – 5 minute time limit per presentation. Trail update form and map of change must be submitted prior to the meeting:
- Long Path - 0.5 mile relocation of LP from road to adjacent towpath, shown on new Shawangunk map (Jakob Franke)
- · Trail Completion in East Westchester - Rocks Trail reroute in Ward Pound Ridge (Jane Daniels)
- · Trail Completion in East Westchester - Old Sib trail in Mountain Lakes Park (Jane Daniels)
- · South Taconic Trail extension (Andrew Seirup)
- Trail Signage and Kiosk Information; NYNJTC branding (Walt Daniels)
- Appointment of Pete Zuroff as co-chair of NJAT with Gene Giordano
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.
MINUTES OF A MEETING
NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY TRAIL CONFERENCE
October 3, 2013
1. Trails Council Chair Gary Haugland called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J. Present were: Ed Goodell - Executive Director; Jeff Senterman - Senior Program Coordinator; Hank Osborn - East Hudson Program Coordinator, Sona Mason - West Hudson Program Coordinator, Tom Amisson, Jim Canfield, Daniel D. Chazin, Chris Connolly, Jane Daniels, Walt Daniels, Charlotte Fahn, Gary Haugland, Sam Huber, Richard Jobsky, John Mack, John Magerlein, Jonathan Martin, Mary Anne Massey, Glenn Oleksak, Patty Lee Parmalee, Joel Pinsker, Chris Reyling, Keith Scherer, Frank Schoof, Karen Schoof, Dawson Smith, Brian Sniatkowski, Rich Taylor and Bob Ward.
2. Introductions. Ed Goodell introduced Sam Huber, the new Trails Chair of the Lenape Trail. Hank Osborn introduced Dawson Smith, the new Metro Trails Chair.
3. Minutes. The minutes of the Trails Council meeting of August 1, 2013 were approved, with one correction.
4. Reports. The following reports were presented:
a. New Federal Accessibility Trail Guidelines. In the absence of Ama Koenigshof, Jeff Senterman reported that new federal accessibility guidelines for trails were recently promulgated, and he noted that these guidelines apply to all trails built on federal land or with federal funds.
b. Report on Sterling Forest Trails Project. Sona Mason reported that one leg of the new Doris Duke Trail has been completed this season, and she noted that an orientation for new volunteers on the trail will be held this Saturday. She stated that a crew of interns have been working on this project and will continue working for the next two weeks, and that afterwards work on the new trail will continue on weekends.
c. Report of Senior Program Coordinator. Jeff Senterman reported that all trails crossing federal lands are officially closed during the federal government shutdown. He also reported that the search process for the New Jersey Program Coordinator has been completed and that Peter Dolan, who served as an intern this summer for the Sterling Forest Trails Project, has been selected to fill the position.
Jeff Senterman reported that Les Ferguson, the editor of the Trail Worker, is disappointed with the responses that he has received to his solicitation of articles for the last issue of the Trail Worker. Jeff Senterman stated that if additional content is not received, Les Ferguson will not continue to serve as editor of this newsletter. Jeff Senterman also announced that the deadline for the Winter issue of the Trail Walker is November 11th. On behalf of Linda Rohleder, he reported that we are starting to work on the PRISM grant.
Jeff Senterman stated that he believes that the Plan and Budget process for 2014 should address many of the concerns that have been raised about past budgeting processes, and that he looks forward to working with all Trail Committees and Program Coordinators to continue to improve the process. Jeff Senterman also noted that he and Josh Howard have met with nearly all of the trail committees. Jane Daniels commented that it is important to let volunteers know whether their budget requests have been approved. Jeff Senterman stated that he hopes that the Board will approve the Plan and Budget before the end of the year, and that he will then meet in January with all trails chairs to explain which projects have been approved. Ed Goodell stated that some trails chairs have said that there is no reason to meet on the budget process, but that he has asked them to reconsider their decision.
Jeff Senterman reported that the Breakneck Ridge Trail Steward program was a great success. He noted that the stewards talked to over 2,000 people a weekend and were able to educate these hikers, thereby reducing the number of search and rescue operations on the mountain. He pointed out that no such operations were needed during the month of August. He also stated that we are looking forward to continuing the program next year.
5. Trail Approvals. The following new trails and relocations were presented:
a. A.T. Relocation on West Mountain. Mary Anne Massey explained her proposal to relocate a severely eroded portion of the Appalachian Trail on the western slope of West Mountain above Beechy Bottom Road, incorporating a switchback. She stated that the relocation will lengthen the trail by about 0.2 mile, and she noted that the relocation has already been approved by the Park and by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. In response to a comment by Daniel Chazin that he believed that the section just north of the proposed relocation was in even worse condition, Mary Anne Massey stated that this section can be rehabilitated and does not need to be relocated.
After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that this relocation of the Appalachian Trail on West Mountain be approved by the Trails Council.
Mary Anne Massey also announced that the relocation of the Appalachian Trail at Island Pond has been completed.
b. East Hudson Region Split. Jane Daniels explained that the East Hudson Region has become too large, and that it has been proposed to split off Westchester County as a separate region. She also stated that she has agreed to assume the position of Trails Chair for the Westchester Region after December, with Andrew Seirup assuming the position of Trails Chair for the remainder of the East Hudson Region. It was noted that the Westchester Region will extend north of the Westchester-Putnam County line, up to Route 403 (Canada Hill).
After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the split of the East Hudson Region into two regions, including the new Westchester County Region, be approved by the Trails Council, effective January 1, 2014.
c. Trail Changes in Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve. Jane Daniels explained her proposal to create 0.6 mile of new foot-traffic-only trails in the Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve, which will be built as an Eagle Scout project. She noted that the red and blue trails are currently co-aligned, and she stated that they will be split, with the red trail taking a new route. She also stated that the orange trail will connect the red trail to the North County Trailway as part of an overall trails plan for the town.
After a brief discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that these new foot-traffic-only trails in the Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve be approved by the Trails Council.
Jane Daniels also reported that a new section of the Taconic Bridge Trail, including a boardwalk, has been opened in Sylvan Glen Park Preserve, completing this two-mile trail from Sylvan Glen to Woodlands Legacy Fields Park.
d. Doris Duke Trail in Sterling Forest. John Mack reported that the new Doris Duke Trail in Sterling Forest State Park was approved by the Trails Council several months ago. He explained that, due to the poor condition of the woods road being incorporated into the northern leg of the loop, portions of this section of the trail will be relocated off of the woods road. He stated that he had believed that the new route of this leg of the trail had been approved by the Park Manager, but that Albany has now raised some issues which need to be resolved.
With respect to the southern leg of this trail, Sona Mason stated that the route shown on the map presented to the Trails Council, which significantly differs from that originally proposed and approved by the Trails Council, is still subject to negotiation between the Trail Conference and the State, and is not yet ready for approval by the Trails Council. It was agreed that the final route selected would be brought to the Trails Council for approval at a later date. John Mack stated that the Park considers the entire trail to be open to public use at this time, with the southern leg being temporarily routed along the woods road.
After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the modified route of the northern leg of the Doris Duke Trail in Sterling Forest State Park be approved by the Trails Council.
e. Adoption of Trails at Stony Kill Farm in Dutchess County. Tom Amisson explained his proposal for the Trail Conference to adopt trails in Stony Kill Farm in Dutchess County, which became DEC property in 1973 subject to the condition that it continues to be farmed. He noted that the property contains an old manor house which is now closed to the public, and that the DEC no longer runs an environmental education program on the property. However, he stated, the non-profit Stony Kill Foundation now provides some programming at the Stony Kill Farm.
Tom Amisson pointed out that about nine miles of trails at the Stony Kill Farm were formerly maintained by the DEC, and he stated that it would be to the mutual advantage of both the DEC and the Trail Conference for these trails to be adopted by the Trail Conference. He noted, however, that the DEC has not yet formally approved the adoption of these trails by the Trail Conference. In response to a question by Daniel Chazin, it was noted that although some trails at Stony Kill Farm form small loops, not all the trails are connected and it is not possible to loop around the entire property. Tom Amisson stated that he has agreed to be the supervisor of the trails at Stony Kill Farm if these trails are adopted by the Trail Conference.
After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that the nine miles of trails at the Stony Kill Farm in Dutchess County be adopted by the Trail Conference, subject to approval by the DEC.
f. Adoption of Four New Trails in Fahnestock State Park. John Magerlein explained his proposal for the Trail Conference to adopt four new trails in Fahnestock State Park: the 0.3-mile green-blazed Appalachian Access Trail, which extends from the swimming area at the northern end of Canopus Lake to the Appalachian Trail; the 1.4-mile white-blazed Clove Creek Trail, which will follow a woods road from the Fahnestock Trail to the Wiccopee Trail and will be multi-use; the 0.7-mile Perkins Access Trail, which begins at a parking area on Route 301 and heads north to the Perkins Trail, and the 1.4-mile Round Hill Bypass Trail, which will begin at the same parking area on Route 301 and head north to School Mountain Road, crossing the Fahnestock Trail along the way. He noted that these trails are shown in the park’s master plan (with the exception of the Appalachian Access Trail, which has already been constructed by the Park).
John Magerlein reviewed with the Trails Council a list of trails that are and are not maintained by the Trail Conference in Fahnestock State Park, noting that only two multi-use trails (Clove Creek Trail and School Mountain Road) are proposed to be maintained by the Trail Conference. Jane Daniels commented that while horses are permitted on School Mountain Road, horses rarely use the road because they are scared of the steel-plate bridges along the road.
Gary Haugland commented that we want to engage the mountain bike community in maintaining the trails that they use. However, John Magerlein stated that there has not been any significant progress in this direction with regard to the multi-use trails in Fahnestock State Park.
After discussion, separate votes were taken on approvals for these four new trails. The adoption by the Trail Conference of the Appalachian Access Trail, the Perkins Access Trail and the Round Hill Bypass Trail (all of which are hiking-only trails) was approved unanimously. The adoption by the Trail Conference of the multi-use Clove Creek Trail was approved by a vote of 13 to 5, with one abstention.
g. Modifications to Catfish Loop Trail in Fahnestock State Park. John Magerlein detailed his proposal for modifications to the Catfish Loop Trail in Fahnestock State Park. He explained that the purpose of these changes is to make the Catfish Loop Trail a true loop and to eliminate an unsafe crossing of Dennytown Road. He noted that the existing section of the Three Lakes Trail west of Dennytown Road would be redesignated the Catfish Loop Trail, that a short new trail section would be constructed for the Catfish Loop Trail on the west side of Dennytown Road, and that a short stretch of the existing Catfish Loop Trail that crosses Dennytown Road and ends at the A.T. would be abandoned.
After discussion, it was moved, seconded and unanimously carried that these modifications to the Catfish Loop Trail in Fahnestock State Park be approved by the Trails Council.
6. Trail Leadership Survey. Jane Daniels presented to the Trails Council a summary of the results of the Trail Leadership Survey that had been sent to trails chairs and supervisors, as well as to staff members. She noted that of the 108 surveys sent out, 53 responses were received.
Jane Daniels extensively discussed the results of the survey relating to reporting issues, including online reporting. She also noted that there was considerable support for having the trail approval process administered on a regional basis. With regard to trail crews, she pointed out that only 6 respondents were in favor of the Trail Conference having paid trail crews. She also reported that to a question that asked whether the Trail Conference should have paid interns, 27 volunteers said “no” or “maybe,” and only one said “yes.” Frank Schoof commented that the interns basically receive a stipend for room and board and do not receive real wages.
As a follow-up to the survey, Jane Daniels suggested that the following steps be taken:
● Find ways to improve communication
● Establish a practice of no new projects without everyone knowing what is happening
● Use training to increase everyone’s skills and knowledge - particularly with budgets
● Clarify whose responsibility it is to update SMS
● Start online reporting
● Return to a volunteer-driven model
John Mack commented that the survey does not provide “anything solid” for the Board to work with, except perhaps for the last item – “return to a volunteer-driven model.” Discussion ensued about how to present the survey to the Board in a meaningful fashion. Ed Goodell commented that he did not find out about the survey until after it was sent out, that the survey began with an editorial comment that was not appropriate, and that it would have been better had more people participated in the development of the survey. In response, Jane Daniels stated that she tried to get more people to help out with the survey but that few people were willing to assist.
Gary Haugland commented that many of the follow-up items were internal in nature, but that he was concerned about the role of the interns, since it was clear from the survey results that the respondents viewed the hiring of interns as a negative factor, and he requested that, at the next Trails Council meeting, a presentation be made by staff as to the role of interns in the Trail Conference.
Patty Lee Parmalee stated that she felt that changes in the reporting system should have been included in the “follow up” list that concluded the survey. Jane Daniels stated that the results of the survey would be posted on the Supervisors’ page on the Trail Conference’s website.
7. Budget Process. Walt Daniels reviewed a presentation on the budget process, noting that the survey has shown that the reporting process needs to be on the web and that we need more “soft skills” training for chairs, supervisors and other leaders. He also commented that the survey shows that no one knows what budget they have, and no regular reports are provided for each committee’s budget. Jeff Senterman stated that he has asked to meet with all trails chairs to discuss their budgetary needs and to develop a presentation to the Board.
8. Replacement of Bridge at Long Pond Ironworks. Jeff Senterman reported that we have obtained a grant to fund the replacement of the Sterling Ridge Trail bridge over the Wanaque River at Long Pond Ironworks that was washed away by Hurricane Irene in August 2011, but that we have run into some issues regarding permitting. He stated that we are considering a different location for the bridge, and that if we decide to use the existing location, we would want to raise the bridge by about three feet and extend it about 10 feet in each direction to reduce the chances of the bridge being washed out in a future flood. Daniel Chazin noted that a temporary crossing of the river on rocks has been blazed but that it is not usable during periods of high water.
9. Next Trails Council Meeting. The next Trails Council meeting will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2013.
10. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Daniel D. Chazin