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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.”

Monday, January 19, 2015

Event: Free HikeSafe & Leave No Trace Hiking Tips in the Catskills Workshop on February 8th

The Trail Conference's Second Sundays at Spillian series continues with a free HikeSafe and Leave No Trace discussion about safe and environmentally sustainable hiking in the Catskills this February on Sunday the 8th at Spillian in Fleischmanns.

HikeSafe, along with the Hiker Responsibility Code, was developed as a joint program between the White Mountain National Forest and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to create and develop a Mountain Safety Education Program.  While originally designed to educate those hiking throughout New Hampshire about the steps they must take in order to be prepared before entering the forest, the HikeSafe program has expanded to include other areas, including the Catskills.  The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, and is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program used on public lands.

This workshop will focus on applying HikeSafe and Leave No Trace principals to your hikes, walks, excursions and climbs in the Catskills.  You'll learn how to be safe on your hike and how to ensure your hike doesn't degrade any of our natural resources.

Refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public.  Free registration is available on the Trail Conference'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)   

Friday, January 16, 2015

News: 2015 Catskill Park Awareness Day in Albany, NY

You can join the Trail Conference, the Catskill Park Coalition, a number of other organizations and non-profits, and concerned citizens and volunteers in Albany to support the Catskill Park, the Catskill Forest Preserve while raising awareness about the importance of this region on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 from 10am to 4pm at the New York State Capital!

Attendees from the 2014 Awareness Day
All are welcome to join the team as they work to educate lawmakers about the importance of the Catskill Park and the Catskill Forest Preserve to local communities and to New York State.

As part of the day, you will be part of a series of teams visiting legislators and raising awareness. As a team member, you will have an opportunity to tell the legislators why the Catskills are important to you and why the work the Trail Conference, the Catskill Conservation Corps and many other groups do in the region is so important and should be supported.

The Trail Conference is a member of the the Catskill Park Coalition and serves on its steering committee. The Coalition is an alliance of like-minded groups committed to working together to broaden public appreciation for the Catskill Park and seek additional resources to enhance, maintain, and make available to the public the extraordinary opportunities the Park and its surroundings offer and can offer.

RSVP for the 2015 Catskill Park Awareness Day Now!


Need more information on hiking and planning your 
adventures in 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)   

News: NJ Senate Bill Threatens Weekly Day of Safe Hiking During Hunting Seasons in New Jersey

New Jersey Senate Bill 699, which would allow hunting on Sundays in season, was  passed by the NJ Senate Energy and Environment Committee on January 12, 2015  for consideration by the full Senate.

Under current New Jersey law hunting has been banned on Sundays, providing a safe haven for all recreationalists such as hikers, dog walkers, bird watchers, and more.  If you are interested in protecting your right to hike and recreate safely at least one day a week during hunting seasons in New Jersey, it is critical that we take action against this bill.

How to make your voice heard
(Thanks to the Trail Conference for providing the resources below)

Below are resources to help you make a difference. Be sure to contact your local state Senator using the talking points below, and pass the word on to any other hikers you know.
Click here to view the bill (PDF)

Suggested Talking Points for Hikers

  • Eliminating Sunday as a hunting-free day caters to a small group of outdoor recreationalists while jeopardizing the enjoyment and safety of the rest of the outdoor community.
  • As a hiker, I deserve the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without the sound of gunfire and the risk of being shot. I also advocate on behalf of the bird watchers, trail runners, mountain bikers, and other outdoor recreationalists who would have their only safe opportunity to hike in the woods eliminated by this proposed bill.
  • Please keep the ban on Sunday hunting so that all New Jersey residents have at least one day a week during hunting season to access the outdoors in a safe, enjoyable manner.

Make your views known

  • Click here to find the Senator for your district and contact them in opposition to this bill using the talking points above: 
  • Contact the bill's sponsor, Senator Joseph Kyrillos, and let him know the bill's impact on hikers, a constituency that greatly outnumbers hunters.
  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, including: The Record (Bergen County, NJ): letterstotheeditor@northjersey.com

Visit the news articles linked below and leave your comments on the articles

  • http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/01/sunday_hunting_advances_in_new.html
  • http://politickernj.com/2015/01/senate-committee-releases-controversial-hunting-bills/
  • http://www.northjersey.com/news/nj-senate-committee-approves-bill-to-allow-sunday-hunting-1.1191244

Spread the word. Share these links and this info with your friends, neighbors, and organizations you belong to.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

News: Public Comment on Proposed Changes at Catskills Kaaterskill Falls being Solicited

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a Public Scoping Meeting for updates and amendments to the Kaaterskill Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the area immediately surrounding Kaaterskill Falls.  The meeting was held on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.  At the meeting, the DEC spoke of current conditions and some ideas for the future which included increasing visitor safety, improving trails and protecting the natural environment.  The public also had the opportunity to provide their feedback to DEC to start the planning process.

Regarding the process of updating and amending the Kaaterskill Wild Forest UMP, the DEC has said: Members of the public have a variety of opportunities to suggest issues to be addressed, identify problems, and offer comment on Unit Management Plans. The Department encourages public input through scoping meetings, during plan development and during the formal review of completed draft Unit Management Plans. People are encouraged to help in identifying issues that need to be addressed in the plan.  Input from the users of public land, local governments, neighboring landowners and anyone else with an interest in the property for which the plan is being developed is encouraged.

Questions about the updates can be addressed to Josh Borst, the DEC's Senior Forester at 607.652.3607.

If you'd like to submit written comments to DEC on potential changes for the Kaaterskill Falls area, they can be made until January 16, 2015 and can be sent to:

Josh Borst, NYSDEC, 65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1, Stamford, NY 12167
or via email at R4.UMP@dec.ny.gov


Need more information on hiking and planning your 
adventures in 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 for hiking and exploring the Catskill Mountain region.


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


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Event: Catskills Winter Gear and Gab, Second Sundays Series at Spillian | Sunday, December 14, 2014

As part of the Trail Conference's Second Sundays at Spillian workshop series, they will be holding a winter hiking for the new-to-winter hiker presentation, a short stroll around the Spillian trails and a shopping opportunity with local outdoor retailers!


Winter Hiking
Beginning with avid Catskills hiker, Catskill 3500 Club Board Member and Trail Conference Catskills Assistant Program Coordinator Heather Rolland who will present a short program exploring getting started and getting inspired to get outside on the trails this winter, with a focus on gear, safety, and special concerns for kids and dogs while in the great outdoors.

Spillian Trails
Will Soter, the Trail Conference's Trails Chair for the southern Catskills, will lead a walk on the Spillian grounds, and discuss the many volunteer opportunities available to the public on local trails.

Winter Gear
Local outfitters Kenco The Work and Play Outfitter, Catskill Mountain Storehouse and Morgan Outdoors will be on hand to answer questions about winter gear, offer suggestions for must haves and stocking stuffers, and yes - they will have a wonderful array of great stuff to help you get outside and play.

Refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public and you can register on the Trail Conference's page for this event or by calling 518.628.4243.  Spillian is located at 50 Todd Mountain Road in Fleischmanns, NY.