West Hudson – Regional Trails Council April 12, 2016

West Hudson Regional Trails Council
Tue, 04/12/2016 (All day)

West Hudson – Regional Trails Council Agenda

6:30 – 8:30 pm, April 12, 2016

Mahwah, NJ





Open remarks and welcome:

  • Brief discussion of the successful WFA training – Bob Fuller
  • Presentation of ATC Mid-Atlantic Volunteer of the Year Award – Members of Long Distance Trails Crew
  • Approval of minutes.



Blog/Trail Walker input – Amber Ray



Tech Committee Update - Mary Dooman



WH PC role description –Sona Mason



Discuss (review) the trail approval process policy



LP side trails discussion



Recognition program presentation as well as status on the chain saw approval process – John Leigh



Recruiting roundtable discussion (John Leigh to provide “best practices” guidance)



New business



Planning for next meeting (all 2016 meetings are currently scheduled to be held at the Darlington Schoolhouse but alternate locations will be considered)


Wed June 8
Thurs Aug 11 – Budget & Planning for 2017
Wed Oct 5
Wed Dec 14






Blazing Sub-Committee report (Committee members unavailable)



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February 11, 2016


          1.  Chair Bob Fuller called the meeting to order at 6:23 p.m. at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, N.J.  Present were: Ed Goodell - Executive Director; Sona Mason - West Hudson Program Coordinator; John Leigh - Volunteer Coordinator; Andrew Argeski, Bill Burns, Carol Burns, Daniel D. Chazin, Marty Costello, Richard Dubal, Jakob Franke, Michael Fuhrman, Bob Fuller, Erik Garnjost, Pete Heckler, Richard Jobsky, John Mack, Jonathan Martin, Thom Patton, Bill Pettit, Joel Pinsker, Chris Reyling, Hope Rogers, Marek Stykos and Patsy Wooters.  He thanked everyone who helped arrange this meeting and asked everyone to introduce themselves.


          Bob Fuller announced that Michael Fuhrman has agreed to serve as Vice Chair of the committee and that Daniel Chazin has agreed to serve as Secretary.


          2.  Minutes.  The minutes of the September 16, 2015 meeting were approved as submitted.


          3.  Organizational Structure.  Ed Goodell distributed copies of a document that included a draft organizational structure chart of the Trail Conference and draft job descriptions for various positions.  He stated that these documents were prepared by the Organizational Structure Committee, and he welcomed comments by members of the Regional Trails Council on these documents.  He explained the function of the Policy Council, which recommends policies to the Board, and he noted that each Regional Trails Council has representation on the Policy Council.  He also stated that the Regional Trails Councils will deal with the entire spectrum of Trail Conference activities, and not just trails. 


          Ed Goodell also explained the annual planning process, stating that it facilitates the Board getting information from the Regional Trails Councils and then transmitting information back to the Regional Trails Councils. 


          Bob Fuller noted that he had invited representatives of maintaining clubs to attend this meeting.  He stated that these club representatives are not official members of the Regional Trails Council and therefore cannot vote, but he also noted that most decisions of the Regional Trails Council are made by consensus and that maintaining club representatives are encouraged to attend and to participate fully in our meetings.

          4.  Budget Funding.  Sona Mason reported that, in the budget for 2016 approved by the Board, $1,800 has been set aside for printing and production for West Hudson, and $1,000 has been allocated for outreach events.  She also stated that $20,000 has been allocated for due diligence in land acquisition.  Sona Mason also reported that $2,500 has been provided through separate grants for tools for the Long Distance Trail Crew, that $1,000 has been allocated for tools for the rest of the region, and that $1,200 has been provided for workshops and meetings.  However, she stated, if there are additional needs, we will try to meet them if possible.


          Bob Fuller pointed out that there are always unanticipated contingencies for which funds will be required.  Ed Goodell stated that the Trail Conference generally does not fund materials for bridges and other structures in the parks, although it assists in raising funds for these purposes.  He explained that to fund such materials would be a “bottomless hole.”


          Bob Fuller also stated that 25 volunteers and staff will be taking Wilderness First Aid training in March, and he thanked the Trail Conference for funding this training.  Sona Mason commented that it was highly unusual for the Trail Conference to provide funding for such training.  Ed Goodell questioned whether it is necessary for volunteers to take Wilderness First Aid training, as sawyers are only required to take basic first aid training.  In response, Bob Fuller stated that the standard Red Cross First Aid training has been watered down and no longer is meaningful.  He also commented that the Wilderness First Aid course may not be offered each year.  Daniel Chazin stated that, as a Board member, he believes that supporting volunteer efforts is the highest and best use of Trail Conference funds.


          5.  Committee and Project Reports.  The following reports were presented:


                    a.  West Hudson South.  John Mack reported that sawyers cleared 194 blowdowns in Harriman and Sterling Forest during the past year.  He also pointed out that the Fawn Trail in Harriman has been extended for nearly a mile.  Bob Fuller thanked John Mack for his dedicated efforts that resulted in the extension of this trail.  John Mack commented that he is discouraged with vandalism on the Blue Disc Trail and at the intersection of the Dunning and Nurian Trails.  He also noted that the rangers prefer reflective tags, which he obtains from the parks and cuts to the proper size and shape.


          Bob Fuller noted that Marek Stykos, Andrew Argeski and John Mack have agreed to work on the issue of obtaining reflective metal blazes for maintainers.


                    b.  West Hudson North.  Bob Fuller pointed out that representatives of the West Hudson North Trails Committee could not attend this meeting but did submit a report on trail work in Minnewaska State Park.

                    c.  Long Distance Trails Crew.  Chris Reyling, Chief of the Long Distance Trails Crew, reported that the crew had a very successful year, with two relocations of the A.T. being completed.  He noted that the 0.2-mile relocation on the A.T. on Bear Mountain included about 100 rock steps and long sections of crib wall, and he pointed out that the crew also completed an 0.1-mile relocation at the Greenwood Mine on the A.T. in Harriman.  Chris Reyling noted that other projects that the crew worked on this year included work at Fitzgerald Falls, installation of stepping stones on the Long Path at Lake Skannatati, and rebuilding a 16-foot bridge over High Mountain Brook in Ramapo Mountain State Forest in New Jersey.


          For the coming year, Chris Reyling reported, the Long Distance Trails Crew hopes to work on a relocation of the Long Path on Long Mountain, a relocation of A.T. on Black Mountain, and (working together with the Nor’Westers Trail Crew) rehabilitation of the Long Path at Verkeerder Kill Falls in Minnewaska State Park Preserve.  He also stated that the crew would possibly be working on a relocation at Schunemunk Mountain that would eliminate a crossing of Metro-North tracks by routing the Highlands Trail through a culvert under the tracks.


                    d.  Bear Mountain Trails Project.  Bob Fuller noted that Ama Koenigshof had submitted a written report on the Bear Mountain Trails Project.  He also noted that the Jolly Rovers have agreed to perform all required maintenance on the stone work constructed on the A.T. on Bear Mountain.


                    e.  Palisades Trail Crew.  Sona Mason reported that, during the past season, the Palisades Trail Crew completed the Doris Duke Trail in Sterling Forest State Park, and that, during the coming season, they will be working on constructing a seven-mile multi-use trail in Sterling Forest.  She noted that this trail has been designed to limit the speeds of bicycles using the trail.


                    f.  Conservation Committee.  Sona Mason reported that the Conservation Committee is working on protecting lands adjacent to the A.T., as well as the Highlands Trail and the Long Path.  She stated that during the past year we were able to move over a mile of the Highlands Trail off roads.  Jakob Franke commented that the past year has been moderately successful for the Conservation Committee, noting that the committee agreed to acquire a parcel of land adjacent to the A.T. in Orange County.


                    g.  Advocacy.  Sona Mason commented that the proposed Kiryas Joel development threatens the current alignment of the Long Path and the Highlands Trail, and she encouraged everyone to attend public hearings on this proposal.  She also noted that Patsy Wooters has been proposed to become the chair of the Advocacy Committee, which is currently being established.


                    h.  Adirondack Mountain Club.  Bill Burns of the Adirondack Mountain Club reported on the trail sections that are maintained by his club.


                    i.  Appalachian Mountain Club.  Jonathan Martin reported that the new AMC camp in Harriman will open in July and will host four youth crews and one adult crew this season.  He noted that the AMC hopes to construct a two-mile trail around Breakneck Pond, and he commented that this trail has been unofficially blazed and is currently used by some hikers.  In response to a question, Jonathan Martin stated that he could not state what AMC’s policy would be towards people swimming in Breakneck Pond.  Bob Fuller noted that the AMC is making signs for the A.T. in Harriman State Park.


                    j.  Thendara Mountain Club.  Marek Stykos reported that the Thendara Mountain Club has 25 volunteers who maintain 25 trail segments in Harriman State Park.  He noted that his club is trying to recruit new members.


                    k.  Long Path.  Jakob Franke reported that the New Jersey Section of the Palisades Interstate Park does not want the Trail Conference to use nailed-on blazes on their trails, including the Long Path.  He also reported on two recent relocations of the Long Path.  He noted that a relocation in Woodbury moved the trail off the Metro-North railbed, and that a relocation at Roosa Gap moved the Long Path so that it is adjacent to the fire tower, which is now officially open to the public.


          Jakob Franke also reported that the Long Path Committee has built several new trails that connect with the Long Path.  He suggested that these trails, as well as other trails connecting to the Long Path, be placed under the jurisdiction of the West Hudson Trails Committee rather than the Long Path Committee.  Jakob Franke stated that the trails involved include six or seven miles in Rockland County, about 10 miles in Orange County and some trails in Sullivan County, and he agreed to submit to the West Hudson Regional Trails Council a list of all of these trails.  Bob Fuller commented that he had talked to John Mack, who agreed that the jurisdiction of the West Hudson South Trails Committee extends beyond Harriman and Sterling Forest State Parks.


                    l.  Adoption of New Trails.  Bob Fuller cautioned that we should be careful in deciding which trails we should adopt, since we have limited volunteer resources to maintain these trails.  It was noted that the process for approval of new trails is not clear since the Trails Council was abolished.  Chris Reyling stated that a subcommittee of the Policy Council is working on procedures for adopting new trails.  Sona Mason commented that it would be awkward for the Trail Conference to turn down a request from a major park partner, such as the New York State DEC, to construct new trails. 


                    m.  Submission of Reports.  In response to a question by Bob Fuller, Daniel Chazin commented that the submission of written reports should be encouraged, and that there is no need to present the reports orally at a meeting unless there are issues that need to be discussed.


          6.  Volunteer Service Agreements.  John Leigh discussed the requirements of the Volunteer Service Agreements with New York State parks.  It was noted that these forms currently apply only to lands administered by OPRHP in New York, but Jakob Franke pointed out that similar requirements may be put into effect for volunteers working in the New Jersey Section of the Palisades Interstate Park.


          John Leigh pointed out that in the West Hudson area, maintainers are not required to notify the parks before performing trail maintenance work, but trail crews, chain sawyers and invasive species volunteers must receive permission from the parks before performing any work.  He stated that it is now possible to fill out the forms electronically, but that paper forms may still be submitted.


          Concerns were expressed that it is impractical for chainsaw crews to notify the parks in advance of all work being done.  It was agreed that this issue needs to be discussed with the Chainsaw Committee.  John Leigh pointed out that a chainsawyer in another organization was killed during a work trip, which has resulted in the imposition of increased oversight by the State.  John Leigh agreed to submit to the members of the Regional Trails Council contact information for all park managers who need to be notified prior to work trips.


          7.  NPS Centennial.  Bob Fuller explained that to commemorate the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, all volunteers who perform 201.6 hours of service on NPS lands during 2016 will receive a special medallion.  He stated that John Leigh will collect the hours from all volunteers and send in the requests to the NPS.  In response to a question, John Leigh stated that the Trail Conference is still giving out 20-year volunteer vests, while supplies last. 


          8.  Contact List.  Copies of the Trail Conference contact list were distributed to all volunteers attending the meeting.



          9.  Locations and Dates of Future Meetings.  Bob Fuller indicated that while the Trail Conference office appears to be a convenient location for meetings of the West Hudson Regional Trails Council, Thursday nights are not convenient for some people who should be attending these meetings.  Sona Mason suggested that some meetings be held at locations further north in New York State.  Andrew Argeski suggested that meetings be held every two months, while others suggested that meetings be held quarterly.  Bob Fuller proposed that the West Hudson Regional Trails Council meet every two months, during the second week, with meetings alternating between Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


          After discussion, it was agreed that the next meeting of the West Hudson Regional Trails Council will be held at the Trail Conference headquarters at the Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, New Jersey on Tuesday, April 12th.


          10.  T-Shirts and Discounts.  John Leigh showed the members of the Regional Trails Council two different kinds of t-shirts.  He also distributed information regarding discounts available via www.ProMotive.com, but noted that this information was for use by supervisors and other high-level volunteer leadership only.


          11.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.


                                                                                Respectfully submitted,


                                                                                Daniel D. Chazin