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

To read the latest issue, hover your cursor over the bottom left of the cover until you see arrows, which will allow you to page through the issue.

Paddle splashes cover

Seeking Wilderness First Aid Instructors

Do you have what it takes to teach people what to do if an emergency arises when they’re far from medical care? Then the New York-North Jersey Chapter is looking for you to become a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) instructor! 

To be an instructor, you’ll need to be an active EMT or W-EMT. If your card is expired but you still want to teach, the Chapter will pay for the class for your recertification and additional training. The New York-North Jersey Chapter is the only one in the AMC that provides this WFA training. All instructors are volunteers.

The Chapter holds six to seven WFA classes per year. They involve 16 hours of fast-paced instruction over a full weekend.  Most classes are at the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center in Harriman State Park. Classes are team taught, always at least two instructors per class, so no one is “left alone” to teach.

To make the WFA class more “realistic,” the classes go through emergency scenarios and get hands-on practice. To that end, the instructors use a mannequin and stage props of simulated injuries and fake blood. 

All interested folks contact the Chair of the Wilderness First Aid Committee at for more information.

Activity Leaders Will Be Recognized for Organizing Earth Day Activities

To mark Earth Day on Friday, April 22, the New York/Northern NJ Chapter of the AMC is encouraging volunteer leaders to mention Earth Day in your Activities Database postings. In so doing, you will highlight the AMC’s commitment to conservation, recreation, and education.

Leaders posting one or more activities during the period April 16 through April 24 that include #Earthday2022 in the description will receive a thank you note and gift certificate from the Chapter.

-David Hartree, Conservation Chair