Trail Maintainers Are Getting a Crash Course in Invasive Species

Teacher extraordinaire, Linda, in action

The Trail Conference’s Linda Rohleder, right, gave invasives training to the Westchester Trail Tramps crew earlier this year.

Trail maintainers are the Trail Conference’s front line in keeping hiking paths open and safe. They remove blowdowns, clear overgrowth, reblaze trails, and report hazardous conditions and suspicious activity. Some of these defenders of the trails may soon add another skill to their repertoire: invasive species warriors.

The maintainers are great students! Shown here identifying a leaf with the help of Linda.

Armed with their new knowledge, the Westchester Trail Tramps will now work on an invasives survey in Montrose Point State Forest.

On May 6, the Westchester Trail Tramps, led by Mary Dodds, became the first crew to receive invasives training from Linda Rohleder, the Trail Conference’s Director of Land Stewardship and Coordinator of the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management. Keen on her crew gaining the skills to properly identify and remove invasive species along the trails they maintain throughout the Hudson Hills and Highlands region of Westchester and Putnam counties, Dodds enlisted Rohleder for an intro course at the beginning of trail work season. Held at Teatown Lake Reservation, a handful of crew members and high school interns working under their guidance learned about Japanese barberry, garlic mustard, and other species on the New York State Regulated and Prohibited Invasive Species list. After a presentation with plenty of photos and tips, Rohleder took the crew into the field to identify species firsthand. Armed with their new knowledge, Dodds and her team plan to complete an invasives survey of Montrose Point State Forest, which will help in determining the feasibility and prioritization of removal on trails there.

The maintainers’ invasives course that was piloted with the Westchester Trail Tramps is a condensed version of the workshop Rohleder uses to train Invasives Strike Force surveyors, but also includes information about removal strategies. This new course customized for trail maintainers is currently under development; groups of maintainers and trail crews interested in scheduling a workshop at their park should contact Linda Rohleder (lrohleder@nynjtc.org) to work out details. At this time, the workshop is only offered to Trail Conference maintainers.

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.
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2 Responses to Trail Maintainers Are Getting a Crash Course in Invasive Species

  1. Ken Malkin says:

    Linda does a fantastic job and should be thanked by all of us.

  2. don uebel says:

    too many people in the woods – that’s what i find as invasive; large influx in past five years with increased hawking for more – deer, coyote, black bear and bobcats spooked and ain’t around johnsontown rd sloatsburg as in past – have your bear bells and fancy hiking sticks ready – sad.

What do you think?