Trail Maintainer Handbook for Natural Areas in NYC

        Trail Maintainer Handbook for Natural Areas in NYC

          Article summary

          New York City is home to more than 20,000 acres of natural areas—forests, wetlands, and grasslands—and 10,000 of those acres are in city parks. Within NYC Parks’ natural areas, there are over 350 miles of formal and informal nature trails. This trail system is spread across approximately 75 parks, and provides unique trail experiences within each park. In 2017, NYC Parks and  the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) formed the Citywide Trails team to formalize the vast network of nature trails in all five boroughs. Formalization efforts ensure that trails are navigable, accessible, and that they contribute to the overall health of the forests and wetlands. This guide provides guidance to volunteer trail maintainers before they head out into NYC's natural areas to care for trails.

          In a nutshell, this resource offers:

          • Checklists of gear and tools needed to maintain trails.
          • Safety info for trail maintainers, especially related to heat and hazardous conditions.
          • Definitions for common trail terminology and some plant identification tips.
          • Some forms commonly used by volunteer trail maintainers and an emergency response form.

          How to use this resource:

          • As an example of how to structure a volunteer engagement program in urban forested natural areas.

          Author: Natural Areas Conservancy

          Date published: 2022

          Point of contact: Josh Otero, Trails Community Engagement Manager, 

          Citation: 2022. Natural Areas Conservancy Trail Maintainer Handbook. Natural Areas Conservancy, New York, NY.


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