Trail Conference Year-End Program Report: 2015 Look Back & 2016 Look Ahead

August 08, 2016
Trail Conference
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

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Trail Conference Year-End Program Report: 2015 Look Back & 2016 Look Ahead
Headquarters Exterior Fall 2015 - Photo: Jeremy Apgar

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Here is a look at our 2015 accomplishments and a preview of plans for 2016

2015 Look Back

Catskills

  • Grew the Catskill Conservation Corps through work trips, workshops, and litter pick-up events at the Blue Hole and other heavily used areas. 
  • Worked with Woodchuck Lodge to create family-friendly trail system in Roxbury, N.Y. 
  • Launched highly successes Summit Stewards program on Slide Mountain, the Catskills’ tallest and busiest mountain.

East Hudson

  • Completed the South Taconic Trail extension. This lengthens the South Taconic Trail by 6.5 miles, reaching Rudd Pond and the outskirts of Millerton, N.Y. 
  • Built an extension to the Round Hill Bypass Trail in Fahnestock, linking the Fahnestock Trail to School Mountain Road. 
  • Built three new trails, a total of four miles, in Dover Stone Church Preserve.

New JerseyDelaware Water Gap

  • Conducted 30 trail crew outings with West Jersey Trail Crew, Ramapo Earth Crew, and Long Distance Trails Crew, comprising hundreds of work hours. 
  • Played an early and leading role in successful effort to protect the Hudson Palisades from a proposed high-rise structure at LG Electronics USA headquarters. Revised lower structure preserves the Palisades viewshed and views from the Long Path. 
  • Strengthened working relations with National Park Service in the Delaware Water Gap, resulting in increased partnerships and volunteer outreach in western New Jersey.

West HudsonNew Highlands Trail. Photo Credit: Sona Mason

Bear Mountain

  • Completed approximately 500 highly labor-intensive feet of Upper East Face of the Appalachian Trail, reaching 60 percent completion
  • Finished construction of Trails for People Exhibit at base of Bear Mountain on the A.T. Provided over 10,600 volunteer hours of labor.

Cartography and PublicationsCatskill Map. Photo Credit: Jeremy Apgar

  • Produced new print and digital editions of four maps sets: Catskill, Harriman-Bear Mountain, South Taconic, and West Hudson. 
  • Completed and launched the brand new Circuit Hikes in Harriman book.
  • Produced 15 new northern New Jersey state park maps, made available as free handouts at parks, as downloads on our website, and through the PDF Maps app.

Invasives

  • Completed the fifth year of the Invasives Strike Force (ISF), reaching a milestone of over 1,000 miles of trails surveyed for invasive species. This was the cumulative efforts of 400 volunteers making over 60,000 observations. 
  • Removed over 50,000 invasive plants from 20 parks, preserves, and partner properties, improving over 100 acres of land. 
  • Convened over 40 partner agencies of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) to prioritize invasive species work, education, and outreach.

2016 Look Ahead

Catskills

  • Rebuild German Hollow lean-to, which was crushed by fallen trees. Expand Summit Stewards program to other popular destinations in the Catskills.

East Hudson

  • Expand and recruit a dedicated Hudson Highlands roving trail crew. 
  • Collaborate with NYC Parks to recruit volunteers and offer technical assistance and documentation with trail maintenance projects.

New Jersey

  • Promote, protect, and improve the long-distance Highlands Trail, New Jersey’s Millennium Legacy Trail. Develop workshops, volunteer outings, and events to draw attention to this nearby, under-utilized hiking treasure. 
  • Expand Trail Conference presence and recruitment everywhere we maintain trails.

West Hudson

  • Collaborate in a Trails Town event along south-western boundary of Harriman, attracting eco-tourism and highlighting improved trail access via mass transit. 
  • Develop a Bear Mountain Stewards program. 
  • Create a new trail loop in Sterling Forest’s recently preserved “donut hole.”

Bear Mountain

  • Extend progress on the remaining 1,145 feet and 325 stone stairs of the A.T. on the Upper East Face. Complete all work by fall 2017.

Cartography and Publications

  • Develop a new map set covering the entirety of the Long Path. 
  • Produce revised editions of Jersey Highlands, Kittatinny, Sterling Forest, and Shawangunk map sets.

Invasives

  • Ramp up invasives removal efforts by increasing summer crew service periods, engaging more volunteers and streamlining data collection and processing. 
  • Lead the Lower Hudson PRISM to aggressively target priority areas and species.

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