Volunteers are the backbone of the LHT — clearing trails, installing signage, stenciling paved areas, and keeping an eye out for the many maintenance issues that our heavily-travelled trails need addressed. We owe a lot to these folks, and we wanted to share their LHT stories. If you want to join one of our volunteer teams, shoot us an email — we’d love to have you!
Courtesy of Sylvia Kocses
Meet Sylvia Kocses – a retired science and ecology expert and Pennington resident who brings her grandkids to the trails she helped build, and one of the LHT’s star volunteers.
LHT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sylvia: I live in Pennington near Kunkel Park with my husband. We moved to Pennington in 1983 and raised two sons who loved growing up in this town.
I am retired and 71 years old. My degree is in Science Education and Ecology which was a relatively new program at Rider College in 1969. I always loved the outdoors, but that coursework helped me learn to appreciate, identify, and value the diversity of the ecosystems in our community. I am passionate about encouraging others to explore and enjoy our beautiful world. Working on developing hiking and biking trails helps me fulfill that passion.
LHT: How long have you been volunteering on the LHT? What inspired you to lend a hand?
Sylvia: I got involved in trail work and the LHT about 15 years ago when I met other community members like Alan Hershey, Tom Ogren, and Kurt Vollherbst and they invited me to help.
LHT: What kinds of projects have you worked on?
Sylvia: I still recall the fond memories of first learning to do ‘sidehilling’ on the Baldpate Mountain trail. It’s fun to tell my grandchildren that “this is the section Grammy helped to build” when we hike there now.
LHT: How did you discover the LHT? What are your favorite segments?
Sylvia: My favorite section is the ride from Rosedale Park to Pennington Rocky Hill Road. I am so amazed and grateful that the bridge across Stoney Brook was built and that this trail brings me near the nesting site of the bald eagles.
LHT: Do you have advice for other folks who have thought about getting involved with the LHT?
Sylvia: It’s very rewarding to work with other volunteers who love nature and want to make it accessible to as many people as possible.