Northeast Kingdom Section – Green Mountain Club
2023 Annual Meeting, March 26, 2023
Burke Mountain Clubhouse, East Burke, Vermont
Welcome & Called to Order – NEKGMC President, John Predom, welcomed everyone to the 2023 NEKGMC Annual Meeting at 1:05 P.M. John reported on his third year as NEKGMC President, a role he initially assumed at Jean Haigh’s request. Jean was concerned the section would fragment after her passing. This happily has not occurred. He spoke of starting during the pandemic and following COVID-19 guidelines. John had intended to relinquish this role in 2023 but has decided to continue (applause). The challenge to find hike leaders remains. John mentioned incentives to attract hike leaders. He has only 4 to 6 persons who consistently lead hikes. The only requirement to be a hike leader is GMC membership. Incentives are offered for consistent hike leaders such as payment for wilderness first aid. John mused on the thought of a dozen leaders per quarter. On a different topic, he noticed that membership forms must be in writing per the bylaws. As the matter had not been warned, it will be addressed at the Summer quarterly meeting in July.
Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary, Michael Chernick, reviewed highlights from the January 2023 quarterly meeting held at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charlestown.
Motion to Approve the Minutes – [Brooks /Commons] Approved unanimously
Treasurer’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer, Angela Smith, submitted the following quarterly report on the section’s finances:
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of March 25, 2023
Beginning Balance (as of 01/14/23)
Nov (01/24/23) $120.00
(posted 01/25/23) $266.25
January (posted 03/05/23) $51.25
Cathi Brooks (Shirt Shipping) $82.06
Kingdom Embroidery (Deposit on T-shirts) $186.00
Kingdom Embroidery (Remainder on T-shirts) $186.00
Burke Mountain Clubhouse (Donation) $25.00
Certificate of Deposit
….4489/Matures 01/12/2024 @.40% $1,595.24
….3785/Matures 06/27/2023 @.40% $1,755.87
Grand Total All Monies
Angela Smith ~ Treasurer
The section accepted the report as received
Main Club Director’s Report – NEKGMC Main Board Member, Cathi Brooks, reported on the March Main Club Board meeting. The GMC is granting an honorary life membership to XXXX. Someone will substitute for Cathi at the June Main Club Board Meeting as she will be attending a family wedding in Virginia. Long Trail Day will be Aug 19. NEKGMC Executive Director, Mike DeBonis, will take a sabbatical following the 2023 Annual Meeting in June and through the summer. Deputy Director, Alicia Di Coco, will serve this role in Mike’s absence. Mike testified to House Commerce Committee, in the General Assembly, in favor of VHCB funding and other outdoor recreation legislation. A full field season is planned, including construction of the Bromley Tower, the Herrick Building’s reconstruction, and the Jean Haigh Cabin (already under construction). There will be contractor support (already signed) for the timber framing of the Herrick Building. Last year, the field season focused on the multi-organizational reconstruction of the Burrows Trail on Camel’s Hump. This project will continue through next summer (2024). There will be three trail crews
this season and crew members’ base rate will be $15.00 per hour. Funding for Herrick and the Jean Haigh Cabin is from Capital Campaign proceeds and separate fundraising occurred for the BromleyTower. Membership numbers have fallen, and the Main Club hopes to revive them. But contribution numbers are up. A GMC bequest challenge has been started with two anonymous donors providing base funding. Main Club finances are strong. There is an operating deficit that GMC is working to alleviate. The Club is also looking to hire a new manager for the Visitors’ Center.
In 2024, there will be a new edition of the publication 50 Hikes in Vermont. Unfortunately, due to the current lack of public access, the Mount Monadnock article will probably be removed from the book. The Main Club has implemented a new digital geo-system for trails management. The GMC is still looking for volunteers for the Volunteer LT Patrol. This will consist of seven weeks of trail hardening on a designated section of the LT. GMC will be offering, through a private contractor, a chain saw class. Sections were encouraged to support enrollees with tuition grants. The class will take place April 14-16. The 10 class slots will cost in excess of $5,000 (in total). Lorne Currier at Main Club is the coordinator. The class will occur on GMC land in Johnson. NEKGMC Section member, Victor Caamano, may be interested and will contact the Main Club. There will also be cross-cut training in June, but priority for that class will be given to sections with wilderness areas (not NEK). Lot 49 at Wheeler Pond Camp (the parking lot across the road) is completed. The loft space at Hadsel will no longer be a permitted sleeping area due to safety reasons. Various repairs have been completed at Hadsel. The Judevine track has been transferred to the State. There are approximately 6 miles of LT still requiring protection. The connection to North Country Trail (an east-west National Scenic Trail extending from Vermont to North Dakota) has been approved. The final eastern end of North Country Trail will be at Maine Junction. There will be updating on management planning aspects of this project. Lastly, the FY 2024 (starts May 1, 2023) Main Club Budget was approved.
NEKGMC Officer Elections -The following slate of officers for the 2023-2024 year was proposed:
President – John Predom (1 year)
Vice President – Paul Trojano (1 year)
Secretary – Michael Chernick (1 year)
Treasurer – Angela Smith (1 year)
Rep to Main Board Cathi Brooks (3 years)
No other nominations were offered
Motion to direct the NEKGMC Secretary to cast a single ballot for all four elected officers- [Barnes/Caamamo], Approved Unanimously
Appointment of NEKGMC Section Archivist, Andrea Kane to the NEKGMC Executive Committee
Motion to direct the NEKGMC President to appoint the NEKGMC Archivist, Andrea Kane, to the Executive Committee [Barnes/Caamamo], Approved unanimously
Membership Coordinator Vacancy – Beth Barnes is stepping down as NEKGMC Membership Coordinator/Newsletter editor as she will be busily engaged in her duties as mayor of Newport. The opening is posted. Beth will remain in these roles till a successor is appointed. The posts could be split but usually have been unified.
KHT Corridor Management Agreement – The agreement designating the GMC as the organizational manager for hiking trails on the Kingdom Heritage Lands expires in the near future and will be up for renewal. John Predom is interested in modifications to the plan regarding Unknown Pond (remove) and Black Mountain (added). V The idea of designating NorthWoods Stewardship Center as a co-manager will be discussed.
Wilderness First Aid Renewals – Section hike leaders (Susan Winsor/Cathi Brooks) Wilderness First Aid certification is expiring. The NEKGMC will cover the cost for renewals via attendance at a class that Andrea Kane (a qualified instructor) will offer.
Trail Work Day – Tentatively set for Sunday June 4. Exact location is to be determined. Kevin would prefer a new location. Kevin suggested Unknown Pond (South side of Middle Mountain).
Brighton Trail Day (June 24 tentative). Sue Winsor will work with someone from the Town of Island Pond on the necessary arrangements and the permitting process. After discussions, it has been decided toretain this event in Brighton.
Section Workings Group and Membership – Beth Barnes reports the exact number of members is uncertain. Rick Dugan, the Main Club Membership Coordinator, is responsible for this data. Beth is assuming 300 members, based the knowledge that four new members have joined. On March 29 there is an NVU-Lyndon Health Fair. Beth discussed a joint event with the Northern Frontier Section at the Jay Recreation site off River Road. But on further discussion that site was determined to be too small. The section discussed August 5 or September 9 as possible dates for this event. Beth will contact Ken Whitehead (President Northern Frontier). She is considering a Newport hiking event at a later date. The idea of a bike ride across the border via the Beebe Spur Trail was proposed. The date of the next section working group is undetermined.
Camps Committee – Paul Trojano, Chair of the Main Club’s Camps Committee, indicated that volunteers will be welcomed (on set dates) to participate in the raising of the walls of Jean’s Cabin. The parking lot across the street has been expanded. There will be a new woodshed near the Jean Haig Cabin. Paul emphasized that there is a need to keep 10 chords of wood at Wheeler on a continuing basis. In the fall, there will be a wood stacking event. Paul will be visiting the site on 3/27.
Trails Management Committee (Main Club) Cathi Brooks – The LT Management Plan is being revised. One issue is that hikers have been staying overnight for multiple nights. The issue of vandalism and hate speech has arisen, a more effective policy is needed. An update on the Leave No Trace policy and the associated issue of waste disposal is also required. Another topic is the policy on tree removal. Only qualified persons should be determining if tree should be removed. There was not any discussion at the most recent TC Meeting regarding the primitive camp sites on the KHT. This is a topic that John Predom wants to move forward. John mentioned new Pisgah signs are coming. The Caretaker fees at GMC shelters are being eliminated. The idea is to eliminate the caretakers handling cash. Alternative revenue sources will account for this loss of income.
Section Volunteer Appreciation Date – The idea of staging this event in April is off. It will be rescheduled for the fall. There remains no indication that Main Club will reestablish a Volunteer Appreciation Day. Therefore, proceeding forward with a section event is warranted.
Volunteers to Lead Hikes – John Predom again stressed his desire to find creative ways to entice new hike leaders.
GMC Annual Meeting – June 17 at Craftsbury Outdoor Center
Bylaw Update– Michael Chernick will send out proposed language to address updating the Section Bylaws relative to the written application required for GMC membership.
GMC Summer Quarterly Meeting – July 9-Lenny’s Camp Holland Vermont. Details to follow
Kevin suggested a group trail even at John’s Trail or Cow Mountain. (see above)
Agreement on adjournment at 2:46
Submitted by Michael Jay Chernick – NEKGMC Secretary
Winter Quarterly Meeting
January 22, 2023, NorthWoods Stewardship Center- East Charlestown, Vermont
Call to Order – NEK GMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:10 P.M., thanking the volunteers. He spoke of volunteering as a hike leader and referencing the GMC “Hike Leaders’ Guide.” John emphasized that a trip need not be in the NEK. Kevin Williamson noted a trip is not limited to hiking (mentioning cross country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, and biking). Cathi Brooks mentioned the availability of taking a first aid course with Andrea Kane, with section subsidization.
Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick highlighted the minutes of the October 1, 2022 fall quarterly meeting.
MOTION [Brooks/Barmes] moved to approve the secretary’s minutes as submitted.
Treasurer’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith submitted the following report, which Michael Chernick summarized in Angela’s absence.
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of January 14, 2023
Beginning Balance (as of 09/30/22) $5,136.72
July (posted 10/18/22) $161.25
August (posted 10/20/22) $173.75
September (posted 11/15/22) $111.25
October (posted 11/15/22) $183.75
Local Donut LLC $124.00
Cathi Brooks (Deposit on T-shirts) $305.00
John Predom (Coffee) $26.50
Kingdom Embroidery (Remainder on T-shirts) $305.00
Ending Balance $5,006.22
Certificate of Deposit
CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2023 @.40% $1,593.99
CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2023 @.40% $1,755.16
Grand Total All Monies $8,355.37
Angela Smith ~ Treasurer
Beth Barnes inquired on the mechanics of dues sharing and a short discussion on the reports from Main Club ensued.
Director’s Report – NEKGMC Director Cathi Brooks reported on the most recent Main Club Board meeting, conducted via Zoom. The Club continues to follow any State COVID guidelines. A new 5-year strategic plan is in development. The GMC’s auditing firm recently issued a clean audit. Finances are looking good. The Club’s revenue is tracking above the 2022 level compared to this point last year. The Club continues to offer supportive activities for Ridgeline Society members. The Capital Campaign’s goal of $4,000,000.00 was achieved. The Herrick Building reconstruction project at Waterbury headquarters will start during 2023. Despite challenges of inflation and supplies, the original Herrick Building budget remains as the Board adopted. Construction on the new Wheeler Pond Camp continues, as well as renovations on Hadsel Mares. Northern LT construction continues as part of a five-year effort to bring conditions on this segment of the trail to the level of the federally protected segment to the south. The 2022 field season was extremely busy catching up on the COVID related backlog. Finding crew leaders was challenging, but ultimately successful. The GMC closed on the Judevine parcel and transferred 1.25 acres of the LT to state, with the Club’s retention of a trail easement. The GMC and the Watermaan Fund held an outdoor stewardship session on Mt Mansfield.
An extensive membership survey was recently completed, and Cathi Brooks distributed a copy for viewing. According to the survey, the Club’s membership is becoming older. Key topics on members’ perspective on participation in GMC activities were surveyed. For example, 92 percent of survey respondents thought the LT was important. One interesting point, some members did not find section membership was important.
Cathi Brooks reported a much-needed new road sign is being installed at the car entrance to the Waterbury headquarters on Route 100.
Closer to home, she reaffirmed the new camp at Wheeler Pond will be named in Jean’s honor. Six new parking spaces are being constructed across the road from the camps.
This past summer’s LT Day, Club-wide, raised over $49,000. The NEKGMC again was the most successful LT Day fundraiser. This year the LT Day is scheduled for Aug 19. The Burrows Trail reconstruction project on Camel’s Hump continues this summer as a cooperative effort of several trail-focused organizations. The 2022 effort resulted in extensive trail improvements with more planned for 2023.
Appointment of Outings Coordinator – Susan Winsor has volunteered to serve as the NEKGMC’s Outing’s Coordinator. John Predom listed recent section trips. He reminded everyone that leaders have discretion to determine whether a participant is equipped and able to participate in a hike. He also asked for volunteers and stressed the option of S.L.O.T.H. (Sauntering Ladies on Therapeutic Hikes) (less stressful) events.
NorthWoods Stewardship Center (NWSC) – NorthWoods Executive Director Maria Young, today’s meeting host, thanked everyone for supporting the organization, which was established in 1989. NWSC has approximately 15 full-time staff and expands to over 100 in the summer, including youth crews. The organization hosts school groups, a summer camp, and is looking to leverage conservation experience from youth and adults. She commented the NWSC experience for young people is very meaningful. NWSC is committed to fostering the next generation of conservation and stewardship leadership.
The NWSC headquarters site in East Charleston encompasses 1500 acres, including forestry demonstration projects. NWSC seeks to eliminate economic and social justice barriers to participation, in its activities. The new conservation barn recently opened. Looking ahead, the organization will continue to invest in trails. A new main lodge entrance and bringing the lodge into ADA compliance is planned. Linked to the ADA proposal is a plan for an all-person trail. The Camel’s Hump collaboration with GMC (Burrows Trail) continues. The NWSC also participates in the Kingdom Heritage Trail (KHT) Partnership hike.
This year, NWSC will partner with the White Mountain National Forest on the Franconia/Saco loops, as well work in the Green Mountain National Forest and at Cow Mountain Pond. There will be locally based crews, and their assignments will include work in the Nulhegan Refuge. NWSC has constructed many of the refuge’s boardwalks and has work on the Northern Canoe Trail. There was further discussion of camping sites that have involved NWSC ‘s construction participation. The second edition of the “Northeast Kingdom Mountain Trail Guide” has been issued under NWSC’s exclusive auspices.
NEKGMC has volunteered at the annual Westmore Challenge. Maria mentioned the NEK Challenge Facebook page. NWSC has now hired a full-time communications person. 2022 was the first offering of the Jean Haigh scholarship for the Westmore Challenge. Ami English was the 2022 recipient of this scholarship.
Maria Young stated there is not a formal NWSC volunteer program, nor is one immediate planned.
Forest, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) Update – FPR Recreation Specialist Luke O’Brien thanked everyone for helping to keep the trails’ program alive. FPR is now focused on state trails’ resources. He appreciated reports on trail problems posted on Facebook. Luke has just received news of projects to be funded in 2023, but there were not as many as he had hoped. Unfortunately, the financial request focused on staff and limits project opportunities. There is some funding for crew projects, including two weeks of NEK roving crews, supporting work on Bluff Ridge. The boardwalk at Brighton State Park will be replaced. There will be work on the Peacham Bog Trail and improved access for a fishing access.
There are new recommendations for limiting tower access for safety reasons, but miscellaneous safety repairs to multiple towers is planned. The roof on the Bald Tower has been replaced. To complete all the tower work initially proposed in the NEK would cost $2.8 million. This amount will be revised to below $2 million. Bald’s construction is based on the 1933 design and Monadnock’s and Burke’s were built on the 1937 design. Initially major revisions will be made at the Burke and Bear Mountain towers. Treads will be replaced on Bald’s tower. Luke is hoping the Bald tread project can be achieved through volunteer-community participation.
This past field season, Luke oversaw the renovation of seven lodging shelters, largely as a forestry staff project. He is trying to develop a funding source for trail work on Burke as well as the Long Pond Trail on Bald. Luke suggested a couple of trail maintenance outings with the NEKGMC. There will be a bunch of trail work at the south end of Lake Willoughby. CRAGVT (a rock climbing organization) will probably be granted corridor management status for rock climbing on Black Mountain. The KHT (formerly Champion) Corridor Management plan is up for overall review in two years. FPR is starting to think ahead on the specifics of the next corridor proposal. The Plan is scheduled for signing in 2025.
There is a growing awareness of human impact on wildlife, but Luke also pushes back a little bit in the belief that humans can be separated from nature. The key is finding the right balance. There might be a hard end goal on the number of trails, whether prospective or to stop at the current number. He is trying to remove all bias and determine the impact of all trails from a landscaping and site perspective.
Camps – Paul Trojano, the Main Club Camps Committee Chair (and the NEKGMC Vice President) reported, as had Cathi Brooks, on the Main Club Board’s approval, at its June 2022 Annual Meeting, of a motion to name the new Wheeler Pond Camp in Jean Haigh’s memory. But the specific name will be decided later this winter. Plywood stacking at Wheeler Pond has been completed. At the next Camps Committee meeting, he will advocate for expanding the existing Wheeler firewood storage area and to build a new one, after the new camp is completed. But, he will also suggest that the stored high-quality would be limited for heating (and not outside pit fires). Luke O’Brien suggested securing separate camp firewood for the outdoor pits. Renovations for repairing Hadsel Mares should be finished by Feb 1. The GMC, ideally, would modify the two camps to offer ADA compliant.
Luke commented on the need for a tenting site proposal on the KHT. One site is on Weyerhaeuser land another on Sweet Tree. Weyerhaeuser has a resource concern. Sweet Tree may be more willing, but the U.S. Forest Service holds an easement, which may prove problematic.
Trails – NEK Trails Adoption Coordinator Kevin Williamson reports, assuming all current adopters return this coming season, he is optimistic that nearly full coverage will be available. The only certain problem is the Wheeler Pond Trail. The meeting’s attendees discussed the crossing at Beaver Dam. In response to an inquiry, Kevin Williamson reviewed a listing of trail adopter duties. He stated he hopes to arrange a spring trail workday at Cow Mountain Pond. Maria Young mentioned that bringing out a group of young students to perform trail work requires adult supervision.
Membership – (John Predom reporting for NEKGMC Membership Coordinator Beth Barnes who needed to leave the meeting early). At present, the NEKGMC has 296 enrolled members. Beth is working with Discover Newport to list hiking as a local heritage activity. Jesse Holden is interested in an all-day KHT event in October. But this would cause a Moose season conflict. The members had questions on insurance coverage and other details. Permitting from GMC, the town, and FPR would be required.
NEK Appreciation Day – Cathi Brooks wishes to recognize a few section volunteers at an annual section event. The future of the Main Club’s Volunteer Appreciation Day is uncertain. She is working with Kingdom Embroidery in Lyndon to design a gift for the honorees. Luke would love to support a Volunteer Appreciation Day. The event could feature information on trail training activities. No budget for the event has been approved. It was mentioned that April is Nation Volunteer Month. The section decided on Sunday April 16, and a committee will be developed, including Andrea Kane and Luke O’Brien, to organize the event.
NEKGMC Membership Incentives – John Predom had posed the question whether after an individual has attended a set number of trips a membership would be required. Attempting to incentivize membership was discussed with different approaches. Maximizing membership promotion at more opportunities both in person and digital, such as at organized events or trailheads was discussed. In response to this challenge to increase the percentage of hike participants, who are section members, several persons offered written comments as follows:
Paul Trojano: I think if someone who wasn’t a member came on group hikes, a gentle prompting about membership will either coax them into joining or stop joining group hikes altogether. The macro concept to me, aside from all your poignant comments, is how to sustain our section both financially and with “young blood”.
Cathi Brooks: Very well said, I joined years ago when I was looking for people to hike with and loved the camaraderie I found also. I had supported AMC for several years, but switched after finding GMC. I have a good friend who does pamphlets for groups including Kingdom Trails. I also liked the idea of having contact info on maps.
Andrea Kane: There was a lot of exuberance around the topic of non-members going on hikes, and I never had a chance to finish my thought in the meeting today, so I want to be clear I initially joined the GMC out of obligation to support the trails financially, rather than a desire to hook up with hiking partners. Then I had young kids, and I started a GMC Young Adventurer’s Club for the Bread Loaf Section. Then I heard of an opening on the publications committee and that fit with the freelance writing I was doing at the time. Then we moved back to the NEK and Jean roped me in with her charm. (I believe her words to me were, “Why haven’t you joined the NEK Section yet?”) But the reason I stay involved to this day – and look forward to a long future with the section – is because of all of you. My point is that there are lots of reasons people get involved and stay involved, but whatever brings them to one of our events – be it a meeting, an Eat N Greet, or a hike, I don’t think it makes any sense to turn them away for not yet being members. Especially when the sense of camaraderie with the section is so strong. How could they resist your charms? WWJD? (What would Jean do?) I say we approach every interaction with the assumption they do want to get involved, then keep ’em coming, hope they have a fun and memorable time, get their email addresses, invite them to take a role with this or that (“Have you led a hike yet? Oh wait, are you a member yet?”) and if they still don’t join, let them know their dues are overdue. I don’t have everyone’s email who was at the meeting, but wanted to be sure at least you all knew what I meant.
Sue Winsor: Very well said …. I tend to agree. I lead hikes to get people the experience of hiking. I myself did not become a member until after numerous hikes. Promoting on the hikes is good and I do that. I wonder if a simple handout with levels of membership and some of benefits would be helpful.
Invitation to Jean Haigh Descendants – It was decided that the first stay at the new Wheeler Pond Camp should be offered to Jean Haigh’s family with recognition of Jean at a dedicatory event.
Taylor Series – A Zoom facilitated virtual Taylor event will be held on February 16 hosted by our section. The ‘American Alps’ in Washington’s Northern Cascades; Adam and Ruthie LaRoche of Franklin, Vermont, spent ten days in August hiking and backpacking in Washington State’s northernmost wilderness, the North Cascades. .
Next meeting – The next NEKGMC meeting (the Annual Meeting) will take place on Sunday March 26 at the Burke Mountain Club in East Burke, time and pre-meeting outing to be determined.
Adjournment– The meeting adjourned by mutual consent, without a motion, at 3:58 PM.
Fall Quarterly Meeting
October 1, 2022, Burke Mountain Clubhouse – East Burke, Vermont
Called to Order- NEK GMC President, John Predom, welcomed everyone (in person and online) and called the meeting to order at 4:08 P.M. The attendees introduced themselves including Geoff Commons, Jeff Morris, Ed Guest , Andrea Kane, Kevin Williamson, Sue Winsor, Gwyn Worthington, Beth Barnes, Paul Trojano, Cathi Brooks, John Predom, and Michael Chernick.
John spoke of his pride in the section’s accomplishments Several NEKGMC hikes occurred this past summer, as well as ad hoc events. Meet and Greets are continuing to succeed. The Long Trail Day was a success, both from a hiking and financial perspectives. John thanked both leaders and participants. Next hike is on October 15 after wood stacking
Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary, Michael Chernick, highlighted the minutes of the July 2022 summer quarterly meeting.
MOTION [Brooks/Barnes] moved to approve the secretary’s minutes as submitted.
Treasures’ Report – NEGKMC Treasurer, Angela Smith, submitted the following report, which Michael summarized in Angela’s absence:
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of September 30, 2022
Beginning Balance (as of 07/13/22) $5,625.65
Beth Barnes (Reimbursement) $15.18
Northwoods Stewardship Center $500.00
Burke Mountain Clubhouse $100.00
Ending Balance $5,136.72
**Main Club sent info for July $161.25 and Aug $173.75 but hasn’t been deposited yet into our
Certificate of Deposit
CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2023 @.40% $1,592.53
CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2023 @.40% $1,753.70
Grand Total All Monies $8,482.98
Angela Smith ~ Treasurer
GMC Board Report – NEKGM Main Club Board Director, Cathi Brooks reported on the September Board meeting. There was a slight surplus at the end of the FY 2022. The field season has been very busy. The Burrough’s Trail project continued, and staff salaries have been raised. The Club is receiving membership income at a slightly lower but acceptable level. The Capital Campaign ended with quite a bit of success. Right at end a million-dollar anonymous donation was received. Going forward the Club is set up very well financially. Endowments are down, as are stock funds generally. Staff cases of COVID still occur, but the Club has implemented a planned response. The process of collecting data to develop a new strategic plan is proceeding forward. Since the Capital Campaign concluded, members who had volunteered time on that effort are working on the strategic plan survey. The plan will set forth goals and policies for the next five years that take into account changing demographics and equity-diversity issues. After the last Board meeting an equity-diversity training session was held.
Among other items, the Club’s finances and related revenue receipts are tracking close to last year, noting the slight membership revenue shortfall. Handwritten thank you notes were sent regarding Capital Campaign participation, and Cathi thought this was a nice gesture, which is no longer typical.
An airlift was completed for construction at Stratton Pond. Major donors were invited to celebration dinner and a Long Trail Day Website was launched. A video on Burrough’s Trail restoration project being developed. Ridgeline Society contributors are being recognized, A 100th anniversary issue of the LTN will be published for winter 2023. New vehicles are being acquired for 2023. A new road sign on Route 100 will be installed shortly. A new edition of 50 Hikes in Vermont is forth coming.
The Visitors’ Center is now opened six days a week. July-Aug total sales (online/onsite) were $26,000 plus. Two months’ worth of AmeriCorps crew participated in the Burrough’s Trail reconstruction, along with other excellent crew members from various organizations. New privies were installed at several sites.
The construction of the long anticipated new camp at Wheeler Pond is stating this month (October 2022). The Main Club Board has voted to name the new camp in Jean Haigh’s memory.
The latest Hadsel Mares figure was 96 percent full (33 percent GMC members). Hadsel Mares is now closed until construction on the Jean Haigh Camp is completed. Hadsel Mares will house the construction crew.
There is a Land Conservation Committee working to secure land adjacent to the LT. Sterling Pond Shelter is not being named for Dave Hardy in deference to his widow’s request.
Cathi has received compliments on GMC activity in the NEK.
T-Shirts – Cathi reported that locally based Kingdom Embroidery was selected to produce the new tee shirts. We are getting the tri-blend version in blue and the performance shirts in a dark green. The productions cost per color is $25.00. There will probably be four colors per shirt. The tri-blend shirts will cost $13 a piece and the performance version $15.00 per shirt. They will be short sleeve (long sleeve could be ordered if the section desires) and both in male and female cuts will be available. There was discussion of the design. It will feature the GMC logo with “Northeast Kingdom” below. The squiggly trail line is removed (it was seen as a distraction), but the trail list remains. The organization of the list may need to be modified.
Membership – NEKGMC Membership Coordinator and Newsletter Editor, Beth Barnes, reported that the NEKGMC’s membership number is rising and now stands at 292 (Main Club staff thought “That is Great”) Beth’s goal is to raise it to 300 by the end of October. Beth is proud of this effort. That might be a newsletter notation Everyone is busy selling the idea of GMC. Congratulations to all. Everything went right on Long Trail Day for the NEK Section John welcomed everyone and the attendees introduced themselves.
Wheeler Camps – NEKGMC Vice President and GMC Camps’ Committee Chair, Paul Trojano, reported on the imminent commencement of the Jean Haigh Camp’s construction. Aa lean-to will be built on the lower level for wood storage and Paul assumes probably a second one on top level. With two camps, there will be need for a 10-cord capacity. On October 15th, a wood stacking session will occur bringing (hopefully) 5 cords from the upper to lower existing sheds. GMC Director of Field Operations, Keegan Tierney, is examining a new camp access pathway, other than the existing steep trail. Keegan still needs a carpenter for the Jean Haigh Camp construction project. Hadsel Mares, as mentioned above, is now closed till the end of the year. Paul indicated the more the better on the fifteenth, in terms of participation. John Predom will pay one-half the expense for fancy doughnut for the event.
Trails Adoption – NEKGMC Trails Coordinator, Kevin Williamson, reported that the Long Pond Trail on Bald Mountain, the East Trail on Mount Pisgah, and the accessible trail at Victory Basin require new adopters. FPR (Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation) Recreation Specialist Luke has a concern about a tree cutting situation in a sensitive area on the South Shore Trail at Lake Willoughby. The tree cutting should not have occurred without Luke’s review. It is a sensitive area as its adjacent to the shoreline of Lake Willoughby.
FPR Update – Luke submitted the following FPR update on trail construction and maintenance activities:
Spurred by the two-year pandemic, recreation use and visitation remained very high in 2022. Activities in the Northeast Kingdom (FPR District 5) were heavily focused on high use areas, as well as routine maintenance to keep trails, shelters, and parking areas in good condition. Work includes special ‘one-time’ capital projects, contracted trail crew and infrastructure projects, annual trail roving, and ‘spot’ maintenance projects to address ad hoc needs such as sign replacement, trail blazing, and shelter work. In addition, District staff have already begun prioritizing work for 2023 and beyond.
Below is a summary of work completed in FY2022:
□ Completed work on the Willoughby State Forest ‘Ballfield’ overflow parking area
□ Substantially completed the new 2-tier WSF South End parking area
□ Work is on-going to improve cartop boat access near the ‘East Cove’ at Lake Willoughby
□ Replaced the Bald Mountain fire tower roof and made minor repairs to sheet metal siding
□ Completed minor repairs and stained Bald Mountain summit cabin (NWSC)
□ Completed minor repairs, elevated & re-set footings, and stained Umpire lean-to on Golden Trail in Victory SF, Burroughs lean-to and Red Trail lean-to on CCC Fire Road in Darling SP, Peacham Pond lean-to in Groton SF, and Coldwater Brook Camp in Groton SF (FPR staff)
□ Completed Bald Mountain Mad Brook Trailhead parking area
□ Graded the CCC Road in Willoughby SF
□ Completed substantial road maintenance in Bill Sladyk WMA
Contracted Crew Projects
□ Completed 2 weeks of trail restoration on Willoughby Shore Trail (NWSC)
□ Completed 1 week of shore restoration at Willoughby South End (NWSC)
□ Completed 2 weeks of trail work on Peacham Bog Loop in Groton SF (NWSC)
□ Completed 2 weeks of trail work at Seyon Lodge SP in Groton SF (STC)
□ Installed new puncheon on lower Gore Mountain Trail (NWSC)
□ Unknown Pond Trail adjustments (NWSC)
Roved and maintained the following trails (roving is defined as clearing trail corridors, maintaining drainages and treadway, and repairing bridges, signs, and kiosks):
□ Groton SF Trails- Owls Head, Osmore Pond, Big Deer, Little Deer, Kettle Pond, Telephone Line, Coldwater Brook, Hosmer Brook, Peacham Pond, and Peacham Bog Loop trails (State Trail Crew)
□ Willoughby SF Trails- Pisgah North and South, Moose Mountain (roved and blazed), Burke Mountain, Moose Bog, Gore Mountain (NWSC, FPR staff)
□ Brighton SP trails (roved and blazed) (FPR staff)
□ South segment Bluff Ridge Trail (STC)
□ Bennet Road ROW to Darling SP (waterbars installed)(NWSC, FPR staff)
□ Signpost and sign installation at Groton SF, Moose Mountain, Brighton SP
□ Darling SP boundary blazing
□ Willoughby area risk management meeting with Glover Rescue
□ Continuous monitoring at South End Lake Willoughby
Upcoming (fall 2022)
□ Darling SP West Peak and Red Trail lean-to maintenance (STC, FPR staff)
□ Burke Mountain summit trail patrol (STC)
□ Burke Mountain (upper) Red Trail & West Peak Trail assessment (FPR)
□ Pisgah South Trail assessment (FPR)
□ Peacham Bog boardwalk assessment (FPR)
□ Devils Hill Trail maintenance (STC)
□ Holbrook SP roving (STC)
□ Darling SP boundary maintenance (FPR)
□ Willoughby SF boundary maintenance (FPR)
□ New trail signs and signposts at Willoughby SF CCC Camp S-55, Groton SF Osmore Pond area, and Seyon Lodge SP (STC, FPR staff)
2023 and beyond
□ Peacham Bog boardwalk replacement
□ Pisgah South Trail route adjustments
□ Burke Mountain Trails maintenance and adjustments
□ Groton multi-use trails maintenance upgrades
□ Shelter maintenance at GSF Peacham Pond lean-to, VSF Tug Hill lean-to, DSP West Peak lean-to
□ Black Mountain access management
I would like to acknowledge and thank the many Northeast Kingdom Green Mountain Club trail adopters for their good work and service and, particularly, Kevin Williamson and John Predom, for their leadership. Trail adopters provide a crucial service on FPR-managed lands by addressing routine maintenance and reporting incidents, conditions, and needs. Thank you!
Please note that FPR manages trails to meet appropriate trail guidelines and standards. This is an on-going and evolving process. If you have questions about your work or adopted trail, please reach out for guidance especially when it involves potentially substantial work or changes to trail conditions.
NorthWoods Stewardship Update – Maria Young of the NorthWoods Stewardship Center submitted the following NorthWoods update on trail construction and maintenance and related hiking activities:
From Maria Young, Excutive Director:
NEK Mountain Trail Guide Second Edition shared as a resource to the community and thanks to the volunteer efforts of Kevin Williamson to distribute those.
Ongoing partnership with the Westmore Association for Westmore area trail projects which supported work on the Westmore Town Forest trails and the Bald Mtn fire warden’s cabin upkeep this summer.
The completion of the 6th Annual Westmore Mountain Challenge, many thanks to the GMC NEK Club volunteers and trail adopters.
Partnership with GMC and VTFPR on the Burrows Trail of Camel’s Hump, underway now.
We awarded the First Jean Haigh Memorial Award for free entry into the Westmore Mountain Challenge, Ami English was the recipient.
We are happy to be able to be the venue for 2 map and compass workshops, and thank Gordon Dubois for sharing his expertise with the community, and the GMC NEK club for their donation which helps support venue costs.
We’ve also been sending out a number of NEK Mountain Challenge completion patches, and responding to a wide variety of questions that arise about trail etiquette, descriptions, access etc.
We have increased Kelsey Evan’s position from part time communications role to full time communications director. This is very important as it can take quite a bit of work to stay up on being proactive about sharing our work, public accessibility, and responding to community questions.
We are putting in quite a bit of work and $ on our own trail this fall to make some real upgrades around drainage, which will make a big difference come ski and snowshoe season this year out on the Hopkins Hill Trail. We are looking to establish a backcountry connector that would link the main lodge/campus to the trailheads on Echo Lake and Jordan Road.
Also, we are beginning a feasibility study of an ALL Persons Trail (ADA) at the NorthWoods campus.
We will reach out to GMC NEK Club members to join us to provide feedback as we consider that route.
From Dusty May, Conservation Corps Director:
BreadLoaf Wilderness/ Long Trail and Appalachian Trail – Green Mtn National Forest – Trail Maintenance and Restoration
Lye Brook Wilderness/ Long Trail – Green Mtn NF- Trail Maintenance and Restoration
Burrows Trail- Camels Hump State Forest- Trails Restoration and Stone structures
Gore Mtn- Trail Patrol and Bog Bridge Replacement
Unknown Pond Trail- Trail Patrol and Trail Adjustments
Middle Mtn Trail- Trail Patrol
Pisgah South and North- Trail Patrol
Burke Mtn Trails- Trail Patrol
Moose Bog Trail- Trail Patrol
Cow Mtn- Trail Patrol, Drainage Construction, Bog Bridge construction, and Signage
Bald Mtn Cabin Restoration- Including Privy maintenance, painting of cabin and roof repair
Assisted with Bald Mtn Fire tower roof Restoration
Bluff Community Trial – Trail Patrol
Westmore Town Forest- Trail Patrol
Bald Mtn Long Pond trail- Trail Patrol
Willoughby Shore Trail- Trail Restoration Projects
Groton State Forest- Peacham Bog Trail- Trail adjustments and Sustainable trail construction
Please thank everyone for their efforts this trail season for me. I look forward to our continued partnership with the GMC and hope to catch up over the winter.
History Project – Andrea will return to the project later this fall once her professional season duties are concluded.
Section Outings Chair – John has been filling both (Section President and Outings) roles and would like another person to fill this role. Susan Windsor is considering accepting the position. The membership in attendance encouraged her to consider it.
Next Meeting – Sunday January 22 (possibly at NorthWoods)
Adjournment – The fall quarterly meeting adjourned by a unanimously offered motion at approximately 5:10 P.M.
Michael Chernick, NEKGMC Section Secretary
Summer Quarterly Meeting
July 2022, Lenny’s Camp -Holland Pond, Vermont
Welcome – NEK GMC President, John Predom, called the meeting to order at 1:26 PM.
President’s Report – John Predom commented that we are heading into the heart of the hiking season and expressed appreciation for the fast response to trail clearing needs. This coming week, Paul Trojano and John Predom will be wood stacking at Wheeler Pond Camps. The Brighton Trail Day event was a great success, as was the map and compass session at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center. Two section members took the sawing training and Susan Windsor has been leading hikes twice a week until her recent injury.
Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary, Michael Chernick, reviewed the minutes of the 2022 Annual Meeting held in April at the Burke Mountain Clubhouse.
Treasurer’s Report – In the absence of NEKGMC Treasurer, Angela Smith, Michael Chernick reviewed the quarterly treasurer’s report, which Angela submitted as follows:
Northeast Kingdom Section – Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of July 13, 2022
Beginning Balance (as of 04/02/22) $6,187.46
-$350.00 “March” in error should be toward Dec
John Predom (Reimbursement) $414.56
Ending Balance $5,625.65
** Main Club still owes (as of 7/17/24) $717.17 -$120.00-$350.00 = $247.50
Certificates of Deposit
CD#1 ….4849/Matures 01/12/23 @.40% $1,591.85
CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2023 @.40% $1,752.96
Grand Total All Monies $8,970.46
Angela Smith – Treasurer
Following presentation of the report, those in attendance discussed that prior to the next CD mature date, Angela should investigate if retaining the funds in a CD is the best financial option.
Main Club Director’s Report – NEKGMC’s Main Club Director, Cathi Brooks, reported on the GMC’s June 2022 Board meeting and other recent developments. Fiscal Year 2022 ended on May 31 with a surplus of $3436 (virtually balanced). Direct contributions were 80 percent of FY 2022’s revenue total. Membership revenue was slightly down. But fee for services was dramatically up to $650,000 worth of field services performed. Grants also increased. Total Fiscal Year 2022 revenue was $2,126,684 and expenses totaled $1, 123,051. Salaries and wages were $1, 346.30. Program expenses rose as field work increased (15 7 percent over Fiscal Year 2021). Despite the recent inflation, GMC finances are in good shape.
The multi-partner restoration project on Camel’s Hump’s Burrough’s Trail is proceeding. There will be additional field work this season on the Burrough’s Trail and other projects. As of late May, the endowment stood at $6.7 million (prior to the recent stock market downturn). The GMC Capital Campaign concluded successfully achieving its $4 million goal. An event celebrating this achievement will be held on a date to be determined.
Cath Brooks also mentioned other administrative matters, including the status of car leases. A new App was introduced in May to phase out staff paper reports. The formal design has been approved for the new Herrick Building at headquarters, and the Act 250 permit is secured. The Club has engaged a sign design company to develop new signage at the Route 100 entrance to headquarters. A new heating system has been installed at the Visitors’ Center.
On the publications front, new Killington and Day Hikers’ Guides are being published. GMC sales in FY 2022 totaled approximately $21,000, with the LT Guide, Day Hiker’s Guide, and other maps topping the sales list.
The Main Club Membership Committee is developing a new survey of cub members and is also involved in the preparation for the LT Day scheduled for September 10. The NEKGMC’s contribution to this club-wide activity will consist of a hike from Route 105 to the Canadian border, hiking north on the LT and returning via the Journey’s End Trail.
Executive Director’s Report– NEKGMC Executive Mike DeBonis was in attendance and reviewed the current COVID policies, which rely on CDC standards. Staff vaccinations remain mandatory.
Field Program Updates – GMC Director of Field Programs, Kegan Tierney, has established crews for this summer. Administratively, procedures were better organized this year. An additional crew was organized for the Burroughs Trail project. The Volunteer Long Trail Patrol has been reinstituted.
Camps – Hadsel Mares was 77 percent occupied during the spring and 21 percent of the renters were GMC members. Overall, for Fiscal Year 2022, Hadsel Mares was 90 percent occupied, Bryant Camp had an 80 percent recorded occupancy, and Bolton Camp was 58 percent occupied. By end of fall, the Beaver Dam Replacement Camp should be completed. During the construction period (September -2/3 months) Hadsel Mares will be closed. Most immediately, a wood stacking session will be held on 7/18. Whether to name the new cabin for Jean will be determined at the September Main Club Board Meeting.
Land Conservation – A focus on preservation of land areas around the LT is underway. All segments of the LT have an assigned corridor monitor.
Special Recognition – President’s Award – Long serving NEKGMC Membership Coordinator and Publications Editor, Ed Guest, who spearheaded NEKGMC ‘s hosting the 2004 GMC Annual Meeting at Burke, was a reliable and essential member at numerous wood stacking sessions, and a great hiking companion, was honored with a GMC President’s Award. GMC Executive Director, Mike DeBonis, presented the award to Ed.
Membership /Newsletter Update – As of June 2022, the NEK Section had 267 members (9800 total GMC/5800 at large) NEKGMC Membership Coordinator and Newsletter Editor, Beth Barnes, presented the following report:
Beth offered she is enthusiastic to keep both of her roles and that another eat and greet is possible at Chez Pigeon in Norton.
Kingdom Heritage Campsites – There is no final decision yet regarding the proposed Kingdom Heritage campsites. Two campsites have been identified, but the ultimate decision on proceeding with these locations is now with the partners (the private landowners, the Agency of Natural Resources, and the GMC).
Section Donations – Whether to approve the NEKGMC Section donating to the Burke Clubhouse and the NorthWoods Stewardship Center was deferred, due to the lack of an Executive Committee quorum. (The Executive Committee was polled subsequently and approved $500.00 for NorthWoods and $100 for the Burke Clubhouse.
New Adopter Need – A new adopter is needed for the Bluff Community Trail in Brighton.
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation Summer Updates – Luke O’Brien, in his role as an FPR Recreation Specialist submitted the following report on current and prosed trail projects under FPR’s authority:
FPR District 5
2022 Field Season Activity Report
Trail and recreation projects in the Northeast Kingdom have been greatly aided this season by the recent hiring of a seasonal (May-October) Trail Coordinator- Kevin Studley. Kevin and Luke have both been engaged in supporting numerous summer projects, and the added staff capacity (albeit temporary) has been helpful to visit and support more projects on more of our public lands.
Below is a summary of work taking place during the 2022 field season.
A big future project is the replacement of the Pisgah South Trail boardwalk, hopefully in spring 2023.
Westmore Challenge – The NorthWoods Stewardship Center’s Westmore Challenge hike is scheduled for Saturday September 24, 2022. The NEKGMC will provide volunteer support.
Brighton Trail Day – There was discussion of possibly switching the event to Norton (new hikes would be offered). If in Norton, the event would be centered at Black Turn Brook State Forest. Alternatively, Jackson Heights Lodge in Canaan is a possibility. The idea of Norton seemed of special interest to those in attendance.
Volunteer T-Shirts – John is interested in developing and distributing tee shirts for section volunteers.
(The Executive Committee was polled subsequently and approved)
GMC Annual Meeting Scheduling – GMC Executive Director, Mike DeBonis, explained the scheduling of the process for scheduling the GMC Annual Meeting. The process is now institutionalized in a manual with a calendar. The 2023 GMC Annual Meeting is planned at Sterling College (Northern Frontier, Laraway, and Sterling sections co-sponsoring). Jackson Lodge in Canaan has expressed interested as a site and John Predom will put it in contact with Mike DeBonis
Next Meeting – Marty Podosh will be the guest speaker at the NEKGMC Fall Quarterly meeting on Saturday October 1, 2022. He is an expert on the CCC Camps. The meeting will convene at the Burke Mountain Clubhouse at 4:00 PM, with Marty’s presentation scheduled for 6:00 PM.
NEKGM History Project Update – Andrea Kane continues working on the compilation of an NEKGMC history document. She is busily involved with her professional duties during the summer and will focus again on the project in the fall.
Future Hikes – The date of future hikes will be determined later.
Adjournment – The NEKGMC Summer Quarterly meeting adjourned at 2:54 PM with Lenny serving his famous cheesecake.
Michael Jay Chernick – NEKGMC Secretary
Burke Mountain Clubhouse – East Burke Vermont
April 4, 2022
Call to Order – NEKGMC President John Predom welcomed all attendees to the 2022 NEKGMC Annual Meeting. Attendees at the meeting were Cathi Brooks, John Predom, Paul Trojano, Gordon DuBois, Kevin, Williamson, Sue Winsor, Andrea Kane, Geoff Commons, Doug Lamb, Hope Crifo, Michael DuBois, Chris Gagnon, Mike DeBonis, Luke O’Brien and Jon Kenney. John opened the meeting addressing the topic of volunteerism. At the next Main Club Annual Meeting in June a number of NEK volunteers will be recognized.
Secretary’s Minutes – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick presented a summary of the minutes from the January 2022 NEK Quarterly Meeting.
MOTION [Brooks/Trojano] move to accept minutes
Before proceeding to the Treasurer’s Report GMC Executive Director Mike DeBonis introduced himself as did other attendees.
Treasurer’s Report – In the absence of NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith, NEKGMC Director to the Main
Cathi Brooks summarized the report.
Treasurer’s Report Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of April 2, 2022
Beginning Balance (as of 01/21/22) $4,664.94
CNB Donation (Community Circle) $100.00
*Deposit that hasn’t been deposited by main club. Angela sent Rick Dugan
an email requesting clarification as to where our deposit is. *
**Deposited into bank account but Rick hasn’t sent the spreadsheet yet**
Ending Balance $6,187.46
Certificate of Deposit
CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2023 @.40% $1,590.85
CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2022 @.40% $1,751.87
Grand Total All Monies $9,530.18
Angela Smith ~ Treasurer
Cathi Brooks – Main Club Report – The most recent GMC Main Club Board meeting occurred on March 19 and as has been the practice since the pandemic started was conducted by Zoom. As of 3/19 GMC finances were in excellent shape. Costs have increased this past year, such as contracting for helicopter support services. Notwithstanding this reality budgeting is still on target. The FY23 budget projects revenues of $2,262,514 compared to the FY22 amount of $1,750,597. As for expenses the projected
FY23 figure is $2.68 million. The FY23 contribution goal is projected to increase by $140,000, and the FY 23 Field Program Fee for Service amount is anticipating an increase of $276,000. Endowment distribution is slated to rise to $238,529 and field staff base compensation will be set at $14.00 per hour (The Vermont minimum wage for calendar year 2022 is $12.55).
Cathi reported that the GMC Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 11 at Main Club in Waterbury. Membership now stands at 9800 As of 3/19 only $70k left foe the Capital Campaign to reach its goal. Personnel hours for campaign work will be reassigned upon the campaign’s completion. COVID relief funding continued. Wages are up this year to be more competitive. Recruitment for the field season has been intensive.
Herrick Building reconstruction, which will consist of a total rebuild is scheduled for later this year. The COVID backlog on field programs is still trickling down. Housing for seasonal staff is an issue the Club is attempting to address. Some of the field supervisory positions have been filled. There will be two to three trail crews in 2022.
Beaver Dam Camp will be rebuilt starting this fall. Cathi provided a brief history of the Wheeler Pond Camps, including the continued pattern of Beaver Dam sliding towards the pond and the decision to rebuild. The new site is further away from the water. It is a handicapped accessible site with a less severe trail access. Hadsel Mares will be used as a crew headquarters during reconstruction. This will require a three -month public closure. The section supplies the wood for the heating. The new cabin will include some external insulation.
The Main Club has been increasing volunteer support for trail projects through new chainsaw certification and various first aid classes.
A major treadway project on Camel’s Hump on the Burrows Trail, a multi-organizational project will be a highlight of the busy FY 2022 field season.
Main Club is continuing its diversity inclusion and developing a new policy on this matter. A new harassment/discrimination policy is also in the development phase.
The issue of naming trail facilities (be they built structures, trail segments, or natural locations) has ensued. The AMC is no longer naming facilities after individuals. This concern is resulting from removing names of individuals, whose past history has led to a trail club’s decision to no longer honor that person.
Confusion arose on naming a new shelter after Dave Hardy, the late GMC Field Programs Director. However, that naming did proceed a Stratton Pond area shelter). Cathi Brooks read the new policy which includes the option of a dedication instead of an actual naming. The new GMC naming policy does not exclude the possibility of naming a facility after an individual. Specifically, its philosophy provides in part:
When naming a feature after a person, the GMC recognizes the importance of honoring people who have made significant and long-term contributions to the Club and the Long Trail, and to maintain a sense of history along the Trail. One way the GMC accomplishes this is by naming trails, shelters, and other facilities primarily for those who have dedicated time and energy to the Club and Trail.
The philosophy further provides:
Dedicating a trail or feature to such a person, even though the trail or feature is not named for that person, is a way of recognizing their interest and commitment.
The naming policy itself provides for a Trail Management Committee recommendation subject to Main Club Board approval with an agency partner approval if the facility is on public land.
As Cathi referenced, the issue of renaming is also part of the naming policy. The renaming guidelines state (in part):
The Club should acknowledge and assess the complexity of human actions before it reaches judgments. Historical evidence is typically complex and often ambiguous. Too-ready renaming, especially when passions are high, may or simplify, revise, or erase history.
Today’s decisions about naming and renaming may become controversial in the future. Thus, today’s decision makers should give the same respect to previous decision makers that they would like their decisions to be accorded in the future.
The above being stated factors in renaming should include:
The harm caused by retaining the name
The harm caused by renaming
Notwithstanding the heightened controversy on naming facilities after individuals, the NEKGMC has enthusiastically endorsed the naming of the new Beaver Dam Camp in honor of the late Jean Haigh. The Camps Committee (which as the camp is within that committee’s jurisdiction and not Trails Management’s and is located on Club and not publicly owned land) has supported this recommendation. It is now before the Main Club Board for consideration.
Cathi also reported that major rework is scheduled on Belvidere Mountain this summer. One trail section is very wet, and the segment will be relocated to a dryer zone. Production of the 23rd End to Enders Guide is now completed. The hope is to reopen the Visitors’ Center to the public later this year. But even with its COVID-related closure, over $13,000 of online orders were placed in this current fiscal year. The Club is discussing a new volunteer and staff code of conduct.
COVID Policy- Most meetings have been remote. The Club follows the CDC guidance and is not requiring vaccination. Main Club will probably be mask optional. On the vaccination issue, it will be left to the discretion of sections. This has resulted in some disharmony. This remains an active issue. An update will come from the Main Club to the sections
NEKGMC Executive Committee
Elections for 2021-2002
Susan Winsor moved that the exiting slate of officers be approved for reelection on a single vote.
The slate includes:
John Predom -President
Paul Trojano- Vice President
Angela Smith -Secretary
Michael Chernick – Treasurer
Geoff Commons seconded the motion, which the membership approved unanimously.
Cross Cycle Fitness – Chris Gagon, a local entrepreneur who owns the Cross Cycle Fitness business
(located on Kirby Road in Burke), and which offers event programs, presented his activity schedule of running and biking. The NEKGMC will link digitally to Chris’ events. Efforts will be made to not conflict with NEKGMC events.
NEKGMC Trail Topics – NEKGMC Trails Adoption Coordinator Kevin Williamson reported that three persons are scheduled from the section for GMC chainsaw training. Participation is NEKGMC-GMC
subsidized. Luke O’Brien, (DFPR Regional Recreation staffer) mentioned that the NorthWoods Stewardship Center and VYCC also running chainsaw training sessions There will be a Trail Work Day on Sunday May 1 (meet at 9 AM at Burke Mt Clubhouse) The work site will be Cow Mountain Pond NorthWoods will also work on the site. Kevin reported that between last year’s adopters and new individuals that the adoption situation may be in good shape. The National Trail Day hike will be held at Groton State Forest (possible leaders for this event are either Andrea or John).
NEKGMC Membership – As of 3/11, the NEKGMC membership stood at 276. Much of the credit for this number is attributable to NEKGMC Membership Coordinator Beth Barnes. The Main Club is starting a membership group and Beth will participate.
Camps- Paul Trojano, who chairs the GMC Camps Committee, reported the hope of Beaver Dam construction this fall, as did Cathi, and that Camps Committee voted to name the new camp for Jean.
As a section, the NEKGMC periodically updates the wood stacking at the camps. When the second camp is built, the wood capacity will need to be doubled. The upper shed can only support Hadsel Mares. The lower wood stacking facility would stay as is and the upper doubled. The picnic table area needs improvement and can this be addressed during the new camp’s construction.
Trail Management Committee – Cathi, who serves on the Trail Management Committee, reported there is a consensus that hiker numbers are increasing. Federal funds are currently available for new trail work grants. Long distance AT traffic has mostly been northbound. Through hikers constitute less than one percent of AT use. The Green Mountain National Forest is converting several temporary positions into permanent posts. DFPR has added new staff positions and is increasing mud season publicity. Cathi reported on various, partnerships in which GMC participates.
As of 2022, only 6.25 miles of the LT lacks legal protection for the treadway and adjacent lands. Cathi referred to the corridor management program to explain this figure. The Wander Trail near Stratton will not be delisted but improved. GMC has a delisting /relocation policy. As Cathi stated there are policies for everything.
Kingdom Heritage Trail -There are two known water sources. There will probably be two camping sites TMC has approved. The sites also have State approval. Wyerhauser approval is further along than the Sweet Tree (Gore Junction) site’s landowner approval. One is near Middle Mountain and the other near Pine Brook.
Brighton Trails Day – Scheduled for June 25 (Saturday) Last year there were five hikes This year will probably have staggered start times to end all the hikes at approximately the same time. John is envisioning four hikes. State permits and landowner approval will be required Bluff Community, Middle Mountain, Bluff Trail, North Branch, Moose Bog are all potential hike locations. John has secured volunteer leaders.
FPR (Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation) Funding – Luke requested funding for multiple projects. A lot of general maintenance requests are accounting for much of funding. The big project is the Burrows Trail on Camel’s Hunp (GMC, VYCC, NorthWoods, DFPR). Major projects in the NEK are boardwalks, South Pisgah, and a new roof on the Bald Tower. The results of the Statewide Tower Assessment on State lands will be share with partner organizations, including the GMC. Also in the NEK, attention will be directed to the Kingdom Heritage Trail, on Burke, the Willoughby Shore Trail (including adjacent land restoration) and the Peacham Bog Trail. Westmore (Town) is financing repairs to Bald Cabin (NorthWoods will perform the work).
FPR will be working Cold Water Brook Camp. There will need to be a KHT campsite monitoring plan
Placement of a roof on the Wheeler Kiosk and the Mad Brook plowing [plan has been settled] are also settled items. A question was raised on Moose Mountain plowing. Funding was not granted for the Gore Mt bridges. Luke will continue to try to secure the Gore project’s funding. Luke is still trying to connect with Glover Rescue for area rescues. He had a great meeting with Brighton Rescue.
The Monadnock situation remains frustrating with no immediate result envisioned. But the Northern Forest Center (which works on town issues) will be meeting with Town of Lemington officials. DFPR is prepared to help financially. Potentially there could be added campsites on KHT in the future. Work continues on the CCC Willoughby site.
Westmore Challenge is schedule for September 24
Crag VT (Climbing Resource Access Group) – This organization is seeking corridor monitor status similar to GMC’s on the Kingdom Heritage Lands. It (mountainproject.com) reports possibly 70 rock climbing routes on Black Mountain. There will be a public meeting later this spring on the corridor monitor application.
History Project – Andrea updated the project’s planning. She outlined her proposed chapters. The project’s goal is to document and promote the NEKGMC and protect future hiking resources. The volume will include glossary of stakeholders
Future Hikes & Events
Gordon Dubois will lead a map and compass session. Gordon is also developing a 100 highest NEK list.
Sue Winsor is scheduling a group for older women.
Michael Chernick offered a June 12 hike up Gore Mountain.
Next Meeting – The next NEKGMC meeting will be held on Sunday July 17 at a location to be determined.
Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at approximately 4:00 PM
Michael Chernick – NEKGMC Secretary
Link to Past Minutes