National Trails Day: Hikes, Stewardship, and Lots of Trail Love

June 04, 2018
Heather Darley
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

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National Trails Day: Hikes, Stewardship, and Lots of Trail Love
National Trails Day celebration with REI at Bear Mountain State Park. Photo by Heather Darley.

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Every day is trails day for the Trail Conference. And on National Trails Day, we add a little extra celebration to our stewardship.

On Saturday, June 2, trail lovers throughout the region joined us to give back to the trails that offer so much enjoyment. National Trails Day, observed every June across the country, recognizes the power trails have in connecting people with nature.

At Trail Conference Headquarters, 300 nature lovers and outdoor adventurers celebrated at our National Trails Day Open House with guided hikes and stewardship opportunities next door at Ramapo Valley County Reservation. The day included tours of our historic Darlington Schoolhouse building, prizes donated by our sponors, food trucks, an origami craft table, and partner organizations encouraging year-round engagement with nature.

At Bear Mountain State Park, trail lovers gathered to celebrate on the Appalachian Trail—on the very first section of the A.T. built 95 years ago by Trail Conference volunteers. More than 45 volunteers picked up litter, helped the Invasives Strike Force Crew remove nearly 400 invasive plants, restored the native landscape at the Trails for People exhibit, and set three stone steps with the Bear Mountain Trail Crew during the event, co-sponsored by our friends at REI. All their hard work was rewarded with T-shirts, lunch, and raffled gear provided by REI.

At Ramapo Reservation, Sterling Forest State Park, and Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, our Conservation Corps crews invited volunteers to learn about trail building and try their hands at constructing sustainable trails. These Trail Love events, hosted by our Ramapo, Palisades, and Taconic trail crews, served as an introduction to the work we do every day and provided a fun opportunity to get a little dirty and give back. The Ramapo Crew cleared 100 feet of new trail, the Palisades Crew built 80 feet of new trail, and the Taconic Crew set four stone steps.

The Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community (HVATC) celebrated with guided hikes and stewardship events at the Pawling Nature Reserve (PNR). Hosted by The Nature Conservancy, HVATC was joined by the Trail Conference, members of the PNR, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Groundworks Hudson Valley, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club Military Outdoors, and The Mission Continues. Forty-five volunteers lent a hand with trail repairs and helped install 10 water bars on a 1-mile section of the A.T.

Thanks to everyone who showed their support on National Trails Day and makes trails an important part of their lives!

Remember: The safest place right now is at home.