Safest at Home

March 23, 2020
Joshua Howard, Executive Director
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Safest at Home
Catskill Trail. Photo by Steve Aaron.


Update 5/15/20: On May 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reopened statewide certain low-risk businesses, including landscaping and gardening and certain outdoor recreational activities. Since NYS covers a large portion of the trails we oversee, the Trail Conference is following this lead for the resumption of our individual volunteer activities with guidelines that follow the advice of national and local health experts. Outdoor group work and office volunteering will continue to be suspended for the time being. Addtionally, Trail Conference Headquarters remains closed.

In these challenging times, the Trail Conference has had to make a number of difficult decisions. We have witnessed more people than ever before seeking out nature in the parks we work so hard to make safe and enjoyable for everyone.

We take the responsibility of caring for the people who protect and use trails very seriously. That is why we are now suspending all outdoor volunteer activity, effective immediately. This is in addition to the suspension of all group activity. Overcrowding on trails—even trails normally not well-traveled—has made social distancing difficult, if not impossible. In addition, several parks where we work have already made the decision to close. We must all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Staying home is the safest option during this time.

We know how important our volunteers' service is to them and the land we all love. We are working on alternative ways to engage volunteers. Please stay tuned over the next few days as we develop new opportunities to be involved.

Stay safe and be well,

Joshua Howard
Executive Director