Awards for Hikers

Main Trail End-to-End Award

end-to-endpatch.gif Award recipients

An award is made to all persons hiking the main Finger Lakes Trail either continuously or in segments. The award consists of two embroidered End-to-End (Main Trail) patches. There is special funding providing an engraved nameplate for each person completing their End-to-End hike. A letter of congratulations with certificate is also sent from the Conference.

Visit the End-to-End page for a more information about End-to-End hiking.

Branch Trail End-to-End Award


Award recipients

An award is made to all persons hiking all of the Branch Trails on the Finger Lakes Trail System.  The award consists of two embroidered End-To-End (Branch Trail) patches.  A letter of congratulations is also sent from the Conference.

Awards for Volunteers

The following awards are authorized by the FLTC Board of Managers.

Wally Wood Distinguished Service Award


Award Recipients

This award is presented each year to the person or persons who have made outstanding long-term contributions to the Finger Lakes Trail Conference.  The award consists of a hiking stick with an engraved plate or a wall plaque, winner’s choice.

The award honors the memory of Wallace “Wally” D. Wood. Wally Wood came up with the idea of a long distance footpath across New York State and was founding President of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. Mr. Wood is shown here with the first Wally Wood Award, a silver bowl, which he received in 1984.

Irene Szabo Benefactor Award

Award Recipients

This award is presented for an individual or household demonstrating vision and generosity through significant monetary or in-kind contribution(s) to the Finger Lakes Trail or the Finger Lakes Trail Conference.

Clar-Willis Distinguished Trail Volunteer Award

Award Recipients

This award is made to an individual or pair of individuals who have made a significant contribution over a period of time as trail workers. These individuals may be individual members of the Conference or members of one of our Trail Sponsor organizations.  One award will be made each year at the Fall Weekend. Those honored will receive a tool of the winner’s choice with a removable engraved plate. Harry Clar and Edward Willis are two outstanding examples of great dedication and long time service in building and maintaining many miles of the Finger Lakes Trail System.

Harry Clar working on the trail 1991
Ed Willis at 25th Anniversary at Ithaca College 1987

Ervin Markert Distinguished Contribution Award

Award Recipients

Erv Markert receives award

Erv Markert receives award

This award is made to an individual, group or organization in the public or private sector that has made a significant contribution toward the improvement of hiking and/or trails in New York State.  It will be awarded as needed, but not more than once a year.  The award may be made at any time within the calendar year.  The award will consist of a Resolution by the Board of Managers and an engraved plaque. Erv Markert served as the Trail Committee Chair for nearly twenty years.  During that time he also served on several state and national committees and organizations involved with trails and hiking.  He interfaced extremely well with many public employees in the State and Federal governments who were involved with trails.

Gerry Benedict Alley Cat Award


Gerry Benedict preparing strips of asphalt shingles

Award Recipients

The Gerry Benedict Award honors Alley Cat participants who have demonstrated special dedication over the years by repeatedly working on week-long projects across the trail system, whether doing trail reconstruction, building new structures such as shelters or bridges, or supporting those projects by planning, material preparation, or housing and feeding crews.

Gerry Benedict was a dedicated Alley Cat volunteer who lost his life in an accident while volunteering for one such project on May 11, 2012, in the Catskills.

Bill and Ellen Garrison Landowner Recognition Award

Award Recipients

Since the very existence of the trail depends on generous private landowners who permit hikers to walk on their land, the Conference is very grateful to each and every one. Furthermore, some landowners embrace the trail in ways that go far beyond hosting the footpath; they assist hikers with water or other needs, do trail work, allow camping or donate easements to protect the trail corridor forever. Some even donate property to the conference. This award, to be given as deserving candidates are nominated, will recognize those special landowners who go beyond permitting the trail to enhancing the trail and the trail experience

The Bill and Ellen Garrison Award, named for our first landowners to INVITE the trail onto their property from adjacent land, to OFFER an easement without even being asked, and then to build one of the nicest shelters imagineable, the Evangeline shelter on Map B3 between Prattsburgh and Hammondsport. Even after a neighborhood child burned it down, they used their insurance to fund a new one, bigger and better than ever. This is the welcoming spirit that defines this award’s intended recipient.

Howard Beye Lifetime Achievement Award (FLTC Board Nomination Only)

Award Recipients

The Board of Managers retains the right to present the Howard Beye Lifetime Achievement Award to anyone of their choice, reserving this occasional honor for that rare person who has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time, effort, talent, and hard work over many years to the fortunes of the Finger Lakes Trail. Since the award was founded in 2004, only four have ever been given (Ed Sidote, Howard Beye, Tom Reimers, and Irene Szabo), and in each case a unique presentation “thing” was created that combined some of the things the awardee was known for, like a shadowbox full of memorabilia pertinent to the honoree. Howard Beye hosted the FLTC office in his home for 17 years, was the longtime trail chair, organized Alley Cat crews, went to every meeting imaginable from local up to Albany and North Country Trail states.

Ed Sidote Howard Beye.jpg
Nicknamed “Queen Irene” was president of the FLTC for eleven years. She has more than earned most conference awards, including NCTA – photo by Joan Young

The award was first given to Ed Sidote. The second recipient was the man whose name the honor bears, Howard Beye. Tom Reimers is the third person to be honored and Irene Szabo is the most recent. All of these people received the Wally Wood Award and many other accolades before being given this award.