Sustainable Trail Management Construction & Planning

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The Natural Area Conservancy (NAC), the nonprofit partner to New York City Parks, champions urban natural areas in New York City and across the nation through innovative research, partnerships and advocacy. NAC increases the health and resilience of urban forests and wetlands and catalyzes connections between people and nature.  

The Citywide Trails Team is a partnership between NAC and NYC Parks that has been working since 2017 to support the citywide trail network to ensure that trails are easily navigable, safe, accessible and contribute to forest health. During this session, members of the Citywide Trails Team will discuss their goals for the trail network, the progress they have made, and the techniques used to sustainably manage this vast, urban-trail network in the largest city in the nation. Hear the panelists discuss trail design, materials and tools needed for trail projects, the specific challenges that urban trails face, and strategies to engage partner organizations and volunteers in is work.

Learning Objectives (2 - 3 learning objectives:

1. Learn the history and current state of trails in New York City.

2. Explore an advanced volunteer model for trail stewardship.

3. Understand the fundamentals of sustainable trail design which includes problem identification, purpose and use of multiple trail structures and the uses and functions for various trail tools. 

Josh Otero

Trails Community Engagement Manager

Natural Areas Conservancy

Joshua Otero is the Trail Community Engagement Manager at the NAC, and has built an advanced network of over 90 volunteers who adopt and care for trails citywide. He also leads all community engagement efforts for the organization, and trains both staff and volunteers in trail management techniques. Joshua brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in partnership building, volunteer management and sustainable trail design.

Gabriel Cummings

Trails Technical Manager

Natural Areas Conservancy

Gabriel Cummings is the Trails Technical Manager at the NAC, and has been working in trail construction and design for almost 10  years. Gabriel manages the  trail design, construction, and maintenance operations, as well as advanced staff trainings. Gabriel can speak to the benefits of working in a public private partnership, to the specific challenges of working on urban trails, and to the myriad logistical concerns surrounding this work.

Isaac Kirk-Davidoff

Trail Crew Member

Natural Areas Conservancy

Isaac Kirk-Davidoff is the Trail Coordinator with NYC Parks, and he has been working on trail construction for 5 years. Isaac manages the trail crew and advises on trail management decisions for a diversity of terrains and trail types. He has worked both in the back country as well as on urban trails, and can speak to an array of trail management techniques in diverse scenarios. 


Sustainable Trail Management Construction & Planning
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Knowledge Check
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  7/10 points to pass
NRPA Learning Experience Survey 2023
6 Questions
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0.100 CEU credits  |  No certificate available
0.100 CEU credits  |  No certificate available