'Tis the season for giving! Ryan and I have always believed that supporting your local trail conference is essential when you are an avid hiker. As card-carrying members of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, we're passionate advocates of leave-no-trace principals and we volunteer for local NYNJTC events, such as trail maintenance workshops, when we can.
One of the missions at Hike the World is to shine a light on the unsung heroes who protect our parks and trails. We would be, quite literally, lost without them. They keep our trails safe and clean and create amazing programs that encourage people to connect with nature. So, let's dust off the snow from our hiking boots and learn a little more about the NYNJTC and how we, as a trail community, can help them with their goals this holiday season.
On October 19, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference turned 99 years old. It’s quite extraordinary that the heart of this organization beats with the same passion and energy as when it was founded. That passion and energy belong to the volunteers who not only built the Trail Conference into one of the most resilient nonprofits in the region but also literally built a network of more than 2,100 miles of trails that connect the public with nature.
For 99 years, Trail Conference volunteers have been filling the gaps when park partners are unable to dedicate sufficient resources to the demands on their land and trails. But the truth is, for all that Trail Conference volunteers give, the Trail Conference doesn’t receive a dedicated source of income providing the resources to support them. The fact of the matter is this: The Trail Conference has gaps, too. So where these selfless individuals make an investment to maintain trails and protect natural areas, the Trail Conference is asking you to make an investment, too.
Your gift to the Trail Conference buys safety gear for our volunteers. It also allows them to provide training to their newest volunteers, such as the eager young couple who adopted the trail where they first met. It helps their crews build bridges on that trail and remove invasive plants from its corridor, protecting its ecology. Your gift enables their volunteers to create maps for visitors to get to the trail and hike it safely. All that, in turn, empowers you to reap the restorative benefits of nature. That’s worth a few dollars, isn’t it? To the Trail Conference, it’s priceless. And that’s why they do this work.
With increasing stress on our parks and trails due to unprecedented usage, invasive species, development, and weather-related damage, now more than ever, the work of the Trail Conference is needed. And that means your support is needed.
The Trail Conference will keep training and supporting thousands of individuals who want to volunteer. They will prepare the next generation of stewards and continue to be leaders in developing cutting-edge solutions to addressing the threats to the land we love. But they cannot do it without your support.
So how much are your trail experiences worth? Let your generosity be your guide. Please donate to the Trail Conference now. Do your part to ensure your favorite trails and parks are cared for and protected—today, for the next 99 years, and beyond.