Mendon’s Dave Newman has received national recognition for his tireless work to ensure trails are available to provide solace and renewal during these challenging times.
Recently the North Country Trail Association honored Newman with the 2020 Trail Protector Award. For the past six years, Newman has served as Vice President for Trail Preservation for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. The FLTC builds, maintains, and protects over 1,000 miles of premier hiking trails in New York State and hosts 422 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Nearly 5,000 miles in length, NCNST is the longest National Scenic Trail. It stretches from North Dakota to the junction with the Appalachian Trail in Vermont.
Threats to continuous foot paths are ever increasing due to changes in land use patterns. The Finger Lakes Trail System crosses about 750 privately owned parcels. Newman works with landowners and organizations such as the Finger Lakes Land Trust to preserve a foot path through these areas. Over 100 landowners have donated permanent trail easements. According to Newman, these landowners epitomize “the old fashioned civic pride of having the fortune to own a piece of this world and the ability to share that fortune with us.”
Sometimes it can take years of patience to achieve permanent trail protection. Lynda Rummell, FLTC Vice President for Trail Quality, describes Newman as, “a man with a mission, possessing extraordinary persistence and creativity.” The NCTA award celebrates Newman’s “easy going manner which encourages both landowners and volunteers who wish to work with landowners.”
Newman finds the volunteer work rewarding. “It is fun to use the many skills I learned in my time at Kodak and Moser Baer Technology to help manage the preservation projects for the FLTC in my retirement. But best of all has been working with the Board and members of the FLTC as we work on a shared vision to maintain and permanently protect the FLTC System for future generations.”
He and other FLTC and NCTA volunteers are always open to talk with any landowner interested in helping protect the trail forever. More information can be found at fingerlakestrail.org or northcountrytrail.org.