Adopt a hiking trail in the Catskills

Hiking Trails in the CatskillsAdopt a hiking trail in the Catskill Park!

Do you love and enjoy the hiking trails of the Catskills? Want to give back to those trails?

Get involved and join Trail Conference volunteers and member clubs who maintain miles of hiking trails in the Catskill Park and the neighboring Catskill Mountains region.

The strong smell of balsam, the famous Devils Path and Long Path, two peaks above 4000′, and the best fly fishing around.  These are all things you’ll be able to enjoy while working on your adopted trail!

The Trail Conference is responsible for maintaining over 200 miles of trails in the Catskill Park and the surrounding region and almost always has an opening for a new trail maintainer.

Trail maintainersTrail segments available for adoption range in length from one to two miles and span the difficulty range from easy to difficult hikes. We work with potential trail maintainers to identify a section of trail that is right for their abilities and needs.

If you are interested in adopting a trail in the Catskill Mountains, please complete the volunteer information form and indicate that you are interested in Trail Maintenance.  That information will be forwarded to the Trail Conference who will will contact you with information on trails that are available for adoption.

In order to adopt a trail, a trail maintainer must be a member of the Trail Conference.  Free training is available through trail maintenance workshops, Trail University, and through individualized training with Trail Conference trail leaders.

Adopt a hiking trail (be sure to indicate you are interested in trail maintenance!)

Help staff a Catskills Fire Tower this summer!

Mount_Tremper_Pic_2_WebVolunteer to help staff a Catskill Mountain Fire Tower this summer!

If you like climbing mountains, engaging the public and want to spend time above the treetops, think about joining the Catskill Fire Tower Project as a Volunteer Interpreter this summer. The Catskills are home to five fully restored fire towers. Located on Balsam Lake Mountain (in Hardenburgh), Hunter Mountain (near Hunter), Overlook Mountain (just outside Woodstock), Red Hill (in Denning) and Mount Tremper (near Phoenicia).

The towers once played a key role in detecting and pinpointing the location of forest fires. Modern fire-spotting techniques have replaced them, but thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers who supplied everything from engineering expertise to building skills, the New York State Department DEC, and nonprofit groups including the Trail Conference, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the towers were all restored and reopened. Today, the towers offer visitors stunning 360-degree views of neighboring peaks and the surrounding landscape.

Hunter_Fire_Tower1Volunteers work in pairs to meet and greet visitors and answer their questions about the towers, the Catskill Mountains, and related topics. Each volunteer works a minimum of three weekend days, plus a day or two of on-site training, during a season that runs from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. The trails leading to the towers are all moderate hikes of one to three miles. Volunteers may hike in and out on the same day or stay overnight in summit cabins.

Volunteering for the Catskill Fire Tower Project is a fun and fulfilling way to meet people, share the experience of the beautiful Catskill Mountains, and help preserve a key piece of Catskills history.

For more information, visit the program’s website at

To volunteer for the Catskill Fire Tower project, visit our Volunteer Page and submit your information indicating your interest in Fire Towers.

Volunteer Leadership Training Opportunity – August 9, 2014

Being held in a beautifully restored former Ulster & Delaware Railroad station on the Mountain Top Historical Society campus in Haines Falls, this workshop will, through a series of case studies and activities, help you learn how to supervise volunteers who maintain trails in the Trail Conference’s network of over 2000 miles of trails, including over 200 miles of trails in the Catskills.

Supervisor workshop (1)

Hands-on exercises and discussions will provide information to find solutions to problems that supervisors commonly face. An effective supervisor will have a tool kit of skills which includes access to a variety of resources: fellow supervisors, trail crews, staff, park partners, and his/her trails chair. While this information will be tailored to the Catskills, existing or potential supervisors or trail leaders from any region will find the information presented in this workshop useful and worthwhile.

This will be an indoor workshop that will be held rain or shine.

Workshop Goals:

  • Develop skills to effectively manage maintainers from recruitment to recognition;
  • Learn about on-the-ground and off-trail responsibilities activities; and
  • Develop and tap into resources to solve problems on and off the trails.

Light refreshments and snacks will be served throughout the day, but participants should bring a bag lunch to have when we break for lunch. Lunch will be a great time to check out the western trailhead of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail, which heads eastward along the former U&D railroad corridor towards Kaaterskill Falls.

Photo1While this workshop is geared towards helping train existing supervisors, no previous Trail Supervisor experience is necessary and all are welcome to attend to learn how to become more involved with stewardship activities in the Catskill Park. This workshop is a great opportunity to sharpen your leadership skills and learn how to manage volunteers.

There is no fee for this workshop, but you must register on the Trail Conference’s workshop page to attend.

Registration Link

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