Schoharie County’s most popular and picturesque hiking trails will soon be owned by the state.
Citing a tremendous increase in users and an aging volunteer base, members of the Vroman’s Nose Preservation Corporation have agreed to donate the ownership of the historic landmark to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The transfer should take place by the end of the year.
Because of exposure on Facebook and other social media and Intenet sites, the number of hikers has mushroomed over the past few years, according to Susan Vroman Walker, president of the VNPC.
Visitors have increased from 4,000 in 2003 to nearly 13,000 in 2017, according to the VNPC newsletter. The number of out of state visitors during that time has gone from 342 in 2003 to 928 in 2016.
That’s put more burden on the volunteers, Ms. Walker said.
The parking area has been enlarged in the last few years and changes have been made on the trails.
It is easy to explain the increase in use, Ms. Walker said.
“It’s such a wonderful hike for a family. People of all ages use it. With 20, 25 minutes of hiking, its such a spectacular view…
“As soon as you get on the trail, it’s like magicland. It’s so beautiful.”
She noted that several of the directors live outside of New York, including Ms. Walker herself, who lives in California and her sister Margaret Vroman Nowak who lives in Virginia. In addition, many of the volunteers are getting older.
“It shows forethought to make arrangements for the care of the mountain while we are still active and in good health,” it stated in this summer’s newsletter.
The goal of the VNPC is the same as it was when there was a dedication ceremony in 1984, to preserve Vroman’s Nose as it is, Ms. Walker explained.
“Our goal was to preserve it and to keep it forever wild.”
The state DEC will have the same goal, she added, except with a much larger base of support.
“It will be a team of people who come in” and help maintain Vroman’s Nose. She said.
Though the ownership may change, Ms. Walker doubts that many people will notice.
“Most people already thought New York already owned it,” she noted last week.
There should be no significant changes except that the trails will be open 24 hours a day, she said. Currently they are open from sunrise to sunset.
The state will not pay any taxes, Ms. Walker noted. This will not be a change either since the VNPC, as a non-profit organization, did not pay taxes.
The VNPC was incorporated in August 1983 and was formed by four Vroman families, the Schoharie County Historical Society and the public.
She said that $42,000 was raised to purchase the land, about 149 acres from the Van Dyke family.
Many people helped in the purchase, including Harold B. Vroman, Helene Farrell, Wally VanHouten, Rudy Snyder, and others. The dedication ceremony was held in 1984 with the then New York Secretary of State Gail Shaffer in attendance.
There were some concerns, Ms. Walker noted, about a restaurant being built on top of the Nose.
Ms. Walker remembered that the Nose was not open to hiking when she was child.
“I could see this mountain which bore my family name, but I couldn’t hike it,” she recalled.