Protect the Land You Love

April 15, 2019
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Protect the Land You Love
Shawangunk's Shingle Gully. Photo by Steve Aaron.


The trails are calling, but they’re beckoning for more than adventure—they’re calling for care and protection.

As more people seek to “unplug” from the demands of daily life, a sense of wanderlust urges us to hit the trails. Perfect social media posts advertise vast vistas that promise romance or adventure, fueling new interest in exploring all the outdoors has to offer. Not included in this sales pitch, however, is the urgent reminder that protecting, caring for, and advocating for parks and trails is our civic duty. The key messages of preparedness, Leave No Trace, and stewardship aren’t immediately introduced to these eager hikers arriving at the trailhead, meaning they’re only partially informed about the experience that lies ahead. Faced with this new wave of outdoor enthusiasm and the constant struggle to secure sufficient funding, it’s not a stretch to say that the caretakers of public lands are nearing a crisis point.

Now is the time to stand united by our passion for trails. It’s time to inspire trail adventurers of all ages, both new and old, to protect the land they love.

Since 1920, the Trail Conference has worked to connect people with nature through user education, public participation, and on-the-ground solutions. Working with our partners and the community to address the issues of overuse and misuse on public lands presents the opportunity to be better trail builders—from the way we plan and execute a project, to the way we interact with users and encourage the respectful enjoyment of trails. Building sustainable trails is one of the most effective ways to prevent our most popular outdoor destinations from being “loved to death.”

And as guardians of 2,165 miles of trails in the greater New York metropolitan region, members of the Trail Conference community are some of the best possible ambassadors for safe, responsible recreation in nature. Every time a Trail Conference volunteer steps on a trail, she is representing a nearly 100-year legacy of stewardship. She is embodying the values of an organization that strives to create better outdoor opportunities for everyone by empowering everyone to give back to the parks and trails they love. She leads by example to inspire a deeper appreciation for the care that open space requires.

The Trail Conference was founded by outdoor-lovers who believed the weariness of fast-paced, modern life could be cured by a walk in the woods. For those who are just discovering that beautiful truth, welcome to the Trail Family. Let us be a resource for creating your Instagram-worthy trail moment. For those who have believed “going to the mountains is going home” before it became a T-shirt slogan, help us ensure the natural areas that are so important to you remain open and unspoiled. The trails are calling, but they’re beckoning for more than adventure—they’re calling for care and protection. Be the force that ensures our wild places remain wild. Help us protect the land you love.

Wondering how to get started? Here are three easy ways to make a difference:

Give a Shout-Out

Our volunteers would be super grateful if you could show them a little love by tagging your trail photos with #traillove and @nynjtc on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Help us spread the word about their good work!

Give a Few Hours

Be a superhero for parks and trails: volunteer! Outside or inside, close to home or at your go-to weekend trail destination, we aim to connect you with the volunteer opportunity that is right for you. Tell us how you'd like to be involved at

Give a Few Bucks

Whether you’re getting out there for fresh air, exercise, or a new adventure, you count on great, well-maintained trails – and we count on the support of every hiker, walker, and rider to make that possible. Make your gift at