Minutes

Northeast Kingdom Section – Green Mountain Club

2021 Summer Meeting – July 25, 2021

Island Pond, Vermont

Call to Order – NEKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:37 P.M. Originally, John wanted to discuss COVID but decided otherwise. He mentioned a recently received e-mail from an individual requesting a schedule of quarterly hiking trips. John expressed his appreciation for all the volunteer input. The e-mail writer also inquired the destination of the dollars and how the money is divided between the Main Club and the section. There was a brief discussion of the division of funds between the Main Club and the sections, which results in a percentage in the 20 to 25 percent range being returned to a designated section, when an individual joins or renews with that section.

Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick reviewed the highlights of the April 11, 2021 NEKGMC Annual Meeting.

MOTION [ Brooks/Williamson] Approve the April 11, 2021 Annual Meeting minutes as presented

Approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report

In Angela’s absence Cathi Brooks made an oral presentation

Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club

Quarterly Financial Statement

As of July 20, 2021

Operating Account

Beginning Balance (as of 04/02/2021) $3,629.94

Income

Dues Sharing

Mar Dues Sharing (Deposited 05/03) $133.75

Apr Dues Sharing (Deposited 05/12) $276.25

 

Expenses

John Predom -Website Reimbursement $250.80

Ending Balance $3,789.14

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Certificate of Deposit

CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2022 @.40% $1,587.02

CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2022 @.40% $1,748.59

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Grand Total All Monies $7,124.75

Angela Smith ~ Treasurer

Beth Barnes inquired regarding acknowledgement of two $500.00 donors, including the deposit of the funds locally. Specifically, $1,000 (the total amount of both donations) is intended for support of the Kingdom Heritage Trail. There is a question on the allocation of one of the $500.00 contributions’ back to the section in its entirety. A discussion will be held with Main Club staff to address this matter.

 

Directors’ Report – Cathi Brooks, the NEKGMC’s Main Club Board Director, reported on highlights from the June 2021 GMC Board meeting.

Financially, the Main Club ended FY 21 with a net surplus of $ 302,744. Of this amount, $90,000 will be directed to FY 2022 expenses. The solar power and publications loans were paid off in full. Revenues totaled over 100 percent of the budget. Contributions and memberships exceeded last fiscal year’s amounts. The federal payback protection loan has been forgiven. Publications experienced an increase in sales and the endowment now stands at over $6.1 million. The GMC’s financial status is strong as FY 22 begins.

The Capital Campaign continues with a total raised of $1,775,248, the further amount of $427,289 pledged for a total commitment of $2,202,537. Of the total amount, $2,500 has been pledged to Beaver Dam’s construction.

GMC has secured state funding towards the purchase of the Judevine property that will hopefully be transferred for inclusion of the Long Trail State Forest. The problem of racist graffiti at hiking locations has emerged in the NEK. No arrests have been made to date. New efforts to acknowledge donors to the GMC are being implemented, including more outreach thank you calls from the Main Club’s Development Committee’s members.

A new outdoor retailer business collaboration has been established and several businesses are participating, such as Lenny’s Shoes and Darn Tough Vermont, the sock manufacturer. Three new vehicles have been donated to the GMC. The road signage heading into Waterbury headquarters is being revamped to provide improved motorist access. The sixth edition of the LT Map has been released.

The GMC Camps reopened in June 2020. During the recently completed FY 2021, Hadsel Mares achieved a 76 percent rate of occupancy, the highest of any GMC camp. 75 percent of its guests rated the facility as excellent. Comments on needed immediate repairs were noted. Cathi reported that both construction of Beaver Dam and the needed Hadsel Mares repairs may be delayed until calendar year 2023 (FY 24). Dusty (of Northwoods) has offered NorthWoods crew to work on local projects here in the NEK (such as Beaver Dam). Paul suggested that the Amish could construct Beaver Dam for 40 percent less. The current guesstimate exceeds $100,000.00 But, if the Amish were to construct Beaver Dam, there would be insurance, logistical, and possible vaccination issues to address.

Headwaters has been sold to local NEK residents.

Beaver Dam Construction Motion [Trojano/Brooks] That the Main Club assign a high priority to the construction of the Beaver Dam Camp and the repairs required at Hadsel Mares.

Approved unanimously

Cathi will be in contact with GMC President Howard VanBenthuysen and GMC Director of Field Programs Keegan Tierney to communicate the adoption of this resolution and express the section’s concerns on Beaver Dam’s prioritization.

Regarding other Main Club topics, Cathi updated the section on a parking problem at Bald Mountain in Woodford (not Westmore) and efforts to resolve the difficulty. There remains a nuisance problem at the Winooski Bridge, which the Main Club is working to ameliorate, and the Bromley Tower planning process continues. Land monitoring is at nearly full force. Efforts to improve GMC communications have featured the Mud Madness publicity drive and the associated weekly release of a list of weekly hiking options during Mud Season. There is a continuing effort to educate hikers on trail etiquette. In FY 21, the Visitors Center had a 38 percent online sales revenue increase in comparison to FY 20. Nine speakers presented James Taylor lectures online, which a total of 1500 viewers attended virtually. Since April, 34 section work hour reports (club-wide) have been submitted. The Leave No Trace program has raised $1300. Lastly, the Main Club Volunteer Picnic has been scheduled for October (instead of after the September GMC Board meeting). This change is to accommodate a diversity and inclusion training session planned for after the September Board Meeting.

Newsletter – NEKGMC Newsletter Editor Ed Guest is preparing the newsletter. But given his health issues, he is requesting assistance. Efforts were discussed of ways of assisting Ed in this endeavor.

Brighton Trail Days (Sat July 31) – NEKGMC President John Predom reported on the many requirements, including insurance, that were needed to organize the event. John asked if kids friendly hikes should be designated? Should there be pet rules or not? He suggested a key swap on the Bluff Ridge Trail hike. Kevin Williamson suggested a leader swap in lieu of a key swap. Another issue is what if there is an unexpected quantity of hikers. We can start a new hike (on the same trail) every 20 minutes. The Gore East Trail hike may be cancelled in lieu of a second Middle Mountain hike. Distribution of first aid kits was discussed and it is intended that all leaders will hike with a rudimentary kit.

Long Trail Day (August 28) – As part of the club-wide Long Trail Day fundraiser, the NEK Section will conduct a Kingdom Express Hike to the top of Jay Peak with an option to continue to Route 105. The Main Club also wants to offer trail magic refreshments that day. Routes 105 and 242 are possible sites for trail magic.

Corporate Hikes – Beth Barnes explained that corporate hikes would be for employees of a specific corporation conducted under the auspices of an NEKGMC leader. These would be easier hikes and ideas were suggested including Perry Holbrook State Park, the CCC Road and Sentinel Road. This was a concept suggested for next year.

Youth Adventure Club- Angela Smith (absent due to a prior commitment) plans to lead several youth hikes during the balance of the summer and into the early fall.

 

Membership – NEKGMC Membership Coordinator Beth Barnes reported that the NEKGMC has 158 memberships of which there are 86 (singles) and 76 (family) totaling 230. Recently, Beth has led several hikes and is interested in leading more often. She also was active on Pisgah during Take A Hike Day and contacted a number of hikers. Beth reported success in speaking with hikers from out-of-state. She found it more productive hiking on the trail as opposed to merely waiting on top. Setting up a table at the trailhead, (permit required but easily acquired) is also a useful informational tool. Cathi has the section’s display board that could be used at events. Beth attended a Newport City Farmer’s Market to promote the club. John Predom mentioned the idea of a GMC identification at local trailheads.

 

Trail Adoption – NEKGMC Trail Adopter Kevin Williamson reported that adoption of Cow Mountain Pond Trail may require coordination with the town of Granby. The Moose Mountain adoption is experiencing extenuating circumstances. Middle Mountain North needs an adopter. For the most part, the trails are assigned an adopter. GMC Volunteer and Education Coordinator Lorne Currier is interested in conducting an NEKGMC trail training and workday. Moose Bog maintenance will be challenging and may require specialized work. The Mad Brook Trail parking access issue remains uncertain, although efforts at improvement are being discussed.

KHT (Kingdom Heritage Trail) Camp Sites – A group from GMC, FPR (Department of Forest Parks and Recreation) and Weyerhaeuser conducted a camp site investigation. One possible site was identified. Weyerhaeuser seems willing to host a site, but there will be conditions on its granting permission.

Wheeler Pond Camp – NEKGMC Vice President Paul Trojano again emphasized the need to push the Beaver Dam project forward as expressed in the previously adopted motion. He will be seeking assistance on the annual firewood project. Paul will be checking with Lake Region High School’s community service project. The idea of using volunteers from Sterling College was also suggested.

Other Business – NEKGMC President John Predom listed on the agenda several local events that he mentioned in passing. These included volunteering at the Westmore Mountain Challenge and the Kingdom Half and Full Marathon (both on September 18), the planned ice cream social at the Silvio Conte Welcome Center (August 14), and the upcoming Board Walk Auto that the Silvio Conte Center is hosting (check its Website for details). On an ongoing matter, he emphasized the need to conduct more local group hikes.

Next Meeting – The next NEKGMC meeting was scheduled for Sunday Oct 24, ideally at Lenny’s camp at Holland Pond. Alternatively, it will be held at the Burke Mountain Clubhouse in East Burke.

Adjournment – With no other business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at approximately 3:40 PM,

Submitted by Michael Jay Chernick, NEKGMC Secretary

2021 Annual Meeting – April 11, 2021

(via Zoom)

Call to Order- NEKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:00 PM. A roll call of the attending members of the Executive Committee was called. Those Executive Committee members in attendance were President John Predom, Vice President Paul Trojano, Secretary Michael Chernick, Membership Coordinator Beth Barnes, Trail Adoption Coordinator Kevin Williamson, and Newsletter Editor Ed Guest.

Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick reviewed the highlights of the January 10, 2021 quarterly meeting.

MOTION [ Cathy Brooks/ Ed Guest] Approve the January 10, 2021 quarterly minutes as presented

Approved Unanimously

Treasurer’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith submitted the following report:

Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club

Quarterly Financial Statement

As of April 02, 2021

Operating Account

Beginning Balance (as of 01/02/2021) $2,906.11

Income

Dues Sharing

Nov Dues Sharing $103.75

Dec Dues Sharing $161.25

Jan Dues Sharing $345.00

Feb Dues Sharing $146.25

 

Expenses

Check Order $32.42

Ending Balance $3,629.94

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Certificate of Deposit

CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2022 @.40% $1,585.63

CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2021 @.40% $1,746.88

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Grand Total All Monies $6,962.45

Angela Smith ~ Treasurer

The report was accepted as presented

Board of Directors Report – NEKGMC Director to the Main Club Cathi Brooks reported that the recent board meeting was financially focused. Among the highlights of the meeting was the adoption of the 2021-2022 budget. The total operating expenses for the upcoming fiscal year will increase slightly over $2 million. This increase can be attributed to the field work and other activities that have been deferred during the pandemic and that will be performed in 2021. Also, staff vacancies were temporarily left unfilled. The capital campaign is nearing conclusion and has been successful. The GMC was able to convert its federal loan into a grant. Although not eligible for further federal assistance, the club is applying for grants approximating $200,000. There will be two Long Trail Patrols and a construction crew operating this summer. The amount of $139,000 is being allocated from capital campaign funds for Long Trail restoration work in the north. Publications had a $25,000 decrease this past year, but other expenses increased approximately the same amount.

The Endowment Committee reached out to 10 different investment management firms to assume GMC money management responsibilities. Morgan Stanley was awarded the contract. Professional staff responsible for the GMC account will be based in Colchester. The Endowment currently stands at $5,754,000.

GMC membership is now just under 10,000. This is a major increase. Section members are only 38 percent, and there are now 49 business members. Lenny’s Shoes and Burlington Beer are now corporate sponsors. The main club has recently conducted a virtual trail adopter session. The annual meeting will be conducted via Zoom on June 12. The main club is continuing its diversification efforts.

GMC Conservation Manager Molly Flanagan updated the board on land conservation efforts. Just 6.25 miles of the Long Trail remain to be protected, involving 12 different properties. Separately, 11 miles of side trails on 53 different properties still require protection.

Section Presidents’ Report – Cathi Brooks reported on a recent section presidents’ session, which she attended on John Predom’s behalf. There will be a section president’s profile feature in the LTN. GMC Business Cards will be made available to sections. The June 12, 2021 Main Club Annual Meeting, which will be conducted via Zoom, will feature reports from each section.

COVID Restrictions- At this time there remain COVID restrictions related to mask wearing, carpooling, post hike lingering, and out-of- state trips.

Camps Committee – Hadsel Mares capacity has recently stood at 93 percent (many of the guests are non-members). Bryant Camp is also at 93 percent and Bolton Lodge at 77 percent. Construction of the Beaver Dam replacement camp is still on the schedule for 2022.

Trails Management Committee – A proposed visit to examine potential camp sites on the Kingdom Heritage Trail will occur in the near future (see Luke O’Brien’s FPR report). Ed Guest discussed promoting GMC membership at the Hadsel Mares Camp with informational and membership materials.

Newsletter – NEKGMC Newsletter Editor Ed Guest reported on a strong collection of written reports from multiple contributors. But, the number of photos is low. Ed encouraged more photos to be transmitted to him directly via e-mail or via the section ‘s Facebook page. Ed did request that individuals be identified in photos.

Nominations for NEKGMC Section Officers for 2021-2022

The following individual were nominated to serve as NEKGMC Section Officers for the 2021-2022 year:

President – John Predom

Vice President-– Paul Trojano

Secretary – Michael Chernick

Treasurer – Angela Smith

MOTION [Luke O’Brien] to close nominations and directing the secretary to cast one vote for the slate.

Approved unanimously

 

Department of Forest Parks and Recreation Update – FPR Recreation Specialist Luke O’Brien reported on departmental activities and plans in the NEK. COVID drove up the number of persons recreating outside, and FPR expects the same in 2022. Luke thanked the trail adopters. He believes the NEK has some of the best trails in the state and attributes this in part to the adopter’s great efforts.

At the south end of Lake Willoughby conditions have deteriorated during the last decade due to erosion. Regarding the planned Willoughby parking improvements, one last permit from the Town of Westmore is still required. If the permit is not issued till May, work may not be done this summer. There will be additional toilet facilities at the parking area. Luke reviewed their possible configuration. After much effort on FPR’s part, AOT will now be involved in the process of developing the expanded parking facility. Luke is working to arrange a NorthWoods crew for three weeks to manage the erosion and other issues. This summer, there will be a focus on the shore trail and shoreline stabilization. This will be combined with an education campaign that in part will focus on the starting of fires and their impacts. He described that problem as frustrating.

In addition to the crew at Willoughby, a NorthWoods crew will work for 3 weeks roving the Kingdom Heritage Trail, Brousseau, and other locations. GMC will be conducting the three weeks of work at Jay referenced in Cathi Brooks’ Director’s Report.

Quite a few projects are planned in the Groton State Forest. A CCC lean-to is slated for restoration, possibly using wood from trees that CCC crews planted in the 1930s. The restored lean-to may become available for overnight rental. VYCC will conduct the Groton work. Plus, an FPR crew will be spending maybe 6 weeks in the NEK just trying to keep up as last year’s deferred work that needs to be completed. There is funding for these projects.

John Predom inquired if an FPR staff person could be located at Willoughby. Luke responded that a six month a year person will be working at the locations FPR does not normally staff, including Willoughby, Sentinel Rock, and Perry Holbrook State Park. This person will be performing light trail maintenance work, serving as an FPR point of contact for the public, and an educator.

With respect to the KHT campsites, there will need to be a carefully developed management policy, for example on fire restrictions. Luke explained a network of sites is envisioned. Finding sites that are by their nature defined (vegetation, thick stand of trees) will be helpful. The sites would be 1 to 2 miles from the trailheads and 5 to 6 miles apart. Locations near snowmobiling and camps will be avoided, if possible. Among Luke’s tentatively suggest general locations are the southern end and middle of Bluff Ridge, Gore Mountain, Middle Mountain, and Black Mountain. With 5 or 6 sites planned, this process will take a while. If public funding is involved, archeologists will be required to conduct a review. Sites that are attractive as camping locations were also attractive to earlier human settlement. The private landowners, including Weyerhaeuser, Sweet Tree Maple Products, and Peter Piper Timber (lands around Black Mountain and first quarter mile of the Gore Mountain trail) will need to be consulted and approve of any site on that company’s land.

FPR is in contact with a climbing resource access group, which is interested in Black Mountain Cliffs Area for a camp site. Luke is excited that GMC’s Trails Management Committee is supportive of establishing camp sites. He displayed a preliminary map pf potential camp sites that remains a work in progress. The authorization of camp sites will require an extensive public review process.

Luke discussed extending the Gore Trail to Black and Brousseau. But GMC Director of Field Programs Kegan Tierney recommended not extending the trail at this time and focusing on the camps. Luke has created a potential map for a future extension of the Gore Trail and may conduct some passive scouting He has poked around the Gore Crossing site for a possible option to cross the brook. At a location 20 yards upstream (from the current crossing), it may be viable to drop a couple of large trees across the brook to form a bridge.

National Trails Day – There was a discussion whether a group hike or work day was preferable, and a group hike was the selected option.

Membership Update – NEKGMC Membership Coordinator Beth Barnes has been sending welcoming messages to new and renewed section member. She has received nice feedback. John Predom proposed a tabling event at Parker Pie in Glover. Beth expressed enthusiasm, and it’s a possibility after July 1. Luke and others suggested an event at April’s Maple in Canaan. Beth will introduce herself to the owners of April’s Maple. Luke also mentioned that Weyerhaeuser has a grant program. Sweet Tree Maple Products is more focused, per Luke, on its own business activities. Other tabling events were discussed. Beth is painting a tablecloth to use at tabling events, which will inform the public that it’s a GMC table. She is opened to tabling with other similarly oriented organizations and will speak with Alicia at the main club on approaching businesses.

Luke inquired if Jackson’s Lodge might be interested in hosting an event for the GMC. The thought of collaborating on an event at Quimby Lodge was also mentioned. Beth also explored greater press coverage. Luke spoke of the Island Pond 4th of July celebration (if it is to concur) that the Brighton Community Forum manages

Headwaters Camp – The sale of Headwaters Camp is close to being finalized.

Trail Adopters – According to NEKGMC Trails Adoption Coordinator Kevin Williamson, none of the adopters to date has indicated that he or she will not return. Cathi Brooks suggested an appreciation day for FPR and NorthWoods. Luke mentioned a person to work on the north side of Middle Mountain.

Monadnock Discussion – Kevin Williamson attempted to contact one of the Mount Monadnock (Lemington) landowners, but he has not received any response. Luke indicated he may have a connection, through Lou Bushy, to a new landowner The Northern Forest Center will be reaching out to the Town of Lemington. Kevin continues to make efforts in this regard.

Westmore Challenge – It is scheduled for September 18 and could use volunteers. There will not be a Kingdom Ramble in 2021.

Kingdom Heritage Event- Perhaps NEKGMC could develop an event to commemorate the opening of the KHT, but nothing is planned immediately.

Abenaki History Session – John would still liked to host an event. Luke discussed the challenges that are involved in this establishing Abenaki place signs.

Winter End-to-Ender- Susana Johnston, an NEKGMC member, has become the 11th know person to complete the Long Trail End to End in the winter. She accomplished this feat over three winters and 25- day hikes.

Gore Cell Tower – Luke noted there is a new cell tower by Gore, which should improve U.S. cell services in that vicinity.

Nuhegan River – There is discussion of designating the Nuhegan River as a federal Wild and Scenic River. There are direct community benefits to this designation.

Next Meeting – Sunday July 25, 2021, tentatively at John Predom’s home in Island Pond.

There was informal discussion of future outings with no definitive decisions.

The meeting concluded at approximately 2:40 PM without a formal adjournment motion.

Winter Quarterly Meeting – January 10. 2021

(via Zoom)

Call to Order – NEWKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:02 PM. The meeting began with introductions. John Predom started the process discussing his history of hiking the Long Trail. Other members of the section followed with personal hiking and outdoor backgrounds, including their GMC associations where applicable. Kevin Williamson inquired if the Bluff Trail parking lot was being plowed. Paul Chambers, the Brighton Recreation Director, indicated he would inquire at the upcoming Brighton selectboard meeting. Among the participants was GMC President Tom Candon.

Standard Items

Secretary’s Report -NEKGC Secretary Michael Chernick presented a summary of the minutes of the fall quarterly meeting held on October 4, 2020

MOTION [Barnes/Brooks] moves to approve the minutes as presented

Approved unanimously

Treasure’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith presented the following

quarterly report:

Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club

Quarterly Financial Statement

As of January 2, 2021

Operating Account

Beginning Balance (as of 09/30/2020) $4,091.31

Income

Dues Sharing

Aug Dues Sharing $138-75

Sept Dues Sharing $152.50

Oct Dues Sharing $103.75

Misc. Deposits

Mask Proceeds Donation $129.80 and $20.00 $149.80

Expenses

GMC – Wheeler Pond Camps Donation $1000.00

Northwoods $250.00

Train NEK (Wilderness First Aid Training) $480.00

Ending Balance $2,906.11

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Certificate of Deposit

CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2021 @.40% $1,584.19

CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2021 @.40% $1,745.16

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Grand Total All Monies $6,235.46

Angela Smith Treasurer

Board of Directors Report – NEKGMC Representative to the Main Club Board of Directors Cathi Brooks reported on Main Club activities and the Board held on December 19, 2020. There was a reduction in the budget resulting from the curtailment of activities during the pandemic. Donations, memberships, and online orders have continued to increase. The Visitors’ Center is closed for retail sales. but online ordering and pickup is available. The Federal Payroll Protection loan, according to Tom Candon, has now been converted into a grant. The 2021 Annual Meeting will be conducted online and not at Sterling College. The Main Club is assessing three different FY 2022 budgetary options. There has been a loss of education and grant revenue, but endowment revenue has remained steady. Staff will continue to work at home through spring 2021.

There is hope for federal Great America Outdoor Act funding. A new two-person communications team has been hired for print and digital publications. The Headwaters Camp sale is near completion but not finalized. Separately, the Judevine land acquisition was finalized. Beaver Dam’s new construction has been delayed until 2022. Hadsel Mares has recorded a 63 percent use for the most recently documented period. Caretaking staff has been reduced during the pandemic. But, there has been lots of overuse, especially on Camel’s Hump’s trails .In 2022, the Burrows Trail on Camel’s Hump is scheduled to be rebuilt.

All GMC trails will now be listed on the Trail Finder Website. GMC social media usage is has risen as so many more persons are at home. The club’s online sales were up 61 percent this past year and made up for the loss of onsite retail transactions. The process of transforming privies to the moldering type is continuing.

Grants are increasingly requiring an organization’s diversity policy. The GMC has now established a diversity policy working group, which has already met several times. Trail adopters put in 4,068 hours in 2020 a rise in the number of hours compared to 2019. Maintenance reports are also showing increased work. Tom Candon reported Kegan has a full crew for this summer’s trail work. Actual projects are COVID dependent. Tom also made a pitch for new GMC Board members and thanked everyone for participating

Sterling College Partnership – GMC’s partnership with Sterling College continues to expand. Sterling is one of eight U.S colleges with a student working component. The GMC membership is nearly 10,000. A new GMC sock is now being manufactured in a partnership between Lenny’s Shoes and Darn Tough. There is also a partnership with a Burlington brewery that is resulting in revenue directed to the Main Club.

Newsletter Update – NEKGMC Ramblings Newsletter Editor Ed Guest reports he is close to finishing the next issue, subject to the submission of the winter quarterly minutes. Ed solicited contributions via e-mail and from the section’s Facebook page. He requested that submissions of photos including descriptive information. Ed listed the various features that have become standard elements. As Ed stated, he is trying to get people invested. A reminder the newsletter is exclusively digital. Ed suggested storing a second copy of the newsletter on another Apple computer for archival purposes. Cathi Brooks and Michael Chernick will assume archival responsibilities for issues of Ramblings

New Business

COVID Update – John Predom discussed the pandemic and referred to the State update. Currently there is to be no post-hike lingering and masks are mandatory. He has created a spontaneous hike e-mail list. Tom Candon will check on the latest GMC guidelines.

Membership – The new NEKGMC membership coordinator, Beth Barnes, has happily assumed this role. She will coordinate her efforts with the Main Club. Among her ideas is working with the owner of the Great Outdoors store in Newport. She spoke of one-on-one outreach. Beth discussed communicating with local chambers of commerce, concerning NEKGMC activities. Another idea is contacting local real estate offices as an information distribution resource. As information tables are permitted, she hopes to pursue this option to inform the public about NEKGMC. Sheila Goss announced a winter focused tabling event occurring in February at the Pisgah parking lot.

Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation Specialist Luke O’Brien thought GMC might consider a tabling event in the prime hiking season. He also reminded the section that tabling at a state-owned facility requires an FPR permit. If no fundraising or dues solicitation is occurring the permit fee may be waived.

Discussions have occurred on adopting summit caretaker model at trailheads, focusing on information related to hiking etiquette, including aspects related to COVID. Tom Candon spoke of the GMC Ambassadors. Rick Dugan and Erica Harris are the MAIN Club contacts for the Ambassadors. Beth saw there being no ends to possibilities, but she wants to stay within club guidelines.

Camps – According to NEKGMC Vice President Paul Tojano, who serves on the Camps ‘Committee, the firewood supply at Wheeler is in good shape for this winter. He also mentioned the community service requirements at Lake Region High School as a source for volunteer assistance at Wheeler.

Trails and Trailhead – NEKGMC Trails Adoption Coordinator Kevin Williamson stated, assuming we retain this past year’s adopters, the adoption coverage should be set the 2021 hiking season. The scope of this season is dependent on the status of the pandemic.

Luke O’ Brien reported that a new small pull off has been opened after the end of the plowed road for the Mad Brook Trail. This is a temporary situation that Luke hopes will be improved for next year. He also reported a meeting is scheduled for January 20 on the Monadnock access problem. There may be funding for purchasing a new lower mountain easement. But the proposal needs a champion. The gravel pit owner has reached out to discuss options. But ultimately, construction of new mileage will take time (a couple of seasons). Luke requested GMC issue a support letter and Kevin will begin drafting a text.

The removal of the Perry Holbrooke sign is a temporary winter situation, but there will be a small area will be plowed for parking. Luke has put out bids for plowing for both Moose Bog and Victory. At Victory there will be a cleared area between the road and the gate. He listed four different Victory parking sites, which will be plowed. Kevin inquired if the entrance to Notch Pond Road could be plowed out. Luke indicated it would be a nice idea, nut doubts it can happen in 2021, perhaps in the future.

Partners Report – Luke summarized the attendees and discussion at the recent Kingdom Heritage Trails Partners (Zoom) meeting. Among the points discussed were overnight camping sites, which would require., owner approval and a delineation of facilities offered at a site and who (which organization) maintains them. Luke has requested FPR funding for overnight camping site work and assessment. He envisions it will be at least a year or two away. Luke commented if there are no sites then individuals may create their own. There was also discussion on ideas to extend the Kingdom Heritage Trail network in the future towards Westmore or to the north. Luke noted there is a capacity issue, but that it can be explored in the next field season.

John Predom submitted the following detailed report on the Partners meeting:

Kingdom Heritage Lands

KHT December Partners Meeting (via MS Teams)

December 4, 2020

Participating: Steve Agius (USFWS), Louis Bushey (VT FPR), Rich Carbonetti (LandVest), Cathi Brooks (NEKGMC), Dusty May (NWSC), Sierra Giraud (Weyerhaeuser), Isaac Alexander-Leach (GMC), John Plummer (GMC), John Predom (NEKGMC), Keegan Tierney (GMC), Maria Young (NWSC), Mike DeBonis (GMC), Paul Chambers (Brighton Recreation Department), Luke O’Brien (VT FPR)

Introductions and partner updates (brief partner introductions; round table format)

 

KHT status and conditions

• Various trail systems are in good condition, adopters and volunteers have been maintaining their sections.

Trail adopters and maintainers

• Bluff ridge trail has does not have an adopter. Spring maintenance shared by Luke, John Predom, and Kevin Williamson. It is the longest and least traveled trail. Extra effort will be needed to keep the trail visible and in good condition.

• Possibility of breaking up into three subsections to disperse the responsibility b/w adopters*

• GMC updates:

­ Will send out reminders to adopters to do a spring walkthrough of trails segments*

­ Possibility of setting up a training for trail adopters; including both online and field components to learn best practices for a sustainable and well-maintained trail

­ Potential GMC-NWSC co-sponsored training for NEK Adopters/crew staff*

• ANR updates:

­ FPR has some trail tools available (tool cache) for adopters/volunteers to use- contact Luke.obrien@vermont.gov

­ Volunteer trail days next year, COVID dependent

 

Overnight sites

• Bluff ridge trail is the longest and most remote section of the trail network. Traffic is limited on this trail as it is a long day hike, likely due to lack of designated overnight sites that could break day hikes into shorter segments.

• Possible overnight locations include Bluff Ridge, Middle Mountain, and lower Gore Mountain Trail

• Rich Carbonetti indicated that Peter Piper Timber would be open to overnight site on Black Mountain (northeast of Gore); would entertain campsite proposal/plan

• Luke indicated sites should be (relatively) evenly spaced apart; close to water; avoid camps and other sensitive areas; and situated on favorable sites (sheltered, dry)

• Sierra indicated willingness of Weyerhaeuser to consider sites on their lands. Would have to ensure that VLT and WY are on board, and if they have any further stipulations. Check with Dan Kilborn, VLT Forester*.

• While designated sites are on partner lands, ANR would ultimately have responsibility to devise a plan on maintenance and upkeep.

• ANR will address the public use management with a plan*- addressing topics like:

­ Trash, fires, cutting wood, emergency access, seasonal maintenance; waste management (moldering privy)

­ Sites would have minimal infrastructure- soil tent pads with log or stone retainers; fire pit; privy; small kiosk/information sign

• Upon these initial approvals, a team will go out and scout a couple of possible locations next field season- Dusty May (NorthWoods), Sierra Giraud (Weyerhaeuser), John Predom (GMC) and Luke O’Brien (ANR)*

• Lou indicated need for public meeting or public process to gain input from community and stakeholders

KHT 2.0- Black Mountain, etc.

• Lots of interest is generated with the rock climbing trails on the cliffs of Black Mtn (CRAG VT – rock climbing community).

• It would be beneficial to have an official, more sustainable trail built to access the cliffs- both Main cliff (on WY) and the North cliff (on Peter Piper)

­ See map for location aid, and possible routes.

• FPR and GMC have scouted at North Cliff; could also provide a good hike potential and great views.

• A designated overnight site and parking area would also be prudent*.

­ VELCO would need to be involved in Parking area discussion, if it would be in their ROW

• Possibility of connecting Gore mountain to Black mountain was discussed

­ Luke explored a possible ‘high route’ on ‘Trophy Ridge’, but terrain was difficult

­ He recommended a route using a portion of VAST trail, then following the Black Branch Nulhegan River to far end of Lewis Pond Road/log landing; Luke and Chris Fife (WH) explored a link from this area onto Gore Mountain years ago and found decent terrain with several viewpoints; comes close to USFWS boundary. Routes need to be revisited*… long term idea.

• There was brief discussion of exploring trail connection b/w Brighton and Willoughby SF; Paul was interested in efforts to expand trails in/around Island Pond; Dusty and Maria were also supportive of exploring options in this area*

Wrap-up, Other Items, and Next Steps

• Trailhead development- some trailheads need some upgrades

­ Unknown pond parking area needs gravel- FPR has funds and will coordinate with Sweet Tree*

• Will there be a trail going to Unknown Pond?

­ Unknown pond is under an STA, therefore is environmentally sensitive with poor access

­ Trail will not be able to sustain heavy public traffic without development or construction.

­ GMC is in process of selling Headwaters Camp on Unknown Pond.

­ Should we consider re-naming the Unknown Pond Trail? (Middle Mountain- South Trail?)

• Gore Mountain trail stream crossing

­ Crossing on tributary stream to Sucker brook needs improvement.

­ Group discussed pros/cons of building a bridge; Keegan indicated that GMC is generally not replacing remote bridges

­ Will evaluate crossing location/options; possibly improving step stones*

• Maria indicated that NW hopes to host a KHT Ridge Run on June 20, 2021; the event was planned for 2020 but cancelled due to COVID-19

• Steve updated the group on public access improvements on the Nulhegan Basin Division of SOC NWR, including new boardwalks at Black Branch, Lewis Pond, and Mollie Beattie Bog, Also new bike tour route on Refuge

• Sierra shared information on planned timber harvests on WH lands, relative to higher elevation/KHT locations; WH is working on forest management plans and harvests are 5-10 years out.

• Many shared regrets for not being able to meet in person due to COVID-19, preferring in-person gatherings to share stories, get to know each other, and see trail and timberlands.

Action Items (denoted with asterix* above):

• GMC will coordinate with trail adopters/send reminders of seasonal maintenance; continue seeking adopters for Bluff Ridge (possibly in 3 segments)

• GMC and NWSC will coordinate a trail maintenance training for NEK adopters/volunteers/crew staff

• ANR will coordinate public campsite use with a draft management plan (to include info on site preference/design, campfires, waste management, signs, etc.)

• Luke, Dusty, John P, and Sierra will look at potential sites on WH/ST/PPT land and coordinate with landowners/VLT, as needed

• ANR will coordinate public process to solicit comments and input on KHT 2.0 (trail extensions and campsites)

• Luke will revisit Black Branch Trail route (with others- GMC, WH, USFWS) on northeast side of Gore Mountain

• Maria, Dusty and Paul will investigate possible routes b/w Brighton and Willoughby SF

• FPR will coordinate with Sweet Tree to make improvements to Unknown Pond trailhead

• Luke, John P, and Dusty will investigate possible improvements at Gore Mountain Trail/Sucker Brook stream crossing

Thanks to all for participating and supporting this partnership effort. Thanks also to Sierra, who provided many of the notes above.

Gore Crossing Project – The water is wide and deep. The stones have shifted. Whether or not a bridge should be built has flood stage issue. GMC is looking to phase out some of the existing bridge structures and find other crossing points. At a minimum, the steppingstones should be revisited.

Other Business

Wilderness 1st Aid- Cathi Brooks recommended the Wilderness 1st Aid class. She attended with a friend and recommended that approach. Andrea Kane, the instructor covered everything during two full days of instruction and did a really good job. The topics included COVID issues. The NEKGMC paid for Susan and Cathi to take the class, giving them greater leadership confidence. Luke made a strong pitch for persons taking the course and for Andrea’s programs. He stated the course is well designed and teaches important skills. Tom Candon also endorsed taking this type of course.

Plowing Trailheads – John inquired if the section should pay for plowing. Michael Chernick raised the issue that the land is either state (could also be municipal) or privately owned, requiring landowner approval. Luke O’Brien is hopeful that after 2022, there may be funding available for plowing the parking area at Unknown Pond. HE stated that the plowing policy is somewhat haphazard. Kevin reported the Town of Granby has added plowing at the Cow Mountain Pond Trail.

Nulhegan Abenaki History – A Taylor Series presentation on Nulhegan Abenaki history is in the works. Luke found this proposal timely. He mentioned the new state statute directing inclusion of Abenaki placenames on FPR signage. Tom Candon endorsed the idea as a Taylor series.

Volunteers to Lead Group Hikes – John hopes to entice volunteers to lead a hike. The Town of Brighton is interested in snowshoeing events. NorthWoods will be conducting a Valentine’s snowshoe event. Brighton Recreation would be interested in co-sponsoring an event with GMC

GMC Logo and Mission Statement – This item will be on the GMC’s strategic plan’s agenda.

Next Meeting – Sunday April 11- 1:00 PM (tentatively by Zoom)

Adjournment

MOTION [Brooks/Guest] to adjourn the meeting at 2:40 PM

Approved unanimously

Northeast Kingdom Section – Green Mountain Club

Fall Quarterly Meeting Minutes

October 4, 2020

Island Pond, Vermont

Call to Order – NEKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:01 PM.

Standard Business:

Secretary’ s Report – NEK GMC Secretary Michael Chernick presented a summary of the minutes of the summer quarterly meeting held on July 26, 2020 via Zoom.

MOTION [Brooks/Smith] moves to approve the minutes as presented

Approved unanimously

Treasurer’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith presented the following quarterly financial report:

Quarterly Financial Statement

As of September 30, 2020

Operating Account

Beginning Balance (as of 07/12/2020) $3,514.33

Income

Dues Sharing

June Dues Sharing $142.50

July Dues Sharing $245.00

Misc. Deposits

Mask Proceeds Donation $129.48 and $60.00 $189.48

Expenses

 

 

Ending Balance $4,091.31

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Certificate of Deposit

CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2021 @.40% $1,581.55

CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2021 @.40% $1,742.84

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Grand Total All Monies $7,415.70

Angela Smith ~ Treasurer

The report was accepted as presented

Director’s Report – NEKGMC Director to the Main Club Cathi Brooks reported on the September Zoom Board of Directors’ Meeting. Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has awarded GMC $209,000 in Payroll Protection Act financial support. Due to the pandemic, Main Club is now on version VI of its FY 21 budget, which has been reduced from $1.7 to $1.1 million. Erica Harris is the new development assistant. A new communications director (whose duties will include LTN editing) and a communications assistant have yet to be hired. In the interim there will not be a fall printed LTN.

The Codding Hollow tract in Johnson (a parcel Main Club has sought to acquire) has now been purchased. The planned additional LT work in northern Vermont has been delayed until 2021. Three new LT privies were completed this summer. Efforts to promote GMC’s sections will be effectuated through a special volunteer recognition publication. The annual volunteer picnic did not occur this fall. The GMC has raised $70,000 for the Resilience Fund (easily exceeding its $50,000 goal). Overall, there has been a 25 percent increase in donations to the Main Club.

A new capital campaign brochure, outlining the campaign’s objectives, has been issued. The publication includes a Wheeler Pond Camp replacement section. Because of a realignment, the date for the new Wheeler Camp’s construction remains uncertain. Another capital campaign project will be replacement of the Herrick Building at the Waterbury headquarters. The structure requires reconstruction. As a result of the pandemic, the campaign’s target dates were readjusted. Hadsel Mares Camp at Wheeler Pond continues as the top rent generator among the camps (representing 67 percent occupancy and 31 different renters, 43 percent of whom are GMC members). Cathi Brooks suggested leaving membership applications in Hadsel Mares. Paul Trojano and GMC Conservation Manager Molly Flanigan have been working on site at the Wheeler camps. There have been two recent wood stacking sessions. (Paul described them as the most successful he has witnessed). Cathi, who along with Paul serves on the GMC’s Camps Committee will promote the earliest date for the Wheeler Camps’ construction.

NEKGMC member, and GMC Secretary, Ed 0’ Leary, is the new Camps Committee Chair, succeeding the late Jean Haigh. The committee will hold its next meeting in two weeks. Efforts are being made, through a new committee, to promote diversity and inclusion at GMC. But no specific plan has yet been developed.

The Bromley Tower fundraising is completed and planning for its construction is moving forward. A new privy is being placed at Journey’s End Camp. Summer staff assisted US Forest service on summer workdays.

The traffic has increased on GMC’s Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). Membership is up from 9,000 to 9, 560 (Aug 2019 – Aug 2020). The Visitors’ Center remains closed, but online sales increased 81 percent. Because of the continued U.S.-Canadian border closure, Canadian online sales are down significantly.

LT Patrol did not work this year, and there was a reduced number of care takers. Trail adopter hours, club-wide, rose from 1398 to 1877. Correspondingly, shelter adopter hours rose from 125 to 357. Organizational trips declined significantly due to COVID. Contributions to GMC hit an all-time record. Nancy Thomas has replaced Steve Klein as GMC Treasurer. The Club ended FY 20 with a $7,000 surplus.

Newsletter – NEKGMC Ramblings Editor Ed Guest reported that the next issue of the newsletter is nearly ready for release. Janet Steinert’s LT trip will be reported through articles in several issues. This coming issue will feature a short report from NEKGMC President John Predom and a story on Elderberry’s supposed benefits (folklore not medicinal) from Paul Trojano. Ed is looking to conclude his membership role and focus exclusively on the newsletter. Kudos were given to Ed for the quality of the newsletter

COVID Response – GMC website has not changed since July 26. Everyone is social distancing, wearing masks, and riding with windows down. A lot of people have anxiety leading group hikes. There was the Moose Mountain hike had only one participant. Several other trips on a more limited basis were held with limited numbers via personal contacts. John would like to deemphasize personal hikes and promote more planned group hikes. There was discussion of promoting hikes on Facebook and e-mails.

Classes’ Update – No information yet form Luke on the proposed Map & Compass class Andrea has scheduled a two-day Wilderness First Aid class for October 19-20. Don Kaskaka also offers Wilderness First Aid instruction in Burke. Several persons have signed up or expressed interest in attending a Wilderness First Aid course. The section will cover the fee. Paul Trojano stated he will contact Andrea to reserve his participation.

Membership Coordinator – Ed Guest’s desire to focus exclusively on his Ramblings editorial duties, will necessitate John Predom appointing a new membership coordinator. Ed requested continual receipt of the periodically updated e-mail list for newsletter distribution purposes. He divides the list, as his e-mail can only transmit 100 addresses at one time. Kevin suggested that e-mails be transmitted via the blind carbon copy method, which was unanimously agreed. John indicated growing the membership should be the new person’s goal. Paul Trojano mentioned the section’s Facebook page membership has risen. Angela Smith signed up a new member at the recent Westmore Challenge. (Subsequent to the meeting, Beth Barnes, who plans to return to the area and has professional experience in an organizational membership role, e-mailed John and offered to assume this position).

Trail Adopter Update – NEKGMC Trail Adopter Coordinator Kevin Williamson reported that presently NEKGMC has good coverage. The only trail segment minus coverage is Bluff Ridge, which will be divided into three sections of approximately 8 miles each. Paul Trojano recommended each new member should have an assigned task; trail adopters could always use assistance. NorthWoods Stewardship Center (NorthWoods) offers trail training. Kevin reminded everyone that all official reports must be forwarded to the Main Club. He also recommended the Luke O’Brien, the regional Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) staff person, should update the section regularly on his work, be it exclusive FPR’s or in association with NorthWoods. Luke was prepared to request a NorthWoods crew to clean up the residue, resulting from a recent small forest fire on the North View spur off Moose Mountain. Paul Trojano stated he was always happy to assist with trail work. There was a discussion of a possible Cow Pond Trail relocation.

 

Westmore Challenge – Approximately 130 hikers, including Angela Smith and Ami English, participated. Angela commented on the quality of the aid station. John Predom volunteered and said it was a great day.

Other Business: There was a discussion of partial expenditure of the section’s funds. John discussed a bridge over the brook on Gore Trail north of Gore Junction. Privies or a designated camp site on Bluff Ridge was also mentioned. The Headwaters Camp sale will hopefully be finalized this fall. Cathi Brooks will advocate that any resulting revenue, beyond costs incurred, i be available for NEK projects.

Brighton Trivia Hike – The Town of Brighton Recreation Department will conduct a trivia hike on October 10. There will be prizes.

Unknown Pond Trail – The original plan was to take that trail all the way to the pond, but that may never occur. The answer to the mystery is simple, the pond is unknown. Realistically, section members suggested that the trail should probably be renamed.

Website – Personal e-mails will be removed, but officers’ names will be left on the site.

Next Meeting – The Winter Quarterly meeting will occur on Sunday January 10, 2021 at a location to be determined.

Future Hikes – Sunday October 18th – Michael Chernick – Headwaters Camp

Sunday October 31st – Paul Trojano – Victory Bog area

Requests to participate will be transmitted via e-mail and GMC COVID requirements will be applied.

Adjournment Motion

MOTION [Cathi Brooks/Paul Trojano] to adjourn the meeting at 2:20 P.M.

Approved Unanimously

 

Summer Quarterly Meeting Via Zoom

July 26, 2020

Call to Order – NEKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:05 PM. He has attended the recent GMC Section Presidents’ meetings. Although the shelters are now opened, LT hikers are encouraged to bring tents for camping to facilitate social distancing.

Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick reviewed highlights from the 2020 NEKGMC Annual Meeting held via Zoom on April 4, 2020.

MOTION [Cathi Brooks/Ed Guest] to approve the secretary’s minutes as presented

Approved unanimously

Treasurer’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith submitted the following financial update for the time period beginning April 4. 2020 and concluding July 26, 2020.

Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club

Quarterly Financial Statement

As of July 12, 2020

Operating Account

Beginning Balance (as of 04/06/2020) $3,031.88

Income

Dues Sharing

January Dues Sharing $110.00

February Dues Sharing $158.75

March Dues Sharing $120.00

April Dues Sharing $168.75

May Dues Sharing $163.75

Expenses

John Predom – Reimbursement for Website Cost $238.80

Ending Balance $3,514.33

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Certificate of Deposit

CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2021 @.40% $1,580.21

CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2021 @.40% $1,741.66

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Grand Total All Monies $6,836.20

Angela Smith ~ Treasurer

The treasurer’s report was accepted

Facemasks – John Predom’s sister is producing facemasks as a section fundraiser. Section members expressed appreciation for her initiative. John will serve as the contribution collector for funds that the masks generate.

Board of Director’ Report – NEKGMC Main Club Director Cathi Brooks reported on the 2020 GMC, Zoom conducted, Annual/ Board Meetings. These virtual events had good turnouts. The GMC ended Fiscal Year 2020 (end date April 30, 2020) in the black. But, the pandemic has caused constant reevaluation. Steve Klein has concluded his excellent 6-year service as GMC Treasurer. $1.3 million has been pledged to the Capital Campaign, which was placed on a COVID-19 pause. Corporate contributions are now being solicited.

The Club is examining writing down the expenses associated with several older publications, dating back to 2009. Much of this book inventory will probably not be sold. Some copies, of these titles, will be distributed in giveaways and other promotions, avoiding completely discarding the volumes. As for new publications, the Long Trail Map has been digitalized, and a new NEK map and End-to-End Guide have been released. A new Walker’s Guide is being prepared with discussions continuing on its potential content. Development continues on a digital Long Trail Guide

GMC Director of Field Programs Kegan Tierney presented a field update. A new t food storage policy on the trail, intended to limit bear access to food, is being developed. A new Trails’ Coordinator position, in association with the National Park Service, has been established at Marsh-Billings Farm in Woodstock. Initially, it’s a one- year position.

GMC Executive Director Mike DeBonis reported 100 percent of the staff is working from home, Both the Visitors’ Center and Barnes Camp remain closed.

Several GMC staff members, including veteran Long Trail News Editor, Jocelyn Hebert have concluded their Club employment.

The 2021 Annual Meeting will be held at Sterling College in Craftsbury, the planned site of the 2021 meeting. The Northern Frontier and Sterling sections are the co-hosts.

The entire $250,000 FY 2020 line of credit is paid off. During the past fiscal year, the GMC received $561, 265 in direct financial support and $285,685 in membership dues. Before the pandemic, the Endowment stood at $4.86 million and currently has $4.1 million.

Prior to the pandemic, Hadsel-Mares had a 57 percent occupancy level. Camps are now opened again, on a limited basis. Plans to sell Headwaters Camp remain on the agenda but are not finalized. Assurances were given that Beaver Dam Camp will be rebuilt once the funds are raised,

Land Protection is working to acquire land in Johnson. A new five-year Long Trail Use Agreement has been entered into with the University of Vermont.

Newsletter – Ed Guest is preparing a new edition of the NEKGMC’s enewsletter, Ramblings, The contents will include an article on hiking the 4000 footers in New Hampshire. There are wonderful pictures, a regular item called Featured Hike and a flora and fauna story from Paul Trojano on Milkweed. An article on foraging may appear in a future issue. There is an entire page on miscellaneous ramblings through the woods and mountains. Cathi placed at the clubhouse both a binder of all issues of Ramblings, along with materials from the Jean Haigh Memorial Hike,

Outings & Group Hikes – Sue, Jill, Ami and John recently hiked Cow Pond Trail John has heard people are reluctant to lead hikes because of COVID. GMC wants people to be comfortable to lead. Because groups are limited to 10, John has limited section hikes to only GMC members. Kevin mentioned its unusual to have as many as 10 persons on an NEKGMC hike. If a hike leader is more comfortable with fewer than 10 participants, this is acceptable. Individuals are required to register. Andrea Kane desires lead a hike on Aug 4 in the Westmore area. Ed commented that we almost need to address the COVID situation weekly or daily.

Posting Hike Information – Ed suggested the revised website is the best method for promoting hikes. He is sensitive to sending out too may e-mails. Many members are GMC supporters but not necessarily active hikers. Ed can send a reminder e-mail but would emphasize the website. Paul mentioned the Hiking in Vermont (Facebook Page). John partially agreed with Ed’s e-mail comments but mentioned that new members might desire e-mails. Ed also commented that NEKGMC hikes are more spontaneous and consequently difficult to publicize in the printed press. Both Cathi and Kevin believe the section’s Facebook page is the preferred option for publicizing outings.

Classes – Andrea Kane has resumed teaching First Ad related courses. Participants have been bringing close friends or family members to serve as practice partners. John will leave it up to the section whether to proceed with a Wilderness First Aid class. Andrea can conduct the class outdoors in a tent in Peacham. There is no word yet on Luke’s O’ Brien’s compass and map classes.

FPR Updates – Luke O’ Brien, the St. Johnsbury-based FPR (Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation) recreation specialist submitted the following summary (written in late June) of the department’s current activities in the NEK of interest to the NEKGMC:

Yesterday, I patrolled the upper reaches of the Gore Mountain Trail with a NorthWoods Conservation Corps crew. All of the blowdowns are removed, drainages cleaned, and new growth brushed back. The crew was very efficient. They patrolled the lower trail on Tuesday and will be on the North Middle Mountain Trail today (June 25th) and the Unknown Pond Trail tomorrow. Not sure how far up the South Middle Mountain Trail they will get, but my guess is that they won’t make it to the summit, So there will be a gap in maintenance. I know John has patrolled this section, so it is probably okay.

I (gathered) some planking and cedar sills to replace the broken plank bridge discussed below. There wasn’t enough time to install. When I return to blaze the upper trail, I will install the new span- hopefully within the next two weeks We’ll have to wait on the log puncheon bridge. But, as I mentioned, this is less of a safety issue as it spans a muddy spot and is fairly- low to the ground. It would be great to replace this with step stones in the future.

Under an FPR Northern Trail Roving Grant with NorthWoods, crews will be patrolling the following trails over the next three weeks:

June 15: Bluff Mountain Community Trail

June 22-26: Bluff Lookout Trail and Basin Link

Lower Gore Mountain Trail

Upper Gore Mountain Trail

Middle North

Unknown Pond Trail and Middle South

June 29-July 3

Wheeler Mountain Trail

Burke Red and West Peak Trails

Burke Summit and Profile Trails

Haystack Mountain North and South

Moose Bog

July 6-10

Bald Mad Brook

Bald Long Pond

Bald Telegraph

Pisgah North (tbd)

Pisgah South (tbd)

A NW Crew will also be spending two weeks in the area of the Mt Hor North Trail, completing general maintenance and replacing two broken bridges. If time allows, I will see if they can replace the bridge span on the Mt Hor ridgeline leading to the Willoughby lookouts. This structure is over 10 years

old and needs to be replaced soon.​

FPR has still not received authorization to hire seasonal employees, so we are currently short staffed with no Seasonal Trail Coordinator or State Trail Crew. When/if we get permission to hire a skeleton (2-person) State Trail Crew, it is scheduled to complete 4 weeks of additional roving throughout the NEK District (with emphasis on State Parks trails and Groton State Forest). It is also scheduled to do 3 weeks of work on the Mt Pisgah Trail, where I hope the crew and do some substantial maintenance and restoration of waterbars, retainers, ditching and other heavily impacted areas. This is all TBD based on Covid-19 limitations and approval from the Agency of Administration. We will not have a Seasonal Trail Coordinator this year.

Additional crew projects in the NEK include maintenance of the Brighton State Park ADA Trail and ADA-compliant trail/boardwalk construction in Victory, as well as ADA compliant access improvements at Kettle Pond in Groton.

Funding has been granted to GMC to patrol the Long Trail near/north of Jay Peak but the project dates are still TBD. (Keegan, if you have updates on this work, please be in touch.).

The next phase of Covid openings is our State Parks system and remote shelters, which are scheduled to officially open this Friday, June 26. We are working with GMC and USFS to develop signage for remote shelters, and I will be visiting sites in the NEK over the next few weeks to post this and other, general shelter use information.

I want to thank John, Kevin, Keegan and Lorne for your help coordinating GMC volunteers and Dusty and the NorthWoods staff for being creative and flexible with your crew operations during this challenging time this spring/early summer. From your direct communication, trail reports, Facebook posts, and hard work, we have been able to tackle a lot of ‘pre-season’ trail maintenance under difficult conditions. While I look forward to resuming conversations about future trail projects, additional shelter and trail adopters, and further build-out of the KHT and overnight sites, I am appreciative that we are, at this time, able to address the core needs of our public recreation and conservation mission in

the NEK District.

Thanks for all of your good work!

Aside from Luke’s report, Angela mentioned there is a major blow down adjacent to one of the Mount Hoar trails.

Membership – There have been membership drops. Ed commented that due to COVID some members may be out of work. He is retaining (for now) members who are currently active. John inquired about members who have not rejoined. He is interested in growing the group’s membership and inquired about dues’ forbearance. Cathi Brooks suggested a one-time one- year free option. John also inquired about courtesy members. Paul Trojano suggested digital communications but otherwise that participation/recruitment are very much one-on-one tasks. Ed agreed. John stated that is where group outings really help. Cathi also suggested communicating with individual members via Facebook messaging. Paul recommended a template that starts off with an acknowledgement for past support. Ed and John will work together. Ed will obtain an updated membership list from Main Club. John indicated there should be benefits to Club membership and therefore communication is important.

Local Group Coordination & Partnerships- John is interested in working with similarly focused local conservation organizations, including NorthWoods Stewardship Center. Based on this goal, John met with NorthWoods’ staff leadership and submitted this report:

Dusty May, Conservative Corp. Director at Northwoods Stewardship Center

Westmore Challenge – is on (I forget the date? Should we volunteer to help?)

KHT Ramble Aug 29th – This will be an event (run) from Lewis Pond to Island Pond (should we volunteer to set up food or water stations?)

Workshops for trail maintenance – Dusty said Northwoods could provide workshops for building water bars, using chainsaws, etc.

A trail maintenance day – A day where GMC and Northwoods got together to work on a section of trail.

Trail connection from Lewis to Wheeler – He mentioned the thru trail from Bald to Island Pond, over Jobs. He said there are 3 landowners we would need to work with, and Island Pond.

Island Pond Trailhead parking – Michael Strait said Island Pond was going to enlarge this trailhead parking area this year and put up a kiosk.

Mad Brook – Northwoods just helped install a new kiosk and signage for the trail.

Maria Young, Executive Director of Northwoods Stewardship Center

I met with Maria from Northwoods today. She would really like to get our two groups together on some projects. She also talked about the KHT Ramble and the Westmore Challenge. She said the Westmore Challenge is definite and may be able to use some volunteers. She has the permits for the KHT Ramble, but isn’t sure about going forward? She said there is some logistics for getting hikers to the trailhead that may keep it from happening. She would like to do some trail work with our group and also can offer some trail maintenance classes if we are interested. One more fun thing, NorthWoods has a Kingdom Peak Challenge that includes 19 peaks and they are looking for a 20th peak. She asked us for ideas and I said I would bring it up at the meeting

Camps – Paul Trojan reports Hadsel Mares is renting again. He will be visiting Wheeler this week. As the camp was closed for several months, there is a fair supply of firewood. In the fall, the annual wood allotment will be delivered. It will probably not be feasible to move the wood in its entirety. Kevin inquired on the pumping of the privy. Apparently, it was pumped late last fall. A gift of a glider was made to the camps. It was used to repair the gate. Ultimately, a new gate may be needed. There is no final decision yet on a possible sale of the Unknow Pond Camp. Cathi will inquire of Molly (the Main Club’s Conservation staffer) regarding the status of Unknow Pond Camps. The Camps’ Committee last met May 11th, Cathi will print out the minutes.

Trail & Adopter Issues – Moose Bog Trail and the entirety of Bluff Ridge need adopters. Kevin does not know the status of the trails in the Bill Sladek Wildlife Management Area. He also mentioned the trial in Cow Mountain Pond area. Kevin indicated he would also be willing to adopt part of Bluff if a satisfactory replacement for his current assignment is found. Cathi is extending her trail maintenance responsibilities. With respect to the NorthWoods 19 Challenge, Kevin suggested adding Crown Mountain, Big Rock or Devil’s Hill in Groton to increase the number of peaks from 19 to 20. The main summit of Middle Mountain is not listed. Regarding the Mount Monadnock Trail individuals are hiking the mountain even though the parking lot is closed. John heard that FPR may pay the owner’s fine. But, nothing is definite. Kevin reports that the situation at the trailhead is confusing at present.

Sue Winsor reports that Jeff took a stumble on his LT hike and that the hike has consequently been postphoned.

Contest – John reviewed ides that have been suggested for possible items publicizing the section through personal gear (such as a tee shirt).

Kevin inquired if the NEKGMC could use logos from Main Club, which John believes we can,

John compiled the following suggestions:

Ami English

suggested a trail map on a tee shirt.

Bart Selle

You asked for ideas for Section Logo Gear: One option I would buy is a green shirt with a small (about 3”) GMC logo & Northeast Kingdom under it.

Ryan Baxter

Ex long trail patrol member and professional trail worker living in Lunenburg. I think some NEK specific gear is a great idea. I have seen some shirts from the Adirondack Mountain Club that incorporate landscapes into the image of animals or other symbols and know they have been really popular. This is a rough sketch I think could be nice for the NEK. The left antler is based on Wheeler and the right is Maidstone.

Susan Winsor

I really think we should go through all our fantastic photos and make cards to sell. Spring flowers could be one theme, but like the idea of maybe some of our views (Pisgah’s view of Willoughby, a nice trail view, . . . there are so many!) I purchased card from GMC with Mansfield, Camels Hump and Jay – eight cards for $6 on sale, but normally $12. I think they were more expensive because of the photographer – well, we could save right there because we have photographers!

Future Plans- There will need to be a Wheeler wood stacking day in conjunction with the fall meeting Ed recommended Saturday October 3rd. for the quarterly meeting at Wheeler. There may be a workday with NorthWoods in September. John will inquire on the date of the Westmore Challenge.

Adjournment – Motion [Cathi Brooks/Paul Trojano] to adjourn at approximately 2: 25 PM

Approved Unanimously

2020 Annual Meeting

Virtual Meeting via Zoom

April 4, 2020

Welcome & Call to Order: – NEKGMC President Cathi Brooks called the meeting to order at 1:00 P.M. She thanked everyone for attending online (This first-ever NEKGMC virtual meeting via Zoom was convened in this format due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting gubernatorial stay-at-home-order). Cathi urged everyone to get outside. She commented that NEK GMC Membership Coordinator, Ed Guest, has been great, sending out updates from the Main Club.

Secretary’s Minutes’ – NEKGMC Secretary, Michael Chernick, reviewed the minutes of the January 26, 2020 Quarterly Meeting

Motion [Ed O’Leary/Paul Trojan] To accept the minutes of the January 26, 2020 Quarterly Meeting’

Approved Unanimously

Treasurer’s Report – NEK GMC Treasurer, Angela Smith, presented the current Treasurer’s Report as follows:

Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club

Quarterly Financial Statement

As of April 4, 2020

Operating Account

Beginning Balance (as of 01/21/2020) $2,790.63

Income

Dues Sharing

December $206.25

Loon Talk Series Donations $135.00

Expenses

Kevin Williamson – Gift Card for Lenny T. $100.00

Ending Balance $3,031.88

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Certificate of Deposit

CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2021 @.40% $1,577.57

CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2020 @.40% $1,738.76

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Grand Total All Monies $6,348.21

Angela Smith – Treasurer

Lenny Expression Appreciation – Cathi Brooks reported that Lenny Targonski expressed his thanks to everyone for the much appreciated Farmway Gift Certificate.. He welcomes the section to meet at his his camp for future meeting. Cathi reported that Lenny drove back to Holland to retrieve the card, once he realized it contained the gift certificate.

Main Club Report – Cathi Brooks attended the March Main Club Quarterly Board Meeting. GMC President, Tom Candon, who participated in the NEKGMC Annual Meeting offered additional comments during Cathi’s report. The Main Club’s budget was approved at the meeting. But (in light of the COVID-19 pandemic) the budget may require subsequent amendment. At the time of the budget’s adoption, the Main Club’s finances were in good shape. The Capital Campaign continues, having now raised $1.4 million in donations and pledges as the major donor phase continues. Membership has increase (over 9500 total). Tom, spoke of his fond memory of attending the Kingdom Heritage Trail dedication day on June 22, 2019. He reflected that Jean Haigh was a real inspiration. Cathi, thanked Main Club Executive Director Mike DeBonis and his staff for doing a great job, trying to protect staff and the now closed Long Trail (LT),, during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a real concern that so many persons were hiking the LT (since the stay-at-home order was adopted and the LT is now closed, as is the Visitors Center in Waterbury. Tom stated that he appreciated participating in the NEKGMC Annual Meeting and regretted the circumstances prevented him from attending in person. Cathi made a particular point that Main Club was really humming along, including that the summer staff has been hired. The staff is keeping up with the budget and trying to decide about the summer. On the financial front, the Main Club’s unrestricted donations have increased.

Turning monetarily to an NEKGMC matter, Cathi indicated that the planned Wilderness First Aid and Compass Navigation classes are postponed and hopefully will be rescheduled for June.

Returning to Main Club topics, Cathi explained that hopefully at that time, the summer crews will be able to proceed. In the meantime, the Main Club is doing what it can. The new membership staffer, Rick Dugan, is knowledge about databases and is an experienced hiker.. The decline in (annual) donations from Capital Campaign contributors is not as big as had been expected. There are plans to improve the road sign at the Main Club’s entrance. Also, an effort has begun to improve the Main Club’s vehicle fleet. An AmeriCorps volunteer from the Nature Conservancy is working on the GMC dataset.

A new Walker’s Guide is being issued and both Kevin Williamson, especially and Cathi contributed to the NEK section of the publication. Turning to the Camps’ Committee, Tom Candon has appointed NEKGMC member and Main Club Board Secretary, Ed O’Leary, to succeed Jean Haigh as the committee’s chair. All camps are shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, prior to the closings, Hadsel Mares had achieved a71 percent occupancy rate. When the acceptance of reservations for Bolton and Bryant camps resume, they will first be opened to GMC members. Cathi noted that the Camps Committee will be considering the future of the Headwaters Camp.

Extensive work is planned this summer on the northern third of the LT. Sterling College is collaborating with GMC on an inclusion-diversity project. The Bromley Tower project is ready for Act 250 review Sterling Pond work will continue this summer. Despite the prospect of an alternative purchaser, efforts are continuing to acquire a parcel in Johnson. Social media subscribers to Main Club sites (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) have risen. New multi-topic GMC blog have been created. There is money in the budget for new improvements at Visitors Center. NEKGMC hosted a Taylor Series presentation on Loons at Sterling College. It was a great event at which $135.00 was raised for the section. Cathi thanked those who helped, including Karen Ash, who baked refreshments. Main Club is now working with several schools, including Woodstock Union High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, the Green Mountain Technical Education Center, and Winooski High School on various experiential educational projects. There was discussion of the NEKGMC establishing a local educational connection. Ami English mentioned that her local high school requires 80 hours of community service as a graduation requirement. Tom Candon suggested checking with Marge Fish, who has a long-standing collaboration with Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester.

Newsletter – NEKGMC Newsletter (Ramblings) Editor, Ed Guest, thanked Janet Stinert for her proof reading. Ed reported that a better format has now been developed. The new issue focuses on the trails at Cow Mountain Pond, including articles that Bruce Berryman wrote. An entire page is devoted to the Northeast Kingdom Snowshoe Expeditionary Force. Beyond this content, there are lots of nice pictures. Ed thanked everyone who contributed photos. Janet commented on the issue’s layout and its professional look. Cathi thanked Ed for all his extra help.

Election of 2020-2021 NEKGMC Officers – Cathi reviewed the proposed slate for the coming year. It includes:

President- John Predom

Vice President –Paul Trojano

Treasurer – Angela Smith

Secretary- Michael Chernick

Representative to the Main Club – Ed O’ Leary

An e-mail was sent to the entire NEKGMC membership soliciting alternative nominations and none were received.

Motion [Ed Guest/Ed O’ Leary] that the proposed slate be approved by acclamation (a single vote)

Approved unanimously

Cathi thanked John Predom for assuming the NEKGMC presidency and offer her assistance. John acknowledged Cathi’s service to the section.

Wilderness First Aid & Compass Navigation Class – As Cathi mentioned in her Main Club Report, Andrea, who teaches the courses, explained they might be offered in June. However, even then social distancing will be observed.

Wheeler Pond Update – Paul Trojano reported bids are planned to be solicited for site work at the planned parking lot. There is one pile of wood left to be sacked. When the camp reopens, the wood will be stacked. Paul hopes to check on the Wheeler property when he next returns from Massachusetts. In the interim, Ami English, who lives near Wheeler, will check on conditions at the site. Paul mentioned the issue of removing ash at the site. John Predom inquired regarding Vermont Huts Association relationship, mentioning its director has tons of energy. There was no update at this time.

Jean Haigh Memorial – Ideas were suggested as a fitting memorial to honor and remember Jean Haigh. Naming the new camp at Wheeler for Jean was suggested. It was stated that whatever we do should focus on one project that we can maximize. Cathi indicated that perhaps the section could conduct a work day, later in the spring, as the Main Club’s 2020 Annual Meeting will probably not occur. The 2021 GMC Annual Meeting will probably be rescheduled for Sterling College. Cathi will reach out to Sterling College for help with Wheeler, once everything is again open. Ed O’Leary stated that the Main Club wants to recognize Jean. If we come up with proposal, he believes, it will be Main Club endorsed. He suggested naming the new Beaver Dam Camp in memory of Jean. Ed Guest also liked the permanency of the idea. Angela thought it would be a nice place to gather for anniversary events honoring Jean. John also concurred on both points. Cathi asked Tom if Beaver Dam funding was planned for 2021, and he replied affirmatively. Cathi further stated that we need to work in coordination with the Main Club. Ed O’ Leary offered that it was appropriate for the Camps Committee to make a recommendation to the Main Club and for the NEKGMC, in turn, to make a recommendation to the Camps Committee.

MOTION [Michael Chernick/Ed O’Leary] That the NEKGMC recommend to the GMC Camps Committee that the new Beaver Dam Camp be named in honor of Jean Haigh.

Approved unanimously

Paul Trojan offered a series of alliterative names as possibilities, such as Haigh’s Haven or Haigh’s Highway.. He suggested a list of 3 names be offered to the NEKGMC membership for its consideration and approval. Ed O’ Leary thought this was a great idea. After further discussion, it was decided a poll would be sent to the membership via an Ed Guest e-mail. Luke O’Brien reminded everyone of the need for Main Club approval. Ed’ O Leary reiterated that if the NEKGMC submitted a recommendation he was confident of its acceptance.

Winter Trails Day – John conducted a snow shoe event at the Main Club’s Winter Trails Day, held at the GMC’s Waterbury campus on March 7. He led a group, including at least one child under 10, in an outing to create the GMC logo in the snow. There was a good turnout, and the crowd enjoyed the food offerings, Burlington Beer and a bonfire.

Forest, Parks, and Recreation – NEK Updates- Luke O’Brien, who is an FPR recreation specialist, opened his comments staying he was glad this virtual NEKGMC Annual Meeting was occurring. In terms of Willoughby State Forest, things are up in the air. The south end project is in its final design stage. It would create a parking area near the existing one. FPR is working on various roadside permit issues. There would also be an overflow parking area. This would require a curb cut permit and changing the speed on Route 5A. But, for now, things are on hold. FPR plans to use what money it has, as those funds expire this fiscal year. Parking at the Pisgah trailhead may be improved. But, there are complicating factors, beyond FPR’s jurisdiction, so it may or may not happen. From annual Trail Fund expenditures, work will be done on structural trail rehabilitation work on Mt. Pisgah, the Victory boardwalk project will go forward, and the broken bridges on the backside Mt Hoar and at Wheeler Pond will be fixed. An exception to the no field work during the Governor’s stay-at-home order has been granted for the placement of mud season signs at trailheads. Luke reminded everyone that the LT, AT, the VAST Trail System, and the Kingdom Trails are all closed. Otherwise, the Governor is trying to keep State Lands open. The trail finder tool on the FPR website is now regularly updated. But all trail work is suspended. Kevin Williamson inquired on the status of the Mount Monadnock Trail. The owner of the private parking lot at the trailhead has closed it. Luke indicated he has not heard anything on that topic. Signs reminding the public of COVID-19 best practices, advising everyone to recreate closer to home are also being placed at trailheads. In response to a question from Tom, Luke described the mud season sign’s contents and noted the use of a piece of GMC artwork. He also stated the LT signs state closure and the others signs are advisory. Cathi thanked Luke for the update. She mentioned that a recent FPR newsletter included a wonderful article on Perry Holbrook State Park. Luke offered two comments on Perry Holbrook:. first, that the winter parking lot arrangement seems to have worked (notwithstanding the disgruntled individual who left the NEKGMC hike on New Year’s Day); and secondly, there will be an effort to improve and widen the narrow trail segment in order to make it a little less treacherous.

Trail Adopters – Kevin Williamson repeated that trail maintenance is on hold till at least the end of April. Time will tell for how long the closure will last. Kevin is still waiting to hear from Loren. Other than the new Kingdom Heritage (KH) Trail, the current situation looks good. Cathi suggested a group workday (date to be determined on trail work again being permitted). Ami English mentioned there are lots of blowdowns on Bluff justifying a group work day. Cathi stated that a NorthWoods Stewardship Center (NWSC) crew will conduct some trail work on Bluff. Luke confirmed that he has arranged for 6-7 days on the KH Trail once field work is approved. If anyone is interested, Kevin can discuss a possible assignment. If Kevin has more information, he will post it on Facebook. Luke requested that Kevin e-mail him a list of the current trail adopters.

Miscellaneous Items – Cathi commented it would be nice if a section hike were held on the KH Trail on June 22, which will be the first anniversary of the trail’s dedication. Kevin reported that he hiked at West Mountain and there are now No Trespassing signs posted on the mountain.

Next Meeting – Hopefully the next (July) NEKGMC Quarterly meeting will be in person and not virtual. After discussion, the tentative date of Sunday July 26 at Wheeler Pond Camp was agreed upon. Ed Guest will e-mail Molly at Main Club requesting if the date can remain open, once the GMC resumes taking reservations.

Adjournment – The meeting was concluded on the unanimous approval of an adjournment motion at 2:15 P.M.

Submitted by,

Michael Chernick

NEKGMC Secretary

Link to Past Minutes