Trail Conference Preserves Critical Link for Trails on Shawangunk Ridge

January 04, 2017
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Trail Conference Preserves Critical Link for Trails on Shawangunk Ridge
Long Path on the Shawangunk Ridge in Wurtsboro, NY. Photo by Jakob Franke.


The Trail Conference has purchased a key parcel of land that creates a protected corridor along the Shawangunk Ridge.

The Trail Conference’s Long Path and Conservation committees work hard to secure a green corridor for our long-distance trails before inappropriate development alters the experience along the Long Path and Shawangunk Ridge and Highlands trails forever.

The latest victory is a key 7.8-acre abandoned rail bed on the western slope of the Shawangunk Ridge near Wurtsboro, N.Y. Combined with other parcels the Trail Conference purchased in 2002 that connect the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area with Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest, the preserved area now totals 21 acres and creates a protected corridor that will move the co-aligned Long Path and SRT off of a 2-mile road walk.

Preserving long-distance trails is no easy task—it took 14 years for all the pieces to come together to create this critical link. Conserving open space often requires months of negotiation with land owners, due diligence costs, and the transfer of these parcels to state land managers such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Credit goes to our dedicated volunteer Andy Garrison, Long Path Chair, who devotes a virtually unquantifiable amount of time tracking down potential land parcels, contacting land owners, and reviewing the trajectory of the Long Path.

“It's been over 20 years since the Trail Conference has been actively preserving land along the Long Path,” Andy says. “Virtually everyone involved at the beginning has moved on, but this very important work needs to continue to be done.”

One of the most instrumental people in this process, Long Path Chair and Conservation Committee Chair Jakob Franke, passed away in November. “Jakob and I worked together for the past 12 years, and he inspired many—including me,” Andy says. “He will be missed very much.” (Read the full tribute to Jakob.)

Andy has since stepped into the role of Conservation Committee Chair and will continue the good work of pursuing more undeveloped land on behalf of our trails.