Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) is pleased to announce that the town of Warwick has been officially designated as an Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The town is the first in the state to be granted this designation, and one of just a dozen communities across the country.
“As a dedicated conservationist, I am very proud of Gene Giordano’s efforts to give the town this wonderful distinction. Appalachian Trail Communities help conserve the landscape of the trail, but also reap the rewards of eco-tourism and outdoor recreation,” said the assemblywoman. “This is truly an example of how one person can make a real difference for the community around them. Congratulations to Mr. Giordano and the entire town of Warwick.”
Earlier this year, Assemblywoman Rabbitt met Gene Giordano at a local expo and learned of his efforts to have the town of Warwick designated as an Appalachian Trail Community in order to help support existing local businesses and promote environmental conservation. To supplement Mr. Giordano’s application, the assemblywoman sent a letter of support to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, citing the historical significance of the trail in the town and its community’s efforts to preserve open space. Earlier this month, the conservancy voted to approve the designation.
Part of the conservancy’s efforts to protect and promote the trail, which transverses 2,180 miles through 14 states, the Appalachian Trail Community program partners designated towns with economic development assistance through the conservancy. In addition to helping attract tourists and hikers, the conservancy helps designated towns with conservation planning, municipal and regional financial aid, and acts as a catalyst for enhancing economic development projects.
The conservancy also works with local educators to help promote trail and environmental stewardship, as well as with local organizations and volunteers, land agencies and public trusts. As a designated Appalachian Trail Community, the town of Warwick will be part of all of these benefits, in addition to national and global exposure through the conservancy’s promotional materials and Web site.
Completed in 1937, the Appalachian Trail is part of the National Park System and one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world. The trail is managed through a unique partnership between the public and private sectors, including the National Park Service, United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, an array of state agencies, the conservancy and 31 local trail-maintaining volunteer clubs.
Running from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Katahdin, Maine, the trail attracts as many as two to three million hikers annually, with roughly 2,000 hikers attempting to complete the entire trail in a given year. With total elevation gain of the entire trail equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest 16 times, it takes approximately six months of continuous hiking to complete the trail from start to finish; however, the trail is also an important outdoor recreation site for millions of day-hikers.
In New York state, the trail offers family friendly, moderate and challenging day hikes through the forests and glacial hills of the Hudson Highlands. Because of the trail’s convenient location close to New York City and Boston, this stretch of the trail is a popular and easy-to-get-to day trip for hikers of all abilities. Despite its proximity to these major cities, the nearly 88-and-a-half mile New York state section of the trail boasts a vast array of plants and wildlife, and is more removed from civilization than one might expect.
Additionally, the New York state section is the most historical portion of the trail, as the area that runs through Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park was the first section completed, in 1923 – four years before the rest of the trail was completed. To learn more about the historical impact of the trail in New York state, hikers can pass through the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, where the trail also drops to its lowest elevation of 124 feet.
To learn more about the trail, or to find a hike, please visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Web site.