Become a Bicycle Leader With the NY-NoJ Chapter

Looking to lead some bike rides? Openings are available in the New York-North Jersey Chapter’s 2022 Bicycle Leaders Spring Training program. This comprehensive multi-day program is designed to teach and reinforce the skills needed to lead groups of cyclists safely along routes in our area. The training program is intended for members who are serious and enthusiastic about becoming leaders for the NY-NoJ Chapter’s Bicycle Committee. Contact the Bicycling Committee at for more information and to apply.

Natalie Smart of Destination Hike to Speak at DEI Meeting on February 16

Celebrate Black History Month by hearing from Natalie Smart of the outdoors organization Destination Hike. Smart was already hiking a few weekends a month when the pandemic hit, making hiking in groups more challenging.

“As a way to stay healthy and sane during this very stressful time, I started doing solo hikes 4-5 times a week,” Smart writes. “I would travel to explore new trails in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area and track my travels through the app AllTrails. As my exploration continued, I would post pictures and videos of my hikes on social media. Friends and family soon took notice and slowly a few people began to join me on my hikes.”

Destination Hike was born. The organization works to connect hikers of all ability levels and encourage people to explore trails both near and far.

To hear Smart speak, join the DEI Committee for its bi-weekly meeting on Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. Register for the virtual meeting here.

DEI Chair Crystal Williams Receives AMC’s Volunteer Leadership Award

DEI Chair Crystal Williams

Congratulations to DEI Chair Crystal Williams, who received one of AMC’s Volunteer Leadership Awards for her work in 2021. The award was presented by Regional Director Eileen Yin during the recent Annual Summit:

The Volunteer Leadership Award recognizes AMC’s outstanding volunteer leaders who demonstrate the desire to share their time and expertise in the pursuit of AMC’s recreation, conservation, and education mission. The Volunteer Leadership Award recognizes one or more dedicated volunteers who, in addition to contributing many hours, demonstrate outstanding passion and commitment and are instrumental to AMC’s activities, programs and mission. Previous award recipients are not eligible.

Crystal Williams, DEI Chair, New York-North Jersey Chapter

“As Chair of the DEI Committee for the New York North Jersey Chapter, Crystal has created a regular schedule of meetings including an affinity group for BIPOC women. Crystal is passionate about getting families from Harlem outdoors, which has inspired her to lead events designed to encourage outdoor experiences for BIPOC families in New York City, including a Juneteenth Celebration that attracted 100s of people. Crystal has also joined the AMC DEI Volunteer Representatives group meeting monthly to talk about how to make AMC’s operations and communications more equitable and inclusive. In addition, she has stepped up to serve as the Vice Chair for the Fire Island Committee. Crystal has been vocal in supporting AMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts by speaking with other Chapters DEI Committees. Congratulations, Crystal.” -Eileen Yin

Other Volunteer Leadership Awardees this year were:

Kevin Cox; Chair of Mohawk Hudson Chapter

John Bergacs; Information Volunteer

David Elliott; Paddling Chair Worcester Chapter

Corey Mott; Connecticut and Narragansett Chapters

Lisa Novins; Chapter Chair Potomac

Jean Carlos Artiles; Educators Outdoors

Jeff Mayes; Volunteer Facilitator

Amy Kelliher; Volunteer Facilitator and OLDC

Longtime Leader Steve Galla Named Hiking Committee Chair

Hiking Chair Steve Galla


Congratulations to Steve Galla, who has been elected leader of the Hike Committee. Galla, who had been serving as the Committee’s Vice Chair, is a retired New York City school teacher who joined the AMC in 2004.

An active hike leader, he also served as Chair of the Hiking Committee from March 2007 through March 2009 and as Interim Chair of the Committee from February 2011 to August 2012.

Here’s a snapshot of Galla’s plans for the role:

What motivated you to take on the position?
“I’m glad to take on these responsibilities. I feel qualified and energetic and above all, I have a fabulous team of experienced and motivated volunteers to work with. It is my honor to serve AMC and devote my time and effort to make a difference.”

What are your goals for the Hike Committee?
“My goals are to seek out and add qualified hike leaders to our hiking committee and encourage lots of hikes. I am committed to the principles of DEI and I am currently reaching out to leaders who can introduce hiking to underserved communities within our coverage area. We have a reservoir of recent AMC-sponsored leadership trainees who need to become full AMC Hike Leaders. We’ve already begun the process of including them.”

Interested in getting involved with the Hiking Committee? Contact Galla at

Join Us for AMC’s Annual Summit

Registration for AMC’s 146th Annual Summit is open! AMC is excited to be hosting this event virtually so AMC members from Maine to Virginia, and beyond, can participate in this great event. Join us for the AMC Annual Business Meeting and stay for a day of workshops, presentations and panels on conservation, recreation, and more.

Register here: