After the Storm: Volunteers Restore Access to Trails

July 03, 2018
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


After the Storm: Volunteers Restore Access to Trails
Trail Conference sawyers clearing a section of the Appalachian Trail. Photo by Jane Daniels.


Volunteers Rally After Storms Damage Trails

"On May 15, trails throughout the Hudson Highlands changed dramatically and, for those who love, hike, and maintain those trails, catastrophically. Like many people, my husband and I were prepared, based on forecasts and warnings, for a severe storm and resigned to losing power as usual. Instead we had 15 minutes of lightning, rain, some wind, and then assumed much ado about nothing. Boy, were we wrong. Extensive sections of trails were buried beneath uprooted and sheared trees. In almost all cases, the trees were mature, live, healthy and fully leafed hardwoods. The Appalachian Trail was especially hard hit at a time when thru-hiking activity is starting to peak. Trails were not only impassable but incredibly difficult to find, even by those of us who know them well.” --Mary Dodds, Trail Tramps Crew Chief

When trails are threatened, the Trail Conference responds. Across the region, volunteers like Mary have been making heroic efforts in a remarkably short amount of time to clear and restore trails damaged by these spring storms. We’ve gathered on-the-ground reports from Trail Conference volunteers who have been selflessly giving days at a time to clear blowdown and make sure affected trails are once again passable and safe. It’s just one more incredible way our Trail Family works hard to make connecting with nature possible for all who seek to get outside and explore.

Across the region, Trail Conference volunteers are working hard to clear and repair trails temporarily closed or damaged by several remarkably strong storms that hit our parks this spring. Here are their stories.

A Note of Gratitude

"Trail Conference sawyers are trained for this purpose—to step up and help out where and when our parks need us. It isn’t often we get hit with this kind of crazy weather. Our sawyers have gotten out in both New Jersey and New York parks and should be extremely proud of the work done. In working with park partners, our sawyers have shown the commitment we all have to our trail systems and to working with our various land managers. The Sawyer Committee appreciates this work. Our land partners are appreciative. Your work makes us all look good."

-Estelle Anderson, Chair, Trail Conference Sawyer Committee

Report Issues on the Trail with Avenza Maps

Whether you are a trail maintainer, invasives surveyor, or the average trail user, you can use the Avenza Maps app to report issues along the trails. From blowdowns and damaged bridges, to illegal ATV use and even map errors, you can use the app to mark a specific issue location, take a picture, and send the report to a supervisor or the Trail Conference office. The location information, especially when paired with a geotagged photo, can be very helpful for working to resolve the issue. Thanks to volunteers and staff of the Trail Conference, a new user guide to the app provides step-by-step directions for how to report trail issues. It also covers other basics, including how to download maps and record points and tracks, as well as important tips such as how to perform data backups and ways to use battery life efficiently. Read more about the Avenza Maps app and its features.