REI Awards $20,000 to Our Trail University

July 12, 2012
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


REI Awards $20,000 to Our Trail University


Trail U advanced class at Bear Mountain April 2012. Photo by Andy Delwong.

The Trail Conference is pleased to announce that REI, the national outdoor gear co-operative, is doubling its support for our Trail University program in 2012-2013. REI is awarding the Trail Conference $20,000 so we can expand Trail U by:

  • increasing the number of course offerings and the number of trained participants;
  • offering a new, intensive training series for our "Invasives Strike Force" (;
  • rolling out a new course series designed to centralize and fast-track the process of forming new trail crews;
  • purchasing tools and supplies to be used by Trail U participants and instructors;
  • and coordinating with more REI stores (SoHo and Yonkers in New York, and Paramus and East Hanover in New Jersey) to connect REI’s members with volunteer opportunities and outdoor experiences.

With a $10,000 grant from REI in 2011-12, the Trail Conference worked with expert trail builders and experienced volunteers to reassess and overhaul the trail building and maintenance courses available through Trail U. The resulting four-part course series provides advanced training on tools, equipment, and techniques. The courses—Trail Assessment, Trail Layout and Design, Trail Structures, and Trail Tread and Drainage—were launched this year.

These new courses are helping to meet the increasing demand from our park partners for help from our growing volunteer force. We are pleased to report that the number of Trail U courses increased by 26% from the 2010-2011 to the 2011-2012 program year. From July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, we offered 69 courses, most in the field on actual trail projects.

Since Trail U’s start in 2006, more than 3,000 participants in New York and New Jersey have trained in various aspects of trail work.