Trail Tramps: Changes, Activities, Musings, and Hats!

March 28, 2018
Mary Dodds, Trail Tramps Crew Chief
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Trail Tramps: Changes, Activities, Musings, and Hats!
Trail Tramps Trail Crew. Photo by Mary Dodds.


Trail Tramps Crew Chief Mary Dodds reflects on their 2017 season on the trail.

It’s been awhile since you heard from the Tramps, and I know you are curious to know we have been up to.


We dropped Westchester from our crew name and now are just plain old “Trail Tramps.” This reflects our determination to go where we are needed beyond Westchester County. We regularly stray into Putnam County, and the crew is “lent out” or shared as needed.


The Tramps ranged far and wide in 2017. As part of the East Hudson Trail Crew (EHTC), we completed an extensive reroute of the Cornish Trail in Hudson Highlands State Park. Working with volunteer leader Jane Daniels, we built a trail and bridge at FDR State Park, and improved tread in wet sections of trail in Sylvan Glen Nature Preserve by installing puncheon and boardwalk. Teatown Lake Reservation work included finishing trail reroutes, constructing and deconstructing bridges, and installing boardwalks. We also changed the blazes on the Teatown Kitchawan Trail and did trail drainage work. We cleared a section of the Briarcliff Peekskill Trail completely blocked by invasive plants and did a reroute around another heavily invaded section. Lately, we have concentrated our efforts on a reroute of the red trail at Hudson Highlands Gateway which involves extensive sidehilling and building crib wall and a stone staircase. Soon, we will start building an extension of the yellow trail at Gateway. 


I got to thinking about all the different hats Trail Conference volunteers (especially supervisors) wear. I am the supervisor of the Trail Tramps crew and of individual maintainers for trails in Westchester and Putnam counties. I am on Geof Connor’s Westchester East Trail Crew (WETC) and on Andrew Seirup’s EHTC. I also am a maintainer for several Yorktown trails under Jane Daniels’ supervision, and Jane in turn is on my crew. Rose Bonanno is the Westchester Trails Chair. She is also on my crew and the WETC. Fred Stern is all over the place—as sawyer, supervisor, crew member, maintainer, and A.T. monitor. We have fun explaining this to new (and old) crew members who care about one thing only–working on trails. It doesn’t really matter to them whether it’s in Westchester, who is supervising, or which crew is officially doing the work. They just love being outdoors. The best crew days are those where we worked hardest and were rewarded by the completion of a new trail or bridge, boardwalk, crib wall, or stone staircase.

Not Just Trail Work

For the last three winters, the Trail Tramps have participated in wildlife tracking programs sponsored by Teatown. Last spring, our project was bear monitoring. We split into teams and placed cameras and bait at off-trail locations throughout northern Westchester County. Every two weeks, the cameras were checked and rebaited. There were five different scents we applied and refreshed. Two were pleasant and the rest were quite pungent. Storing them at our homes was a challenge. A good time was had by all, and lots of animals posed–but no bears.

What can the Tramps expect in 2018? More big and small trail projects, another science project, lunches, hikes, and the camaraderie of people who love working outdoors! For more information on the Tramps and to find out how you can get involved, visit our crew page.