About Us

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.

      Sustainability is fundamental to a healthy organization.

    We will generate and raise an appropriate level of awareness and income to support the needs of the organization.

      Range View

      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.


      Members Display Block

      Our Board
      15 MEMBERS
      Our Board of Directors provides leadership for the Trail Conference.
      Andy Garrison
      Andrew Garrison
      Board Director
      Beth Ravit
      Board Treasurer
      Charles Gadol
      Board Director
      Trail Conference Board Member David Felsenthal.
      David Felsenthal
      Board Director
      David Stuhr
      Board Director
      Edward B. Whitney
      Board Director
      Edward Saiff
      Board Chair
      John Magerlein
      Board Director
      Justin Bailey
      Board Director
      Kathy Nolan
      Board Director
      Katina Grays
      Board Director
      Ken Posner
      Board Secretary
      Patsy Wooters
      Board Vice Chair
      Susan Barbuto
      Board Director
      Walt Daniels
      Board Director
      Our Staff
      29 MEMBERS
      Our staff provides operational and management support for the Trail Conference.
      Amber Ray
      Amber Ray
      Communications Manager
      Arden Blumenthal
      Arden Blumenthal
      Conservation Dogs Program Assistant
      Ben Sugar
      Ben Sugar
      Senior Trail Builder
      Brendan Cunningham
      Brendan Cunningham
      Membership & Development Assoc.
      Brent Boscarino. Photo by Heather Darley.
      Brent Boscarino
      Invasive Species Citizen Science Program Coordinator
      Trail Conference Conservation Dog Dia. Photo by Arden Blumenthal.
      Dia
      Conservation Dog
      Don Weise
      Don Weise
      Membership & Development Director
      Trail Conference Conservation Dog Fagen. Photo by Arden Blumenthal.
      Fagen
      Conservation Dog
      Hank Osborn
      Hank Osborn
      Director of Programs
      Heather Darley
      Heather Darley
      Communications Assistant
      Jennifer Zack
      Jennifer Zack
      Membership & Development Mgr.
      Jeremy Apgar
      Jeremy Apgar
      Cartographer
      Joshua Beese and Dia the Conservation Detection Dog. Photo by Heather Darley.
      Joshua Beese
      Conservation Dog Handler
      Josh Howard
      Joshua Howard
      Executive Director
      Kathleen Bezik.
      Kathleen Bezik
      Executive Assistant
      Kendra Baumer
      Senior Engagement Manager
      Kylie Yang
      New Jersey Program Coordinator
      Lenny Bussanich.
      Lenny Bussanich
      Marketing and Fulfillment Coordinator
      Linda Rohleder
      Linda Rohleder
      Director Land Stewardship & LHPRISM
      Mary Perro
      Mary Perro
      Chief Financial Officer
      Melissa Cascini
      Melissa Cascini
      New York Program Coordinator
      Nancy Krause
      Nancy Krause
      New York Conservation Corps Assistant
      Nicole Dion.
      Nicole Dion
      Finance & Operations Associate
      Olivia Sohn.
      Olivia Sohn
      Volunteer Engagement Assistant
      Peter Dolan
      Peter Dolan
      Trail Program Manager
      Ryan Goolic.
      Ryan Goolic
      Terrestrial Invasive Species Project Manager
      Tori Finn. Photo by Heather Darley
      Tori Finn
      Conservation Corps Manager
      Tracy Arcella
      Tracy Arcella
      Field Trail Builder
      Will Smith
      Will Smith
      Information Systems Manager
      Volunteer Leaders
      31 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, Bash Bish Trail Crew Chief, Eash Hudson Trail Crew Chief
      Andy Garrison
      Andy Garrison
      Conservation Committee Chair, Catskills Long Path Local Trails Committee Chair, Long Path North Local Trails Committee Chair
      Bob Jonas
      Central New Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair
      Chris Connolly
      Chris Connolly
      Northeast New Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair, New Jersey Regional Trails Council Chair
      Chris Ezzo
      West Hudson South Trail Crew Chief
      Chris Reyling
      Long Distance Trails Crew Chief
      Trail crew member Connie Stern.
      Connie Stern
      Westchester Trail Tramps Crew Chief
      David Day
      West Jersey Trail Crew Chief
      Don Tripp.
      Don Tripp
      West Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair
      Donna Chapman
      Donna Chapman
      Dutchess/Putnam Appalachian Trail Management Committee
      Estelle Anderson
      Central New Jersey Local Trails Committee Chair, Sawyers Committee Chair
      Gary Haugland
      Highlands Trail East Local Trails Committee Chair
      Glenn Oleksak
      Highlands Trail West Local Trails Committee Chair
      Howie Liebmann
      Northwest Jersey Local Trails Committee Co-Chair
      John Jurasek
      Publications Committee Chair
      John Mack
      West Hudson South Local Trails Committee Chair 
      John Magerlein
      Policy Council Chair
      Volunteer Leader Kevin McGuinness
      Kevin McGuinness
      Long Path South Local Trails Committee Chair
      Michael Pashley
      Michael Pashley
      East Hudson Regional Trails Council Chair, Westchester Trail Tramps Crew Chief
      Volunteer Leader Mk Moore
      Mk Moore
      Metro Regional Trails Council Chair
      Volunteer Leader Moe Lemire
      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 North Local Trails Committee Chair
      Raymond Frey
      Northwest Jersey Local Trails Committee Co-Chair
      Rich Jobsky
      West Hudson Regional Trail Council Chair
      Rich Rockwell. Photo by Rich Rockwell.
      Rich Rockwell
      Invasives Strike Force Trail Crew Leader
      Ron Rosen
      Appalachian Trail Coordinating Committee Chair Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee (A.T. Conservancy)
      Rose Bonanno
      Westchester Local Trails Committee Chair
      Snapper Petta
      Snapper Petta
      Catskill Lean-to Chair
      Steve Weissman
      Appalachian Trail NJ Management Committee Chair
      Member Clubs
      39 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

      Know the New Hiking How-tos