Reflections: Looking Back at 100 Years of Service

June 18, 2020
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Reflections: Looking Back at 100 Years of Service
Trail Conference volunteer leaders Bob Jonas and Estelle Anderson. Photo by John Rahfield.


As the Trail Conference prepares to mark our centennial this October, we’re turning the spotlight on some of our longest-serving volunteers for reflections on their time with the organization.

Estelle Anderson + Robert (Bob) Jonas

Estelle’s roles:

Bob's roles:

  • Local Trail Chair: Central
  • North Jersey; Sawyer
  • Committee Chair; Trail
  • Supervisor: Central North
  • Jersey Morristown
  • Local Trail Chair: Central
  • North Jersey; Sawyer;
  • Trail Supervisor: Central
  • North Jersey Morristown

With over 50 years of collective trail work between them, Bob and Estelle have touched almost every program and committee within the organization—particularly in their home state of New Jersey, where they co-chair the Central North Jersey region. They have led trail crews, taught workshops, trained countless trail maintainers, recruited volunteers at trailheads, designed and installed all manner of signage, negotiated trail access with dubious landowners, assisted with land acquisitions, contributed to multiple books, facilitated Regional Trails Councils, and otherwise excelled as volunteer leaders.

A Close Encounter

Retold by Bob Jonas

This is one of our funnier memories of trail work.

A few years ago, while we were installing a directional post at a confluence of trails in Jockey Hollow,
I found that I needed a pry bar to get past some rocks. So I headed back downhill to the car for necessary tools.

Estelle parked herself on the small bridge over the Primrose Brook to enjoy a snack and listen to the critters of the forest. The snack was peanut butter crackers—apparently very enticing to a local bear and cub, who were making a beeline to her!

Walking back uphill I observed, unbeknownst to her, there was a mama bear and cub strolling down the hillside right behind her. As large as they are, they move very quietly, and were about to surprise her… right into the brook!

Seems peanut butter crackers might not be the best snack while sitting quietly in the forest.

Once I informed Estelle of her soon-to-be companions, she shrieked, and climbed a tree. Actually, she didn’t—but it makes for a better story!