Thursday, April 2, 2015

News: Free Introduction to Trail Maintenance Workshop on April 12 in Fleischmanns, New York

The Catskill Conservation Corps' and New York-New Jersey Trail Conference's Second Sundays at Spillian series continues with a free workshop on the basics of trail care and maintenance in the Catskills on Sunday, April 12 from 1pm to 4pm.

This workshop will provide participants with the skills necessary to properly clear, maintain and improve a hiking trail so it is easily passable for fellow hikers and the trail itself is harmonious with the environment. Through a few hours of field work, attendees will learn assessment of trail conditions, trail clearing, trail marking, proper use of tools and how to report any trail problems they may come across on trail that they ware working on.

Be prepared to spend a few hours on the trails around Spillian as part of this workshop.  Make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and trail work; pack plenty of water; and bring work gloves.

Refreshments will be served.  This event is free and open to the public. Please register on the Trail Conference’s website so they can maintain an accurate headcount for the event.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

News: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Opens New Headquarters at Darlington Schoolhouse

A new chapter in the New  York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s 94-year history will begin on April 7, when a ribbon-cutting ceremony completes their move into the new headquarters at the Darlington Schoolhouse in Mahwah, New Jersey. The Trail Conference has worked with many partners since 2004 to acquire, stabilize, restore, and repurpose the 124-year-old historical landmark, which borders the Ramapo Valley County Reservation and now helps to serve the organization’s goal of protecting and promoting access to the outdoors. “While this day has been a long time coming, I don’t regret taking care, every step of the way, to build a headquarters that represents our values and enables us to better accomplish our mission of connecting people with nature,” said Edward Goodell, Trail Conference executive director.

With meticulous attention to detail, the Schoolhouse was restored in two phases: Phase 1, completed in 2012, included structural stabilization, exterior renovation, climate control, and utilities, while Phase 2 involved the interior renovation of the original 4,400-square-foot schoolhouse and construction of a 3,700-square-foot, two-story addition. In March, electricians, plumbers, and painters put the finishing touches on the headquarters building at 600 Ramapo Valley Road. In a concerted effort by staff and volunteers, equipment and files were officially moved in from the rented office just up the road, where the Trail Conference had maintained operations since 2001. Everyone is invited to stop by the new headquarters to purchase maps, books, and memberships, sign up for volunteer opportunities and workshops, or simply learn more about the organization.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place April 7 at noon, rain or shine. A short program, tours, and a hot beverage will be provided. A day-long grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, September 12 to acknowledge the supporters, builders, and friends who made this remarkable restoration a reality. As the organization enters its 95th year, the new headquarters will be the cornerstone from which the Trail Conference builds its second century of serving the region by making public lands more accessible.

Learn more about the Darlington Schoolhouse

Thursday, March 19, 2015

News: 2015 Catskill Park Awareness Day A Success

On a cold and somewhat snowy February 10, 2015, dozens of representatives from the Catskills braved the roads, the weather and the halls of Albany to attend the third annual Catskill Park Awareness Day in Albany, New York.

During the day of advocacy, attendees met with and educated dozens lawmakers, both from the Catskills and from the rest of New York State, about the importance of the Catskill Park and the Catskill Forest Preserve to the region’s local communities, visitors, and New York State. Those visiting that day were members of the Catskill Park Coalition - an alliance of like-minded groups committed to broadening public appreciation for the park and seeking resources to enhance and maintain it.

During the visit, the Catskill Park Coalition requested the following from Albany in 2015:

  • Environmental Protection Fund: Support the creation of a dedicated line of $4 million in the Environmental Protection Fund for the Catskill Park.
  • New York State Forest Rangers: Fully fund an Assistant Forest Ranger Program in NYS DEC Regions 3 & 4 and establish a 2015 Academy for Forest Rangers.
  • Land Protection: Act on a number of priority parcels for acquisition in the Catskills.
  • Recreation Plan for the Park: Help to secure funding to conduct a planning process for a Catskill Park Recreation Plan.
  • Catskill Association for Tourism Services: Support additional funding in the amount of $100,000 for CATS to implement its marketing program in 2015.
Learn more about the 2015 Catskill Park Awareness Day on the Trail Conference's event page and on the Coalition's event page.

Need more information on hiking and planning your 
trips to the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park?

Catskill TrailsRead up on the Catskill Park at our Catskill Mountains Information Page for hikes, advice, travel and planning information.  We also have a Guide to Hiking in the Catskills available and on our sister site, ReviewThis is a Guide to the Catskill Park.  Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills?  We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set.  These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park.  How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region and thAdventures in the Outdoors Bookstore carries many more books and maps that will help you as you hike and explore the Catskill Mountains region.

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock and The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line.

AMC Catskill Mountain Guide, 2nd: AMC's Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Trails in the Catskills (Appalachian Mountain Club)   

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

News: 16th Edition of Harriman-Bear Mountain Map Set Now Available From Trail Conference

One of the best maps to have for hikers in Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks just got better. The Trail Conference has released the 2015 (16th edition) of the Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map Set.  This two map set is printed in color on waterproof and tear-resistant Tyvek.

Given the rich network of trails in Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, this revised, digitally-produced two-map set is a must-have for hikers in these parks. The 16th edition has proven to be the most significant update since 2007, as the maps now include detailed trail mileage figures for planning or navigating on the trail right on the map.

Learn more about this updated map set on the Trail Conference's website.

For more information on hiking in Bear Mountain State Park and environs
Within New York, the Trail Conference publishes the Harriman Bear Mountain Trails Map Set, maps for the adjacent Sterling Forest State Park, along with maps for Northern New Jersey Trails that are in the vicinity.  We have a number of books and maps for more information hiking in this area available in the Hudson Highlands section of our Adventures in the Outdoors Bookstore.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

News: Appalachian Trail Grows 3.9 Miles in 2015!

Harpers Ferry, WV (Jan. 15, 2015) – Re-measurements and relocations of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) have brought the total mileage of the footpath to 2,189.2 miles, an increase of 3.9 miles from last year’s mileage of 2,185.3. This mileage is carefully documented in the Trail’s official guidebooks, which include the Appalachian Trail Data Book and the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion. Both books are published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Every year, the latest mileage and shelter information is updated from volunteers who are constantly improving the Trail, with volunteer Daniel D. Chazin of Teaneck, N.J. leading the efforts since 1983. This year, more than half of the changes in the mileage are in southwest Virginia, with 2 miles added to the total following a re-measurement by volunteers.

Increases were also reported in New York-New Jersey (0.1 mile); central Virginia (0.1 mile); Tennessee-North Carolina (1.5 miles); and North Carolina-Georgia (0.2 mile).

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s guidebooks are invaluable planning resources for any Appalachian Trail hiker, whether they are out for a day hike or hiking the entire length from Maine to Georgia,” said Laurie Potteiger, information services manager for the ATC. “These guides contain the latest information from volunteers who measure, maintain and manage the Trail and those who hike it regularly.”