Hugh Neil Zimmerman  

Neil Zimmerman, 77, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Accord, NY on February 28. 

Neil had a special talent for making friends and bringing people together.  An avid hiker, he was president of the NY/NJ Trail Conference from 1987 to 1999, where he was instrumental in developing their excellent hiking maps, which are used by nearly everyone who hikes in New Jersey and New York. He is a co-author of two books, Fifty Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley and Fifty Hikes in New Jersey. His “day job” was as chief librarian at the Population Council in New York City from 1974 to 2017. One of his many accomplishments there was the development and implementation of a global program to provide academic books to libraries in developing countries. 

As he told it, Neil’s hiking career began in 1974 when he won a car in a raffle. To get some use out of it he started camping with friends. He fell in love with the Shawangunk Mountains in particular around 1980 when the Mohonk Preserve asked him, as the then Map Chairman of the Trail Conference, to help produce a hiking map set of the area. He was subsequently appointed a member of the Minnewaska State Park Master Plan Advisory Committee, formed by PIPC and NY State Parks shortly after the big 1987 Lake Minnewaska addition. He served as the Chair of the American Hiking Society, as a Governor of the Adirondack Mountain Club, and as a member of the DEC’s Forest Preserve Advisory Committee.

In retirement Neil served on the boards of the Town of Rochester Food Pantry, Friends of the Shawangunks, and The Shawangunk Conservancy, chairing the latter two from 1998-2013, and volunteered at Angle Food East in Kingston.

 Neil hiked and trekked the world over, from Nepal to Peru, including the arduous Annapurna circuit, and the Tour de Mont Blanc. He also rafted the Colorado River for its total length. Twice. He always returned from a trip with a funny story. He was member of the Catskill 3500 Club, ADK 46ers, AMC NE111, 100 Highest and 4000Footers. He was working on the Colorado Fourteeners and the Highpointers list. He also enjoyed canoeing and biking.

He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends and neighbors, and those he worked with over the years.

Neil is survived by his sister Judith Roshke and nephews Mark and Richard Maltz.

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Neil Remembrances

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March 13, 2023

The only hike Neil and I undertook together occurred some time after he heard I’d been to Angel Falls. He discussed some far off place in Asia, Tuva, I think, his adventurous spirit eyed that country for some time. But we settled for a closer venue–Hidden Pond in Minnewaska State Park.
We met at his cozy home, and after looking at a few of the trees in his yard, I being a Forester, we set off. Accompying us were two dogs, my Jack Russell, Ivy, and a local mutt that had taken a liking to him, and ofter tagged along with him.
Neil knew the obscure trails off the road, and we ambled along, the dogs at our sides, and eventually arrived at the pond. Rather small, and with drifts of some sort of filmy weeds in its dark water, it looked murky and unappealing for a toe-dip. But the surrounding blueberry bushes made a bountiful diversion.
Though we never traveled to far off places, I met and worked with Neil many times here near home, always found him interesting, focused, amiable and dedicated to the out of doors.
Truly, we have lost a wonderful hiker, friend, and companion.

- Frederick Gerty