Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Proposed Stewardship Objectives for the Paumanok Path

 

The mission of the Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition is to help facilitate cooperative efforts among individuals and groups who care for the hiking trails of Long Island. LITLC is a public service organization assisting in maintenance, revitalization, and educational efforts towards the goal of implementing a safe quality recreational trails experience for the public to enjoy.

It is the goal of LITLC to assist the public land management agencies and non-profit environmental groups, to create a trails experience that will bring people closer to nature, establishing a trails system on Long Island that other regions will wish to emulate.

A primary goal of TLC is to help facilitate a sustainable stewardship plan for the Paumanok Path.  Sustainability, obviously is not enough, we should also be looking to enhance the trails, and the lands they travel through.

The following ideas are submitted as a starting point for discussion.  It is anticipated that the stewardship plan will be generated by a cooperative alliance of stakeholders.

Goal:

Facilitate an adaptive stewardship process for the Paumanok Path that will create harmony between the trail, the ecology that surrounds it, and those who use it.

A.    To assist the trails groups in assuring the development of a contiguous route for the Paumanok Path.

B.    To work with land managers and trails groups in addressing the issues concerning the Paumanok Path: accessibility; trail stability; sustainability; maintenance; education; community outreach.

C.    To help facilitate the creation of a sustainable stewardship plan for the Paumanok Path.  To build a cooperative effort among nonprofit organizations, public agencies and neighbors to the path.

D.    To work to protect and enhance the Paumanok Path and the public lands it visits.

E.    To assure that the Paumanok Path continues to afford high quality recreational and educational opportunities.

Objectives:

Immediate:

            I.  Create a map of the entire Paumanok Path.

            II. Use the map to define the areas of issue.

                        A. Adverse Changes

                                    1.  Erosion

                                    2.  Invasive Plants

3.  Garbage (littering, dumping: landscaping and construction debris)
     a.  Install sanitary “Mutt Mitt” dispensers and waste cans to designated dog walk sections of the Path.   There should also be signs explaining the leash regulations and polite entreaties to properly dispose of dog waste

                        B.  The Need for Trail Enhancements

1.   Privies / Comfort Stations

2.   Primitive Camp Sites

3.   Educational signage / blazing / information kiosks (uniform and informative); need to remove inappropriate no trespassing signs

4.   Parking accommodations

5.   Benches

6.   Improve trail design where necessary

a.   Correct design flaws such as fall-line construction. Construct check steps, waterbars, switchbacks, climbing turns, grade dips and drains or bench cut damaged trails on appropriate slopes. Create bridges, and boardwalks where needed.  As a last resort, move trail onto a stable ridge and rehabilitate damage caused by a poorly designed trail.  Periodic deberming of trails must be instituted as a required maintenance procedure.

b.   Move trail away from fragile habitat; e.g. nesting areas or wetlands

c.   Divert the Path or create trail spurs to nearby areas of interest, to discourage the formation of many adventitious trails.

7. Fire Rings (paired with hefty fines for illegal fires)

                          C. Inappropriate Usage

                                                1. Discourage excessive wear due to unsanctioned modality use.

2. Eliminate aggressive wear and destruction caused by off-road vehicles.   

3. Discourage displacement of soil cutting down trees for activities such as paintball and bike jumps.

4. Discourage vandalizing blazing and unsanctioned maintenance of trails

5. Implement surveys for and enforce against expansion of contiguous private property onto public land

                                                6. Modality conflicts e.g. bike with horse

                III. Post findings on the Internet

1.  Secure sustainable funding and expertise for a Paumanok Path website.       

Objectives

Ongoing and Future:

            I. Providing Educational Services

A.   Provide informational materials to our members and the public for use on the trail. Facilitate classes on trails advocacy, building, maintenance, and hiking.  Use Internet as a central access point for registration and information to facilitate educational mail outs and notices to members of the public who use the Path.

B.   Instill an ethic of responsible and safe, low impact use on the trail.

C.   “Hands on experience” incorporated into school curriculum.  As an incentive, additional funding or grants could be made available for trail stewardship courses. College physical education courses on trail appreciation.  Encourage local schools and scouting agenda to include stewardship initiatives and science projects.

D.  Proactive Education

1. Give presentations at libraries and other public places.

2.  Distribute brochures on gentle use leave no trace

3.  Create an interpretive guide for the Paumanok Path concerning the ecological, historic and scenic features along the trail route.

II. Enhance Volunteer Base

A.     To develop a well trained volunteer base, facilitate formal training in the form of classes and seminars on trail construction and maintenance.  This should include safety training for working with power tools.

B.    Provide support to local trail groups to enable them to develop and manage their section of trail and increase their constituencies.

C.    Encourage public participation in an on-going stewardship process.  Appeal to a broad range of individual and group users.  Enable all stakeholders to be involved in decision-making process.  They will be more likely to adhere to the guidelines they help set.

D.   Create a volunteer stewardship and caretaker program.  Soliciting volunteer help for specific projects to be featured on the Internet.

III    Monitor levels of recreational use, environmental and trail conditions.

    A.     Institute an annual survey and conference for the trail with a biennial Path Summit.

    B.     Expand the “adopt a trail” program.

    C.     Encourage voluntary registration of users.  Institute simple surveys and informational mail outs.

 IV   Develop Partnerships

A.    Encourage the communication of issues among stakeholders to help facilitate the discovery of common goals.

B.   One of the major components of a successful stewardship plan, second only to education is enforcing the respectful use of the resource.  It is imperative that there are effective paths of communication between the protected land’s enforcement agencies and the involved trail stakeholders.

1.   It is important to advocate for increased capital and manpower for the enforcement agencies in relation to protecting the trail and its surroundings.

2.   It is necessary to develop cooperative efforts with the enforcement agencies.

3.   It may be necessary to investigate paying private security or training volunteers to help to protect the trails resource.

VI. Encourage an open collaborative process for Developing Funding Sources: sponsors, grants, donations utilizing the Internet and other modes of communication.

A.   Post Paumanok Path initiatives on a website. 

Create a categories page for donations: Trail Repair, Trail Enhancement, Education, Workshops on Trail Maintenance and Enhancement, Improved Access, Enforcement, Signs and Blazing, Mapping, Website Development, Administration, Legal Advocacy, Trails Events, Support of Hiking Group Initiatives.

1. Create links to descriptions of specific, well defined goals for each Category listed on the Categories page.          

2. Post on a website a ledger showing how much was donated for each category and what the money was used for.  Link from this page to a list of donors, giving exposure featuring their interests.  Update these statistics periodically.

B.     Solicit funding for paid Stewards and Caretakers for the Paumanok Path.

1.   Look for sponsor relationships like the one between the International Mountain Bike Association and Subaru (Subaru / IMBA Trail Care Crew).

2.   Describe the potential for paid stewardship positions on the Paumanok Path website.

3.  To support trail restoration projects create local incentives for contract growing of native plants
 

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org

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