United by Trails

July 04, 2018
Amber Ray
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


United by Trails
Taconic Trail Crew at Breakneck Ridge. Photo by Erik Mickelson.


We may adventure differently, but we are all united in our passion to connect with nature.

The trail community in the greater New York metropolitan area is an inspiring movement. We are wanderers, runners, hikers, and riders of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. We appreciate, respect, and deeply treasure the wealth of wild places reachable within just a few hours of home because we live in one the most amazingly cosmopolitan regions on Earth. Our life experiences may be worlds apart, but on the trail, we are united in our passion to connect with nature.

The founding of this movement runs parallel with the founding of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. In 1920, through the spirit of volunteerism, dedicated members of local hiking clubs created the Trail Conference to work alongside burgeoning park administrations and make newly preserved public lands accessible to everyone via blazed trail systems. Nearly 100 years later, our legacy of building, maintaining, and protecting trails and stewarding parklands as a volunteer-powered organization continues. Today, we don’t just serve as the hub of this trail community, we operate as one big Trail Family.

Like any good family, the Trail Conference works together in good times and bad to get the job done. A small staff coordinates and supports the work of over 2,000 volunteers across 25 counties. Together, we contribute around 100,000 hours of labor each year. We care for 2,165 miles of trails and the lands through which they pass. The Trail Conference is devoted to our Trail Family members, advocating for the interests of trail users and constantly seeking ways to improve your outdoor experience.

The next time you’re out on the trail, take a moment to reflect on the hard work of the Trail Family members who give so much of themselves to ensure great trails and parks remain open, safe, and enjoyable for all. You’ll find their stories throughout our website. You’ll also find them on the trail, day in and day out, caring for our lands, our trails, and each other. Because that’s what family does.

Trail Family Values

The Trail Conference has been mobilizing volunteers and advocating for the care of public trails for nearly 100 years. With your help, we can continue to keep trails and the lands they traverse open and safe for another century—and beyond. In 2017, more than 2,100 volunteers donated at least 94,000 hours of service to trails and parks in our region. Find out how you can give back at nynjtc.org/volunteer.

Your membership also supports your trail community. Become a member of our Trail Family and receive great perks like discounts in our store and at participating retail partners. Learn more at nynjtc.org/membership.