Join a Trail Maintenance Project at Pelham Bay Park

If you’re one of the 8 billion people on the planet, you’re recovering from the worst pandemic in 100 years. You don’t take too many things for granted.  

Covid-19 brought our inter-connectivity into high relief. The fragility of Mother Nature was brought right to our doorstep. Carl Sagan’s notion of one pale blue dot (Earth) was driven home. 

Today I am asking you to take a step to make the Earth a better place. The New York-North Jersey Chapter of AMC is partnering with New York City Parks and the Natural Areas Conservancy to revive a trail maintenance project in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. And we could use your help!

First, you’ll need to attend a virtual orientation on Wednesday, July 27 from noon-1 p.m. The event is organized by NYC Parks and will walk you through the basics of their Super Steward program.

If you enjoy the training, you can join us on Saturday, August 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for an in-person trail clean-up at Pelham Bay Park. You’ll learn how to assess trail conditions, how to identify and manage invasive plants, how to prune vegetation, and more. All the equipment will be provided.  You just bring your energy.

I hope you can make it.  Until then, enjoy the journey on the trail.

John DiStefano

Urban Trails Supervisor

New York-North Jersey Chapter

Itinerary for the New York-North Jersey Chapter’s Annual Picnic Weekend in 2022

Friday, June 10 – Sunday, June 12, 2022

Schedule of Events

Meeting Time Outing and Location  Leader(s)

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022
3 p.m. onward Registration CHOC staff
6 p.m. Dinner, CHOC Dining Hall 
8 p.m. Sunset Paddle Eileen Yin
Campfire Dawn Riley/Supplies
10 p.m. Quiet Hours Begin

Registration CHOC staff
7 a.m. – 8 a.m. Morning Yoga, The Swim Dock Martina Puchta
8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast, HOC Dining Hall All
9:15 a.m.  Bird-Watching Walk
(Leisurely; must bring binoculars)
Miriam Rakowski
9:30 a..m. – 9:45 a.m. (Set up)
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Greet)
Registration Opens

(Volunteer to guide on how to sign up for activities.)

Mike Cheski, Volunteer 
9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Short Programs (subject to change)
-Paddling Demo
-Conservation Talk/Leave No Trace seminar
-Knot and Lines
Richard Dabal (Paddling) 

Justin Bailey (Leave No Trace)

Canoe and Kayak Committee (Knots and Lines)


9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Propel Your Canoe Eileen Yin

Don Getzin

Loretta Brady

10:24 a.m. NYC to Sloatsburg train arrives  Advance registration required for shuttle. 
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Master Your Canoe: Introducing Special Maneuvers Eileen Yin

Don Getzin

Loretta Brady

11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Multiple Hikes/Excursions Stuart Falls

Ed Spirko

1 – 2 p.m. Bear Talk/Hike Cynthia Tollo Falls
2:30 p.m. Early Afternoon Bird-Watching Paddling 
(Experienced kayakers only; must bring binoculars)
Miriam Rakowski
TBC Qigong Martina Puchta
4 p.m. Welcome from Chapter Chair Dawn Riley
4:30 p.m. Buffet Dinner All
5:30 p.m.  Raffle All
6 p.m. – 6:50 p.m. Train departs from Sloatsburg to NYC Advance registration required for shuttle. 
Campfire Dawn Riley/Supplies
10 p.m. Quiet Hours Begin

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2022
7 a.m.  Morning Yoga, The Swim Dock Martina Puchta
8 a.m.  Breakfast, CHOC Dining Hall
9:15 a.m. Bird-Watching Walk
(Several leisurely miles; must bring binoculars)
Miriam Rakowski

For more information about how to register and get to the Annual Picnic, visit the FAQ page.

Meet John DiStefano, the New Urban Trails Supervisor

Please welcome John DiStefano, the new Urban Trails Supervisor for the New York-North Jersey Chapter. He has joined Ed Spirko’s Trails Committee, which helps maintain trails around metro New York, in Harriman State Park, and in New Jersey. John’s coverage area is New York City.

John has a long history with the Appalachian Mountain Club. In the early 1980s, he joined the AMC on Joy Street in Boston. Since then, he writes that he has experienced “many delightful hikes, walks, and just plain making friends in 40 years on the trail. AMC values go far beyond stewardship for the land — AMC is about stewardship to each other.”

John retired in November 2021. Now he says it’s his turn to give back. John enjoyed 30 years as a market researcher in the Fortune 500, mostly reporting 1 or 2 rungs from the CEO. He earned a BA in History of Technology from Cornell University and an MBA in market research from CUNY Baruch College. When not volunteering for the AMC, John also helps to support financial literacy and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and cooking.

You can reach John at

FAQ About the Annual Picnic at Harriman State Park

April 2022 Issue of Paddle Splashes

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Paddle splashes cover