Tappan in Rockland County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Bear Mountain & Harriman Trails
Trails of the Bear Mountain – Harriman Parks
Bear Mountain – Harriman State Park’s trail system is an extensive web of paths, trails and old roads that satisfy the hiker seeking natural beauty and a quiet escape. While the best known of these is the Appalachian Trail, within the 80-square-mile area of the Bear Mountain – Harriman State Parks and set amid the scenic Hudson Highlands, lies a network of hundreds of miles of marked trails of great variety.
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New York – New Jersey Trail Conference
In addition to providing the public with over 1,700 miles of hiking trails on the bi-state region, the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference, a federation of 100 hiking and outdoor clubs with 10,000 individual members, is concerned with trail land protection and education. Originally established in 1920 to voluntarily construct and maintain the hiking trails of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. In 1923, the NY-NJ Trail Conference, in cooperation with the Commission built the section of the Appalachian Trail here in Bear Mountain – Harriman State Park. The
The Local Geology
The trails pass through 1.3 billion years of geological history within the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Parks. A major continental collision 1.1 billion years ago heated and compressed virtually all of the visible rocks here into banded gneisses. About 850 million years ago, fault and fracture action created large magnetite iron ore bodies. These were extensively mined during the 18th and 19th century occupation of the area. During the next 650 million years, the rocks of the Park were uplifted as mountain ranges, and eroded several times. Over the past 2 million years, erosion was greatly accelerated by huge mile thick ice sheets that scraped and removed all of the surface material and leveled the large mountain that once stood atop these rocks. The last glacier retreated about 12,000 years ago, leaving u-shaped valleys, bare hilltops, erratics, pot-holes, boulder fields, large swamps and the Hudson River, actually a fjord with its bed over 100 feet below sea level in many places.
Below an aerial photo of the tower:
Treat the land the trails cross and its neighbors with respect and care. Keep to the trails’ defined footway. Leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. By leaving little or no trace of your presence, you help preserve the trails for future enjoyment. And remember: millions of hours have been donated by volunteers to build and maintain these trails, most at their own expense.
Major William A. Welch
Appointed in 1912 as the Palisades Interstate Park Commission’s General Manager and Chief Landscape Engineer, Major William A. Welch designed the bush and forested environments of the Park. An innovator in public-private partnerships, Major Welch was one of the co-founders of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, acting for 10 years as that organization’s first chairman. In 1925, he also chaired the newly organized Appalachian Trail Conference. Helping to establish natural and state park systems throughout the country, Major Welch founded and served as the first president of the National Council of State Parks.
This scenic salt marsh island has had a variety of uses throughout its history. In the 18th century, this strategic venue centered the independence struggle in the Hudson Highlands. The propagation of the Iona Grape turned the island into the earliest and best known Hudson Valley vineyard of the 19th century. Later in the century, thousands of river excursionists journeyed to the Iona Island summer resort. Sold to the United States Government in the 20th century, the Island’s superior Hudson River location distinguished it as a major naval ammunition depot during both world wars. The Palisades Interstate Park assumed jurisdiction over Iona Island in 1966, focusing on its importance as a wildlife and bird center.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Man-Made Features.
Location. 41° 1.677′ N, 73° 56.317′ W. Marker is in Tappan, New York, in Rockland County. Marker is on Palisades Interstate Pkwy, in the median. Marker is located on the north side of the Service Area on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tappan NY 10983, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Palisades Interstate Parkway Scenic Byway Corridor (here, next to this marker); Tappan Historic District (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Tappan Historic District (approx. 0.4 miles away); Joseph B. Clarke Rail Trail (approx. half a mile away); Sparkill Veterans Monument (approx. half a mile away); Sparkill Veterans Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Sparkill Korean War Monument (approx. half a mile away); Sparkill Viet-Nam War Monument (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tappan.
More about this marker. A map of the Bear Mountain area, courtesy of the NY-NJ Trail Conference, appears on the left side of the marker. Multiple trails appear in red on the map. These trails are listed on the right.
Several photos of Native Wildlife appear on the right side of the marker. These include White-tail Deer, Timber Rattlesnake, River Otter, Bald Eagle, Black Bear, Beaver, Coyote and Red-Tail Hawk. Under this is the caption “An amazing diversity of wildlife can be found in Bear Mountain-Harriman State Parks, only 40 miles north of New York City.”
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 20, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 545 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 20, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.