Donor Spotlight: Why We Donate to the Trail Conference

June 03, 2021
Georg Budenbender
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Donor Spotlight: Why We Donate to the Trail Conference


Why do we donate to the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference?

There are many reasons, but let my dear wife Dr. Katy Elwyn and myself, Georg Budenbender, just share a few important points. We have been hiking and enjoying the great out of doors for decades. Katy’s hiking goes back to her grandmother, who hiked or "tramped" as they called it in the early 1920s, up Breakneck Ridge. My dad explored the Alps on foot between the two World Wars, I guess it’s in our genes.

Particularly in the last decade, we have seen a surge in outdoor activities and trail usage across the globe. This is absolutely great—but it also takes a toll on trails and the environment. At a time when government funding continues to be steadily reduced, it’s up to the private sector—meaning us, the individuals who enjoy the out of doors—to step in and help.

The parks and recreational facilities in the New York and New Jersey metro areas are beautiful and pretty unique. Tireless individuals have created a cohesive park system for our enjoyment, but it’s being "loved to “death."  A drive past Breakneck on a sunny weekend may make you cringe when you see wall-to-wall parking, but just step back for a minute and think how bad it could be without Trail Stewards funded by the Trail Conference? How bad would it be without crews building and stabilizing trails and volunteers clearing blowdowns? It all costs money—even the volunteers. Their time is free but not the tools and equipment they use or the support they receive from Trail Conference staff. And it’s all for us, that we can enjoy the forests, vistas, fresh air, and solitude of the gorgeous woodlands and mountains.

The last year living through the pandemic has been horrific. But just think about how wonderful it was to meet a fellow hiker with a friendly hello, a chat on the trail. What a relief from the virus-imposed isolation.

All of this is possible through the beautiful out of doors we are fortunate enough to have. They are open to everyone regardless of ethnicity, political beliefs, or cultural background—and they are free! We have found that the out of doors is unifying rather than dividing in a time of a highly polarized society. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to give, and it’s with joy in our hearts that Katy and I give to help the cause. Maybe you would like to do the same with whatever is in your means. Small amounts add up to big ones.

Your Passion + Support = Great Trail Experiences

The time to invest in your connection with nature is now. Please consider donating to our Trail Building & Maintenance Fund, and be part of the solution. When you donate to the Trail Building & Maintenance Fund you are supporting the planning, construction, and restoration of thousands of miles of trails—trails that empower people across the region to explore natural areas throughout 28 counties. 

Every dollar donated to the Trail Conference through Wednesday, June 9, will be doubled, making your gift go twice as far. We are grateful for the generosity of supporters Georg Budenbender and Dr. Katy Elwyn, who have offered this match to highlight the importance of investing in healthy trail networks. 

In fact, the enthusiasm for our National Trails Day challenge has been so strong, you inspired another donor to pitch in to help extend our match! Our thanks goes to Mark Perreault for donating this new match gift. Thanks to his commitment to protecting great trail experiences, your gift can go even further. Remember: Every dollar helps—and will be doubled!