New York's Breakneck Ridge: A Challenge for Hikers Becomes a Challenge to Sustain

This presentation will showcase elements of a comprehensive planning effort underway, and will focus on specific management actions including data collection, trail stewardship, maintenance, and a Leave No Trace hot spot event.

by Chris Morris, Statewide Trails Planner, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Hank Osborn, Regional Program Manager, New York - New Jersey Trail Conference, Sara Hart, Park Planner, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation


The Breakneck Ridge Trail in New York’s Hudson Valley has become the number one hiking destination in the NYC metropolitan area. In good weather, the trail frequently brings more than 3,000 hikers a weekend to hike its steep, rocky ascent and enjoy its breathtaking views. The growing volume of trail use here presents many management challenges for park and agency staff. This presentation will showcase elements of a comprehensive planning effort underway, and will focus on specific management actions including data collection, trail stewardship and, maintenance, and a Leave No Trace hot spot event.

Learning Objectives:
  • Discuss the steps taken to manage visitor use in Hudson Highlands State Park.
  • Explain the types of data collected on visitation, trail conditions, and use patterns.
  • Compare the types of partnerships that may help them achieve success

 

About the Authors

Chris Morris is an avid hiker, trail runner, and mountain biker. Some of Chris’ most fond memories have been made on a path in the woods. As Trails Planner for New York State Parks, Chris works with staff and partner organizations across the state to enhance trail-based recreation and protect our park’s natural resources. Chris has a background in GIS, volunteer trail maintenance, and is the current president of Saratoga Mountain Bike Association. He often describes his work at Parks as his dream job.

Hank Osborn has a long history and deep passion for the outdoors. He began maintaining trails as a young teen in Garrison, NY. He later chaired the Garrison School Forest Committee; became a board member of the Phillipstown Greenway Committee; and led hikes for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust. Hank has taught geology, environmental science, and ecology. Hank is currently the Regional Programs Manager for the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference where he has managed the Trail Steward Program for the past six seasons.

Sara Hart is a park planner for New York State Parks and a resident of the beautiful Hudson Valley. Sara Hart has a long professional history planning for public land use and recreation in the region. Originally from Hungary, Sara started out as a landscape architect in the private sector of Long Island, then worked at the Columbia Land Conservancy, and now leads a broad range of park planning efforts throughout New York State’s several regions. As a hiker, backpacker, and conservationist, Sara is also a long-time volunteer with the Appalachian Mountain Club.

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