Building Trails in Sterling Forest: Work Begins on Red Back, Eagle

By: Sona Mason, West Hudson Program Coordinator

Redback Trail

From left: Trail Conference Field Manager Erik Mickelson, Art White of the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association (JORBA), Tom Hennigan of Jungle Habitat, and Ellen White of JORBA kicked off work on the Red Back multiuse trail in Sterling Forest in October. (Photo credit: Erik Mickelson)

Over the last few years, the Trail Conference, in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), has been writing down their “to-do” list for trail building and restoration at Sterling Forest State Park through the Backcountry Trails Program. The Trails Program is a means for making trail improvements, recruiting and training volunteers, and fulfilling the needs of parks and park plans. In Sterling Forest, this has involved improving tread and wet crossings on existing trails, and completing the almost four-mile Doris Duke Trail loop. Now, the park has asked the Trail Conference to set its sights on the next major item on their priority list: Build a multiuse trail in the southeastern corner of the park, which also happens to be the most recently preserved section–the so-called “donut hole” that was preserved in 2006—to open it to public access.

A 7-mile loop adjacent to Tuxedo Park has been reviewed by NYS park planners, biologists, and historians. Half of the loop will encompass usable sections of former woods roads on the Red Back Trail (north), and circumvent them when necessary with a 2-foot-wide tread built to sustain traffic from feet, wheels, and hooves. The other half of the loop, the Eagle Trail, will only accommodate hikers and bikers. Sight lines, turning radii, flow patterns, and speed control design elements will be incorporated into the loop to ensure a conflict-free and mutually enjoyable and durable trail for all three user types. Hiker, mountain biker, and equestrian groups have been invited to participate in creating this highly anticipated loop trail. Volunteers began construction on the trail in October.

Mike Vitti, president of CLIMB and a New York State Trails Council delegate, is among those involved with the Trail Conference in the early planning stages and has been eagerly awaiting this moment for 15 years. So far, the response from the public has been great—in just a handful of volunteer work days, almost a quarter mile of trail was completed the first month.

You’re invited to join volunteers each Saturday to learn sustainable trail-building techniques for multiuse trails, and work off some of those holiday calories with a cross-training trail workout that will keep you toasty on even the coldest days. We will continue until the ground is frozen, and start up again when conditions allow. Work days will be expanded in early spring, when the 2016 Conservation Corps team is on the ground.

Questions? Contact Sona Mason at or 201-512-9348 x16.

About Trail Walker

Since 1920, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has partnered with parks to create, protect, and promote a network of more than 2,100 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The Trail Conference organizes volunteer service projects that keep these trails open, safe, and enjoyable for the public. We publish maps and books that guide public use of these trails. The Trail Conference is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 clubs with a combined membership of 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people.
This entry was posted in AmeriCorps, New Trail, New York Trails, Sterling Forest, Trail Crew, Trails, Volunteering, West Hudson Trails and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Building Trails in Sterling Forest: Work Begins on Red Back, Eagle

  1. Tim Kleeger says:

    This is great to see the TC working with mtb people. I will continue to add my labor & I look forward to biking these trails!

  2. garyschoen1 says:

    Looking forward to walking these trails.

  3. Pingback: Palisades MTB formed | Trailism

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