About Us

Volunteer - Joanne Seirup
Volunteer
400,000

400,000 volunteer hours over the past 5 years have gone into building and maintaining trails, monitoring invasive species, creating maps and guidebooks, and more

On the Benedict Arnold Escape Path from the Glenclyffe Loop Garrison, NY - Hudson Highlands State Park - Photo Antonio Rivera
Where we work
700,000

700,000 acres of protected parkland in which the Trail Conference maintains trails, equivalent to 3 ½ times the land area of all of New York City, or land area of Rhode Island.

View from Panther Catskills Park - Photo Jaclyn Kline
Region
22

22 and counting is the number of counties where we work, in and beyond the New York metropolitan area.

Stairway to the sky - Photo Tom Demarco
Trails
2,150

Our volunteers maintain more than 2,150 miles of trails on lands stretching from New York City to the Delaware water Gap, to the Catskills and beyond.

VOLUNTEERS
WHERE WE WORK
AREA MAINTAINED
TRAILS

Range View

1920
1920s
1930
1930s
1940
1940s
1950
1950s
1960
1960s
1970
1970s
1980
1980s
1990
1990s
2000
2000-05
2005
2005-10
2011
2011
2012
2012
2013
2013
2014
2014
2015
2015
1920s
1920: Major William Welch, William Bell, Raymond Torrey, and J. Ashton Allis meet informally to plan system of trails in Harriman State Park. NYC-area hiking clubs join to form the Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference
1921: First trail, 24 mile-long Tuxedo-Jones Point Trail (now Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail), completed through Harriman. Benton MacKaye proposes Appalachian Trail.
1922: Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference is reorganized as the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
1923: First section of A.T., 20 miles through Bear Mountain-Harriman State Parks, opens. First edition of the New York Walk Book, by Torrey, Frank Place, and Robert L. Dickinson, published
1925: Appalachian Trail Conference formed
1927: Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail blazed
1930s
1930: NY-NJ Trail Conference's Section of A.T. (160 miles) complete and in use. Vincent Schaefer proposes Long Path.
1931: Trail Conference is “reinvented” to unite hiking clubs and end “trail wars”
1934: Bill Hoeferlin starts "Hikers Region Maps" series
1937: Appalachian Trail route completed from Maine to Georgia
1939: Trail Conference contributes to purchase of land north of Anthony's Nose to protect it from quarrying
1940s
1941: World War II brings drastic decrease in trail activities and closing of Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain Bridge
1942: Trail Conference adopts constitution and sets up permanent committees
1950s
1950: NY-NJ trail network achieves 422 miles
1958: Incorporation of NY-NJ Trail Conference. Leo Rothschild, conservation chair, completes New York metropolitan area land preservation study; recommends saving Sterling Forest
1960s
1960: Robert Jessen revitalizes interest in the Long Path
1963: NY-NJ Trail Conference and the Nature Conservancy cofound the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference
1964: Long Path reaches 130 miles from George Washington Bridge to Catskills
1965: United States Circuit Court of Appeals landmark decision blocks Con Edison's Storm King plans
1968: U.S. Congress passes National Trails System Act, proposing the protection of entire Appalachian Trail
1969: Trail Conference membership is opened to individuals
1970s
1970: Map committee formed. Trail Conference begins publishing trail maps, previously published by Bill Hoeferlin. Trail Conference opens first permanent office, in NYC
1975: Trail Conference hires first Executive Director, James Robinson
1979: Marriott Corporation proposes massive development in Shawangunks; Trail Conference organizes to fight the project
1980s
1982: New Jersey becomes first state to purchase its section of A.T. corridor
1985: Trail Conference begins fight to save Sterling Forest. Marriott Corporation gives up plans for development in the Shawangunks
1988: Trail Conference and Appalachian Mountain Club co-found Sterling Forest Coalition. Long Path "missing link" in Catskills completed, opening the way to the north
1990s
1990: Trail Conference begins adopting trails in the Catskills
1991: Trail Conference reaches the 1,OOO-mile mark for trails maintained
1992: Trail Conference establishes Sterling Forest Defense Fund
1993: Dedication of 36-mile Shawangunk Ridge Trail. Launch of the 150-mile, Hudson to Delaware River Highlands Trail
1995: Vistas & Vision - A History of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is published.
1996: Farny Highlands trail network begun
1997: Undercliff Trail on Breakneck Mountain completed
1998: Sterling Forest State Park becomes a reality when New York State takes title to the first 14,500 acres. More than 7,000 additional acres would be added over the next five years.  
2000-05
2000: The first Sterling Forest trails map—the Trail Conference’s first all-digitally-produced map—is published.  Highlands Trail celebrated as New Jersey’s Millennium Legacy Trail
2002: Pochuck bridge and boardwalk on the A.T. dedicated. Trail Conference initiates formation of Shawangunk Ridge Coalition, which joins efforts to stop development
2004: Trail Conference initiates trail work in New York City with the adoption of trails in Alley Pond Park and Forest Park, both in Queens
2005-10
2006: Work begins on the Bear Mountain Trails Project, including the reconstruction of the A.T. on Bear Mountain. Trail University inaugurated. Sterling Forest “doughnut hole” protected. Invasive plant tracking project begun in conjunction with Rutgers University
2007: Darlington Schoolhouse purchased to become new Trail Conference Headquarters. Trail Conference hosts ATC Biennial Conference at Ramapo College of New Jersey with the help of 387 volunteers
2009: Highlands Trail in New Jersey extended to and across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. Walkable Westchester published. Off-road vehicle legislation enacted in New Jersey after a 10-year fight 
2010: Marks 90 years of building, maintaining, and mapping trails. Opening of 700-plus rock steps on relocated section of the Appalachian Trail celebrated at Bear Mountain.
2011
  • A groundbreaking ceremony for the restoration of the historic Darlington Schoolhouse as the Trail Conference’s future headquarters is held.
  • The Professional Trailbuilders Association names the Bear Mountain Trails Project “Project of the Year.” 
  • The West Jersey Trail Crew completes its six-year project building a new, nearly 7-mile-long trail within Jenny Jump State Forest in Warren County. 
  • In a milestone for the Bear Mountain Trails Project, the All-Persons Trail—the first mountaintop section of the A.T. that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines—opens on Bear Mountain. 
  • The Invasives Strike Force trains over 100 volunteers to identify a set of 14 common, widespread invasive plants. In its first season, volunteers of the ISF survey more than 132 miles of trails. 
2012
  • Trail Conference maps go digital, becoming downloadable via the Avenza Maps app. 
  • The Appalachian Trail Conservancy celebrates the Town of Warwick, N.Y., as an Appalachian Trail Community, the first in the New York-New Jersey region to be granted this designation. 
  • A 1,600-foot-long boardwalk and 34-foot bridge for the Appalachian Trail is built over the Swamp River and associated wetlands in Pawling, N.Y.
  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation chooses the Trail Conference to coordinate its Lower Hudson Valley Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) program beginning in 2013.
  • The Trail Conference and others bring a lawsuit against the Borough of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., after the borough amended its zoning code to permit construction of buildings 150 feet in height along the Palisades Interstate Park. Any building at that height--including a proposed new headquarters for LG Electronics USA--would mar the surrounding viewshed.
2013
  • Dover and Pawling in Dutchess County, N.Y., are designated jointly as an Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Trail Conference. They become known as the Harlem Valley A.T. Community. 
  • The Trail Conference welcomes its first class of AmeriCorps members in the inaugural season of the organization’s Conservation Corps. Members are assigned to three separate projects: invasives monitoring and removal, and trail building at Bear Mountain and Sterling Forest. 
  • In an effort to keep hikers safe, a Trail Steward program is launched at Breakneck Ridge. 
  • The first phase of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail project opens on National Trails Day. 
2014
  • The New York Department of Environmental Conservation asks the Trail Conference to take the lead role in the Catskill Conservation Corps, managing all volunteer activities in the Catskill Forest Preserve.
  • After decades of planning and three years of field work by more than 100 volunteers, the new, 9-mile stretch of Long Path in the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area of the Catskill Mountains opens. 
  • The Trail Conference is named winner of the 2014 New Jersey Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in the Environmental Education (adult-led) category for its Trail University program.
  • By donating 93,214 hours of their time for trails, 1,740 volunteers help break a Trail Conference service record.
  • The Trail Conference reaches the milestone of being responsible for the maintenance of 2,000 miles of trails.
  • The Trail Conference joins the fight against two casino resorts proposed for Orange County—one in Sterling Forest State Park, the other adjacent to Harriman State Park. Neither project receives a license from the state.
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Headquarters
2015
  • The Trail Conference officially opens the doors at its permanent headquarters at the historic Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, N.J. Festivities include a grand opening honoring the organization’s 95th year. 
  • The Trail Conference and the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (MEVO) team up to create the Ramapo Earth Crew, a partnership that combines the Trail Conference’s trail-building experience and resources with MEVO’s strong youth volunteer presence. 
  • LG Electronics USA announces a redesign of its proposed new headquarters overlooking the Palisades in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. The settlement is an amicable end to a three-year battle in which the Trail Conference played an early and leading role within a coalition opposed to the high-rise development.
  • In its fifth year, Invasives Strike Force volunteers reach more than 1,000 miles of trails surveyed.
 

Our Vision and Mission

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is a volunteer-powered organization that builds, maintains, and protects public trails. Together with our partners, we strive to ensure that the trails and natural areas we share are sustainable and accessible for all to enjoy for generations to come.

     

    Our Values

      The joys of nature belong to everyone. 

    All people—regardless of age, ability, or location—should be able to experience the rewards of connecting with nature.

      Environmental conservation is a shared duty.

    We must preserve the integrity of our natural world—not only to sustain our trail systems, but to ensure future generations can enjoy the outdoor experiences a healthy planet has to offer.

      Volunteers are our superheroes.

    Creating and protecting trails is a labor of love. We celebrate our volunteers—their passion, dedication, and leadership make the trails we all love possible.

      Respect is essential to success.

    In our partnerships, we exercise the same courtesy we advocate for on the trail, and we strive to be a trusted source of information and expertise for the trail community.

      The right path is always a responsible one.

    We take land stewardship seriously and approach every decision—whether we’re out in the field or in our headquarters—with balanced judgment and firm conscience.

      Members Display Block

      Our Board
      16 MEMBERS
      Our Board of Directors provides leadership for the Trail Conference.
      Andy Garrison
      Andrew Garrison
      Board Director
      Beth Ravit
      Board Director
      Chris Connolly
      Christopher Connolly
      Board Director
      Daniel Hoberman - Board Counsel
      Daniel Hoberman
      Board Counsel
      David Stuhr
      Board Director
      Edward B. Whitney
      Board Director
      Edward Saiff
      Board Chair
      Gaylord Holmes
      Board Director
      John Magerlein
      Board Director
      Ken Posner
      Board Secretary
      Mary Dooman
      Board Director
      Patsy Wooters
      Board Vice Chair
      Richard Katzive
      Board Director
      Richard Levine
      Board Treasurer
      Suzan Gordon
      Board Director
      Walt Daniels
      Board Director
      Our Staff
      25 MEMBERS
      2 STATES
      Our staff, led by the Executive Director, provides operational and management support for the Trail Conference.
      Alexander Bradley
      Catskills Program Coordinator
      Amber Ray
      Communications Manager
      Brendan Cunningham
      Membership & Development Assoc.
      Don Weise
      Membership & Development Director
      Edward K. Goodell
      Executive Director
      Eric Stone
      Invasive Species Educator and Volunteer Coordinator
      Erica VanAuken
      Erica Colace (Van Auken)
      Executive Assistant
      Erik Mickelson
      Field Manager
      Gary Willick
      Fulfillment Specialist
      Geoff Hamilton
      Conservation Corps Manager
      Hank Osborn
      Regional Programs manager & NY East Hudson Program Coordinator
      Heather Darley
      Communications Assistant
      Jennifer Zack (Easterbrook)
      Membership & Development Mgr.
      Jeremy Apgar
      Cartographer
      Joshua Howard
      Deputy Exec. Director
      Kendra Baumer
      Volunteer Engagement Manager
      Linda Rohleder
      Director Land Stewardship & LHPRISM
      Mary Perro
      Finance & Operations Manager
      Michael Young
      Terrestrial Invasive Species Project Manager
      Nicole Dion
      Finance & Operations Associate
      Peter Dolan
      NJ Program Coordinator
      Sabina Cardenas
      Finance & Operations Assistant
      Soňa Mason
      NY West Hudson Program Coord.
      Will Smith
      Information Systems Manager
      Will Soter
      Assistant Catskills Program Coord.
      Volunteer Leaders
      28 MEMBERS
      Our volunteers provide leadership for on-trail work throughout the region, chair program areas such as advocacy, publications, and technology,and represent the Trail Conference to our park partners.
      Andrew Seirup
      East Hudson Local Trails Committee Chair
      Bob Jonas
      Central New Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair
      Chris Connolly
      Chris Connolly
      North Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair
      Chris Ezzo
      West Hudson South Trail Crew Chief
      Chris Reyling
      Long Distance Trails Crew Chief
      Daniel Chazin
      David Day
      West Jersey Trail Crew Chief
      Don Tripp
      West Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair
      Estelle Anderson
      Central New Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair, Sawyers Committee Chair
      Gary Haughland
      Highlands Trail East Local Trails Committee Chair
      Glenn Oleksak
      Highlands Trail West Local Trails Committee Chair
      Howie Liebmann
      New Jersey Regional Trails Chair, North Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair
      Jane Daniels
      East Hudson Regional Trails Council Chair; Westchester Local Trails Committee Co-Chair
      Jim Haggett
      Dutchess/Putnam Appalachian Trail Management Committee
      John Gunzler
      Membership & Development Committee Chair
      John Jurasek
      Publications Committee Chair
      John Mack
      West Hudson South Local Trails Committee Chair 
      John Magerlein
      Policy Council Chair
      Mary Dodds
      Westchester Trail Tramps Crew Chief
      Mary Dooman
      Moe Lemire
      Appalachian Trail Orange-Rockland Management Committee Chair
      Monica Day
      West Jersey Trail Crew Chief
      Patsy Wooters
      Advocacy Committee Chair
      Patti Lee Parmalee
      West Hudson South Local Trails Committee Chair
      Ron Rosen
      Appalachian Trail Coordinating Committee Chair Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committe (AT Conservancy)
      Rose Bonanno
      Westchester Local Trails Committee Co-Chair
      Steve Weismann
      Appalachian Trail NJ Management Committee Chair
      Todd Jennings
      Shawangunk Ridge Trail Committee - Local Trails Committee Chair
      Member Clubs
      22 CLUBS
      Hiking with one of the clubs is a great way for beginners to learn both about how to hike and where the trails are. Many of the member clubs welcome guests on hikes!

      What We Do

       
      The Trail Conference works with thousands of volunteers and partners across the region to build and maintain a network of more than 2,150 miles of public trails.

       

      Minnewaska Cove, Catskills - Photo Steve Aaron
       
      The Trail Conference establishes programs that protect open spaces at both the state and local levels. This work includes acquiring new public lands, monitoring invasive species, and educating the public.

       

       

      The Trail Conference publishes the most up-to-date maps and hiking guides in the region, as well as news and hiking resources to keep hikers safe outdoors.

       

      Become a Member

      25%
      TRAIL CONFERENCE BOOKS AND MAPS
      Membership in the Trail Conference gives you opportunities to take part in volunteer projects and training workshops, and entitles you to discounts at many outdoor stores. Don't take your access to nature for granted.

      Our Partners

      Save
      PARTNER DISCOUNTS
      Save money when you shop! Our partners offer Trail Conference members who show a valid membership card 10% discounts, except where noted.

      Business Reports

      The Trail Conference is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 organizations that have a combined menbership of over 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people.