Club Spotlight: New York Ramblers Hiking Club Celebrates Its Hundredth Year
By Ingrid Strauch
The year 1923 marked the formation of numerous outdoor organizations in the New York-New Jersey area. Among those organizations was the New York Ramblers Hiking Club, officially founded on October 25, 1923.
Hiking schedules from the 1930s depict the club operating much as it does today: holding weekly day hikes to various parks, including Harriman State Park, Storm King State Park, and what is now Ramapo Mountain State Forest, and more.
The club and its members are credited several times in Williams Myles’ Harriman Trails for several notable contributions, including Jack Spivack’s work blazing the Seven Hills Trail, starting in 1926; first Rambler president William Brien’s donation of $4,000 in 1954 to build a shelter at Island Pond; and former club president Kurt Ramig’s contribution to a plan for the Long Path in 1961.
Today, the club hosts well-attended weekly hikes, mainly on Sundays, with members traveling primarily by bus and train to and from trailheads in the Hudson Valley, Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and occasionally further afield. The club maintains a section of the Nurian Trail in Harriman State Park and honors Raymond Torrey with an annual hike to Long Mountain on the last Sunday of each October.
The COVID-19 pandemic had both positive and negative effects on the club. On the plus side, membership grew as more and more people sought opportunities to hike and be in nature. However, bus routes contracted and some trailheads closed, making planning a diverse and exciting hike schedule more challenging.
Nonetheless, the Ramblers are going strong, and members proudly anticipate a New York City mayoral proclamation in October 2023, recognizing the club’s contribution to the health and outdoor recreation of all New Yorkers.
The Ramblers welcome hikers who are looking for a friendly group to hike with. To learn more, visit their website at www.nyramblers.org.