Northeast Kingdom Section – Green Mountain Club
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
Winter Quarterly Meeting
NorthWoods Steward Center – Charlestown, Vermont & Zoom
January 23, 2022
Called to Order – NEKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order. He thanked Maria Young and the NorthWoods Stewardship Center for hosting. John also thanked all the volunteers who have been working on trails.
Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick reviewed the minutes of the October 24, 2021, quarterly meeting.
MOTION [Brooks/Barnes] Approve the secretary’s minutes as presented
Treasurer’s Report – In the absence of NEK Treasurer Angela Smith, Cathi Brooks reviewed the highlights of the Treasurer’s Report, which Angela submitted as follows:
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of January 21, 2022
Beginning Balance (as of 10/21/2021) $5,114.21
Train NEK $240.00
NWSC- Yearly Donation $500.00
Burke Mountain Clubhouse- Yearly Donation $100.00
Local Doughnuts $68.00
Ending Balance $4,664.94
Certificate of Deposit
CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2023 @.40% $1,589.99
CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2022 @.40% $1,750.79
Grand Total All Monies $8,005.72
Angela Smith ~ Treasurer
Main Club Director’s Report – NEKGM Main Club Director Cathi Brooks updated the section on various economic aspects of the Main Club’s finances, which are in good condition. Expenses are higher than last year in all categories, as more activities are now occurring. The Main Club’s January 2022 Treasurer’s Report noted that contributions and memberships, while solid, were slightly lower than the previous year. Personnel and field costs rose significantly (with the return of a busy field season in 2021), including helicopter use for construction projects. A $48,500 bill still needed to be invoiced. Despite these developments, the GMC’s line of credit was not required as the cash flow remains strong.
For the first six months of FY 22 (May-November 2021), the revenue highlights included direct contributions ($238,564), total membership dues -at large & section- ($142,096), grants and agreements ($563,155), sales- GMC Publications ($77,251) & Visitor Center ($36,226)-total sales ($113,476), all other revenue ($46,712), and all revenue equaled ($1,104,004).
As for expenses, personnel ($914,294), office ($218,817), program ($216,496), property and facilities ($87,015) for an expenses total of ($1,436,622). In addition, the endowment distribution equaled ($150,442) and the restricted funds distribution was ($81,000), resulting in a total distribution of ($231,442) and a six- month point FY22 surplus of ($101,176).
With respect to the Capital Campaign, of the projected goal ($4,000,000), the amount received is ($2,377,4536), with expenses of ($642,242), Restricted and Transferred allocations ($262,164) and funds available ($1,473,047).
The Main Club Board reviewed a motion to distribute $350,00 of Long Trail Legacy funds, raised in the Capital Campaign to the following endowments: Caretaker ($100,000), General ($100,000), Headquarters ($925,000) Northern Trail Work ($60,000), and Land Conservation ($100,000).
Other items of note are that the rebuilding of the Herrick Building, Beaver Dam, and the Bromley Tower. All three are proceeding forward as is a proposed busy 2022 field season, which includes work on the northern segment of the LT. Following the recommendation of the Appalachian Trail Conference, the GMC is developing a Volunteer Code of Conduct, specifically addressing issues of harassment and discrimination.
On another bright note, the federal government has relieved the GMC from any payback obligation on the Paycheck Protection loan. There is a desire to increase the staff’s (including seasonal) minimum wage to $15.00 per hour to account for an increasing competitive job market. With new recruiting need on field staff this is an important topic to attract applicants.
Membership stands club-wide at approximately 9,800. There is a plan to reorganize the membership committee and more actively engage business members.
For the most recent data period, Hadsel Mares had 96 percent occupancy, including 61 percent of the renters being GMC members. The occupancy rates for Bryan Camp and Bolton Lodge were 82 percent and 58 percent, respectively.
Taylor series programming for the coming season is being finalized, and various workshops, including on chainsaw certification, are planned. There are currently 65 corridor monitors with all LT sections covered, and only one AT section requiring a monitor assignment. A new AmeriCorps volunteer is arriving at Main Club. Efforts to promote diversity, relationships with the indigenous community, and indigenous use of land for traditional purposes are all continuing.
COVID Protocol – Michael Chernick, who had attended COVID related meeting in the fall, presented a brief summary on current recommendations, which among other points advised against indoor meetings.
Heritage Land Partners Hike – NEKGMC Vice President and Main Club Camps Committee Chair Paul Trojano participated in the annual Kingdom Heritage Trails Partners’ Hike on December 3, 2021. The hike focused on potential camp sites. Different opitions were documented. Representatives of the GMC, NorthWoods Stewardship Center, and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) participated. Although none of the representatives of the private landowners attended, Paul thought the hike was a positive experience. If the project is implemented, camping sites would be available for through hikers. Near the Gore Mountain parking site there was seen the body of an old vehicle (thought to be from the bootlegging era).
Maria Young NorthWoods Stewardship Center (NWSC) Executive Director – She welcomed the NEKGMC section and stated it was her pleasure to get out on the trails with the attending section members. Maria commented that an amount of collaboration is required to keep trails open. It is “pretty neat” in our little area how many people are engaged in trail maintenance activities. She has not always appreciated the volunteers’ role. NWSC is connecting with GMC on Camel’s Hump work this summer.
She listed the four key areas for NWS activities, including the conservation corps, conservation stewardship, forest stewardship and environmental education. Maria mentioned the new ways that NWSC is investing. Its conservation crew program starts now at age 15. In 2021, NWSC launched a collaborative training program with other organizations, including forest crews, camps, and riparian collectors.
The Mission of these collaborations is to connect people in place. The key effort is how we (NWSC) train the next generation of conservation stewards. A new NWSC conservation barn is being completed. The organization is trying to focus on its land base (own site). NWSC has been drawn off campus a lot. It gets paid when leaving the home campus. This site can be a burden financially. There is lots of deferred maintenance to address. Last summer, there were 120 plus NWSC staff (including seasonal crews). Half were stationed on site, and the balance worked throughout New England.
At the young professional level, NWSC operates a conservation internship program, which offers unique opportunities throughout New England. There is a new push for pro (adult) crews. But NWSC must fight to keep the youth crews active. The youth crew program can have an enormous impact on kids. NWSC is thinking of inclusion and diversity, including low-income demographics for its youth crews. Services such as transportation of crew from home to work sites can facilitate this desired diversity.
Maria listed the NWSC field projects planned for 2022. Quite a few projects are planned in collaboration with FPR, including the Willoughby Shore Trail Restoration, Unknown Pond Middle Mountain, and Mount Pisgah accessible trail maintenance. Hopefully, there will be a week of shelter maintenance at Burke, for the NWSC northern roving crew. [Note: According to Luke O’Brien at FPR, this list is dependent on available funding and yet to be finalized]
NWSC will connect with FPR to work on the Bald Mountain summit cabin (with the Westmore Trails Association financial support), at the Westmore Town Forest, Highland Lodge, Jay Recreation Trails, and on the Kingdom Trails. NWSC has established a new partnership with the U.S. Forest Service in New Hampshire and Vermont
Work is planned on the Cohos Trail, Bluff Mountain Community Trail, at Cow Mountain Pond, and possibly on the historic Hinman Road (from Greensboro to Glover).
The Westmore Challenge is scheduled for Sept 24, 2022. Maria thanked the NEKGMC for its volunteer efforts on this event. It is now NWSC’s signature fundraiser. NWSC worked to avoid a date conflict with the local marathon (running race).
NWSC is looking to start a KHT Ramble 20-mile hike (Lewis Pond to Island Pond). Jesse Holden/Chris Gagnon have been asked to assist. The idea is not firm but possible. Various legal permissions will be needed. NWS may coordinate with Brighton Trails Day on an KHT ramble. NWS needs to decide which events to support.
NWSC is updating the NEK Mountain Trail Guide. Groton State Forest trails will be included as well as Stannard Lookout, and Sentinel Rock. The publication will include a slightly updated NEK Mountain Challenge list. She still needs a new update on the Belvidere Forester’ Trail/Frank Post Trail, both located on Mount Belvidere. John Predom inquired on a Brousseau location that might be a falcon nesting site. Maria explained this specific site is not monitored every year. Brosseau not on the list of falcons protected locations. NWSC is planning to remove Mount Mondnock from the book, due to its current closure to hiking. There will be an online version of the publication. It will be possible to update the book prior to a future third edition The volume will contain new maps. An Abenaki perspective, which Bea Nelson wrote prior to her death, is a new feature. The volume will not include a GMC logo but will credit GMC’s contribution. Publication of the print and digital versions is expected in March or April. On July 9, a release party is planned for the at Dirt Church Brewery in East Haven. The Vermont Community Foundation is contributing to the printing cost. Lastly, the “NEK Mountain Trail Guide” volume is to be read and not serve as a replacement for GMC maps.
Maria commented that the next couple of years are going to be filled with opportunities for trail funding. NWSC is trying to work on this collaboratively and in a sustainable manner. The task of NWS is to build capacity and manage the environmental aspect.
The NWS summer camps are open to children aged 6 and older. School groups participate in NWSC programs throughout the year.
Main Club Trail Management Committee – Cathi Brooks reported that Hadsel Mares will be closed from the middle of September till January 2023, as the Beaver Dam construction crew will be residing in the existing cabin. Rehabilitation of the Burroughs and Monroe trails on Camel’s Hump is a partnership with FPR and the U.S. Forest Service. There is $100 million nationally in federal infrastructure money for trails. Unauthorized construction of ski glades and the reoccurrence of ATV use have emerged as problems on both the LT and the AT. The Main Club is working on various shelter issues. There will be four NEKGMC participants in the chain saw certification class. Mari Young noted that NWS is engaged in authorized ski glade construction. It is possible that financial subsidization may be available for the chain saw class. A North Country Scenic Trail representative recently visited Vermont. This trail is a major project, extending from North Dakota to Vermont. It is a hiking only trail. The Vermont extension would run from Lake Champlain to Breadloaf. The Main Club is coordinating with affected organizations. It is not intended to put any additional regulatory burden on the state. To date, only 16 persons have through hiked the length of this trail.
Membership – NEKGMC Membership Coordinator Beth Barnes thanked Maria Young for her hospitality and presentation. Membership is now at 167 membership units. This number will rise as several noteworthy names’ membership had lapsed. Main Club was a little behind on sending out renewals. There are 235 voting members. A little more than half are couples. Beth was disappointed with the last Meet & Greet. Paul Trojano complimented Beth on doing a great job. Beth stated that the quality of persons in attendance has been off the charts. She is trying to promote locale cafes/restaurants in areas where we hike. The event will return to Parker Pie. The newsletter will be sent the first week of February. Beth will continue in her newsletter editorial role until someone else is found. She noted articles she is waiting on. No names were cited. John also commented that Beth is doing an excellent job in increasing GMC awareness in the NEK
Sucker Brook Bridge – Luke asked if NEKGMC is interested in contributing financially to the construction of this new bridge across this brook along the Gore Mountain Trail. John committed the NEKGMC to a 50 percent contribution.
Mt Monadnock – Kevin Williamson e-mailed a Lemington Selectboard member on the Monadnock access problem. He has also contacted three of the primary landowners. To date, the effort has not produced results. One response would require extensive trail work and parking lot development.
Response has been discouraging. There are at least three landowners (maybe 4) who could provide access, including Clark Jeffers (owner of the gravel pit) and Peter Quayle. One landowner is willing, but trail building would be considerable for this option.
Taylor Series Event – March 12 via Zoom (National Parks)
NEK History Project – Andrea Kane reported the process is coming along well. She hopes for a first draft by late March.
GMC President Howard VanBenthuysen – He thanked Cathi for her report. He informed the section that not only has the line of credit not been accessed but also that GMC is operating under is 7th consecutive balanced budget. GMC envisions funding 22 or 23 field projects this summer. The Main Club needs to hire 50 seasonal employees. He is looking forward to GMC’s partnering with NWS on Camel Hump’s Burroughs Trail. Howard awaits, with interest, the state engineering report on the structural condition of the tower on Mount Belvidere. He enjoyed his trip to the NEK meeting last October and recognizes the great activities of the NEKGMC.
Feb 5 – Perry Holbrook
Feb 7th – Wheeler Andrea
Feb 9th– Moose Paul
Gore John first Sunday in March
Gordon – Map and compass hike at date to be determined at NWS
Next Meeting – April 3 NWSC in Charlestown or the Burke Clubhouse in East Burke.
Submitted by Michael Jay Chernick
2021 Fall Meeting – October 24, 2021
Burke Mountain Clubhouse – East Burke, Vermont
Called to Order- NEKGMC President John Predom called the meeting to order at 1:10 PM. Those attending introduced themselves including, Paul Trojano, Beth Barnes, GMC President Howard VanBenthuysen, GMC Executive Director Mike DeBonis, Dusty May (representing NorthWoods Stewardship Center), Brian Lamoureux, Alison Gardner, Kevin Williamson, Andrea Kane, Luke O’Brien (representing the St. Johnsbury office of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation), Jeff Morris, John Predom, Sue Winsor, Cathi Brooks, and Michael Chernick
Secretary’s Report – NEKGMC Secretary Michael Chernick summarized the highlights of the July 2021 quarterly meeting held in Island Pond.
MOTION [Trojano/Brooks] to approve the secretary’s minutes, subject to one date correction as the secretary noted
Treasurer’s Report- In the absence of the NEKGMC Treasurer, Angela Smith, NEKGMC Secretary, Michael Chernick, reported the report’s financial highlights.
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of October 20, 2021
Beginning Balance (as of 07/20/2021) $3,789.14
May Dues Sharing (Deposited 07/21) $88.75
June Dues Sharing (Deposited 08/06) $641.25
-Includes $500.00 from CFSG
July Dues Sharing (Deposited 08/25) $697.50
-Includes $500.00 from CFP
August Dues Sharing (Deposited 10/12) $215.00
Cathi Brooks – Mug Reimbursement $317.43
Ending Balance $5,114.21
Certificate of Deposit
CD#1 ….4489/Matures 01/12/2022 @.40% $1,588.42
CD#2 ….3785/Matures 06/27/2022 @.40% $1,749.69
Grand Total All Monies $8,452.32
Angela Smith ~ Treasurer
Director’s Report – NEKGMC Main Club Director Cathi Brooks reported on the September 11, 2021, Main Club Board meeting. The GMC continues operating in a combined hybrid and remote manner. A new strategic plan will be forth coming that will cover a period of five years. The 2017 plan focused on northern trail fundraising, developing Bluff Trail, and the Club becoming an employer of choice. Cathi reviewed the status of the current strategic plan. Some of the strategies addressed water sources, care takers, and corridor monitoring etc.
On the revenue side, Main Club revenue is slightly down from 2019 levels. However, the cash flow continues to be strong, and no borrowing is anticipated during FY 22 (ends April 30, 2022). As of the end of August 2021, $498,662 of a projected $1.7 million FY 22 operational revenue had been raised and $835,644 of a planned $2.1 million worth of expenditures have been spent. The income raised represents 28 percent of the budget and the expenditures spent equaled 39 percent of the planned total. Total contribution revenue for the period equaled $133,940 or 24 percent of the FY22 planned revenue from this source. Membership revenue, as of the close of August, was $91,597 or 33% of the intended FY22 total. Rental income has risen as more persons are using the facilities.
Personnel (147 percent) and program (198 percent) expenses have increased compared to FY 21 as the Main Club conducted a busy field season, after being on hold in FY 21. The breadth of programs offered to members and the public has also expanded.
Regarding the balance sheet as of August 31, the Main Club had $219,987 in restricted cash and $200,000 in CDs. There were $63,223 in outstanding receivables and the Endowment stood at $6.33 million. As for the Capital Campaign, it stood at $2,175,693. Additionally, a further $404,498 had been pledged for a total balance (in hand and pledged of $2.58 million.
Beyond fiscal matters, five miles of the LT remain unprotected and GMC membership continues to increase. There remain COVID related challenges for conducting in person events. A new End-to-End Guide is scheduled for release during November.
COVID Meeting Report – Michael Chernick represented the NEK at a recent ad hoc meeting of section representatives to examine GMC COVID policies. The recent rise in COVID infection numbers has prompted a review of whether the various restrictions lifted in June should be reimposed, at least in part. GMC President Howard VanBenthuysen attended, and Volunteer and Education Coordinator Lorne Currier chaired the session. Representatives from several sections, including Bennington, Breadloaf, Brattleboro, Burlington, Killington, Manchester, and NEK, were present.
The Killington Section has conducted minimal activities due to reluctance of leaders to hike.
Similarly, Burlington has also proceeded with a more limited schedule. Brattleboro’s work schedule has been active, but recreational activities minimal. Lorne reported that Connecticut and Worcester have been quiet on the outing front. Breadloaf has resumed a fairly active trip agenda. Ditto in Manchester, except it has been offering hikes for vaccinated individuals. Although, the attestation of vaccination is on an honor system. I mentioned that NEK has resumed a partially active schedule but has largely limited the size of groups.
Former GMC President and current Manchester Section President Marge Fish, who recently retired from a long nursing career, commented that zero COVID was a fallacy and that an effort to entice hikers while ensuring safety was necessary for the GMC.
After a lively discussion, certain concepts appeared to achieve consensus including recording of participants’ contact information, limitations on carpooling (wearing masks and leaving windows open), social distancing (especially at gathering moments such as starts and conclusions of outings, lunch stops, or at a major landmark or summit); providing an opportunity for participants to disclose (voluntarily) their vaccine status, do not come if symptomatic or recently tested positive, impose group size limitations, do not share food, and recommend a mask option if individuals are spaced closely together.
There was discussion of a vaccination mandate. But that seems to be off the table. However, a guideline recommending or encouraging vaccinations for outdoor activities seems likely. Lorne will compile documentation, which he will e-mail to the attendees. After we comment, the proposals will be forwarded to the staff, EC, and then the Board. Approval of guidelines, possibly not requirements (to be determined), will be expedited, posted, and distributed to section presidents, in the coming weeks. These decisions will not wait for the January Board meeting.
GMC Executive Director Presentation – GMC Executive Mike DeBonis provided context, explaining where the NEKGMC fits within GMC. The section has passed its 20th anniversary and remains one of the newer sections. The NEK Section is the section really building a new trail (Kingdom Heritage Trail). Each section is part of the overall organization. For the NEK Section, primary commitments are Wheeler Pond Camps (including land across the road) and serving as the corridor manager for KHT lands (main driver for formation of the section). The Main Club signaled interest in being the hiking corridor manger (for the former Champion Lands) back in 2000. The GMC has entered a formal partnership with the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. FPR granted corridor manger status to the GMC in 2009, renewed it in 2015 (10 years). In 2025, there will be a review. The GMC is responsible for construction of the KHT network’s private land hiking trails (build and maintain). The Club entered into an agreement with the NorthWoods Stewardship Center (which serves as the primary contractor for construction). Three phases of KHT were envisioned. Phase I – Unknown Pond to Middle Mountain (complete)/Phase II – Middle Mountain to Bluff Ridge (complete)/ Phase III – Future Trail Options (yet to be developed and constructed). We are now on Phase III. The NEKGMC has assumed responsibility for the KHT plus additional trails.
Organizationally, some sections (not the NEKGMC) are independent 501(c)(3) entities. If a section dissolves anything trail related would revert to GMC. 25 percent of section revenue (NEK Dues) goes back to the section. Restricted gifts for the NEKGMC exclusively are directed entirely to the section. Exclusively section donations include opportunities to raise funds from private businesses. Regardless of a financial gift’s destination (Main Club or NEKGMC), tax donation acknowledgment letters will always originate with the Main Club.
NEKGMC is growing, building, on fire. Challenges, what responsibilities does the section take on? Interesting space to be in. GMC wholly committed to KHT and Wheeler. Money for Beaver Camp rebuild secured. Expectation is Beaver Camp cabin will be built in 2022 (workforce permitting).
NorthWoods Stewardship Center Report – NorthWoords Stewardship Center Conservation Director Dusty May reported on NWSC’s recent trail activities. Among these was a work grant at Brosseau Mountain, including removing saplings, brush, and debris; drainage and water bar maintenance and new construction, removing blowdowns, removing other tread obstacles, restoring impacted areas, placing step stones in wet areas, puncheon bridge construction, and incorporating grade reversals where appropriate. Similar, although not exactly the same, work was performed, per a one-site grants, at Golden Trail, Mt Pisgah, and per the multi-site grant for the Northern Trails Roving Crew (Lower Gore Trail-Gore Mountain, Unknown Pond Trail, Bluff Ridge Trail, the Burke Mountain/West Peak Trail, Middle Mountain, Bald Mountain- Long Pond Trail and on the North and South Pisgah Trails, aside from a separate Pisgah grant project). A major stand-alone grant project, including a long list of trail maintenance, restoration, vegetation, and construction efforts, occurred on the Willoughby South Shore Trail.
John Predom thanked Dusty for his presentation. Dusty invited section members to volunteer with NWSC. Next year NWSC will field a professional crew working in the Green Mountain National Forest, following a similar 2021 project in the White Mountain National Forest.
Forest, Parks and Recreation Report – Forest Parks and Recreation Specialist, Luke O’Brien explained the funding for NWS and GMC projects (statewide). He noted that as important as the funded projects are the volunteer endeavors (such as Kevin Williamson’s trail adoption efforts) are also critical. FPR staff is small and needs the volunteers, in order that the state staff can work on larger projects. Recently, outdoor recreational funding has increased. The federal sources include COVID related legislation and the Great American Outdoor Act. On the state level, a positive inclination from Governor Scott has been beneficial. Among the major FPR efforts have been Pisgah North and South trails and the Willoughby shoreline. At the shoreline, wetlands have been delineated and over 200 trees planted. The newly funded roving range patrolled state parks, which have no other FPR staff coverage. Having, even this staff presence was really important. The larger Willoughby south end project has also brought a greater FPR staff presence. Rover ranging has improved the situation on the shoreline, but problems (including drugs) persist. The work this summer was aimed to avoid degradation of the lake. A new roving of crews allows work on different trails. Golden Trail in Victory was maintained. The statewide trail crew does work on many trails. A state crew spent 3 to 4 weeks roving in the Groton State Forest. FPR hopes to expand the Mad Brook Trail parking lot. Also, plans to gravel a parking lot at the Unknown Pond Trailhead are in process.
At Elmore State Park, a hiker fell at the summit tower and was injured. An FPR contract for tower assessment on state land will finance the examination of the state-owned mountain top towers, The contract does not include the towers on Mt Monadnock (Town of Lemington ownership) or Mt Belvidere (GMC Ownership). But FPR will share its findings with GMC.
Luke reported that the South Pisgah boardwalk will be replaced with federal COVID legislation funding.
CRAG is working with FPR to develop a rock-climbing corridor management agreement (similar to GMC’s hiking corridor management agreement) for rock climbing on Black Mountain.
Emergency response maps for the KHT have been printed and distributed to first responders in Brighton and in the Unified Gores (UTG).
Efforts to restore hiker access at Mt Monadnock continue, but it still requires work. There are liability concerns and no final answer. FPR has reached out to Northern Forest Center to work with the town of Lemington. Luke is hopeful there will be a broader conversation, but everyone should anticipate a third summer of Monadnock trail closure.
Luke hopes to meet with first responders from Glover and Westmore.
He is also trying to secure trail signs. There are over 100 sign orders in the que, waiting to be produced, including for KHT, Groton, and Westmore. The wood shop at the Newport state prison has been closed during COVID. Luke does not want to over sign, but he seeks consistency and believes improvements can be made. He rather attach a sign to tree rather than not having it on a post (in other words not at all). Luke asks that space should be left for tree growth if placing a sign on a tree.
As for camping on KHT trails. Luke has reached out to GMC Director of Field Programs to inquire if more site visits are needed. Sierra (at Weyerhaeuser) will probably get on board. Sweet Tree has a new manager. We need to be thinking logically on camp site selection. IT is better to select sites first and then contact the landowner. Any selected camping sites would need to go through permitting and check off on impact to Native American resources. A CRAG campsite would probably be at a roadside location. Immediate funding for campsites has not been secured.
Trail Adopter Update/Miscellaneous Trail Matters – NEKGMC Trail adopter Coordinator Kevin Williamson cited the middle section of the Bluff Trail, the Mad Brook Trail, the Red Trail on Burke Mountain, the Hawkes Trail on Mt Hor all need adopters. Andrea Kane has agreed to become the Wheeler Mountain Adopter. In September, there was a very productive trail workday on Moose Mountain. Based on the Moose event, there is recognition that the section must purchase additional trail clearing equipment. Luke indicated FPR could contribute to this effort. He also inquired if the adopter of a Bald Mountain trail might check on the condition of the summit cabin, which does sustain vandalism. Howard VanBenthuysen mentioned he checks on an LT shelter, as part of his LT adoption duties. Luke requested if three lean tos on Burke and facilities at four other sites could periodically be checked. There are known issues, but on a continuing basis, trash cleanup and checking on information signs are important. Beth Barnes, Paul Trojano, and Andrea Kane may assist with this request.
Wood Stacking at Wheeler Pond Camp – Two wood stacking days have been scheduled for November 4 and 16. Unfortunately, they are weekdays. John will try to arrange for future wood stacking days to occur weekends. Mike DeBonis discussed modifying the lower wood shelter by Hadsel Mares to make it ADA compliant. Luke suggested connecting with the Westmore Trails Committee, which with new participants has new energy, as a source for stacking assistance.
Beth Barnes – Membership/Newsletter – Beth has been distributing mark your calendar notices and has led a number of hikes. But, she has only a few hikes in her repertoire and seeks more hike leaders. The link most frequently opened in Beth’s e-mails is the one for nekgmc.org. Beth sends these e-mails to, among others, trail adopters. Section membership currently stands at 169, and Beth welcomes suggestions for increasing this number. The first Eat and Greet was held at Parker Pie in West Glover and a second at Chez Pigeon in Norton. Each event attracted 4-6 new members. She is enjoying her membership role and finds it gratifying. Beth is leading a hike on the MSTF Trails in Derby on November 30. She also reminded everyone that a newsletter will be issued shortly.
Main Club Camps Committee – Committee member Cathi Brooks reported on work performed at Bromley and Stratton Pond shelters. They were among the 8 shelters that received different degrees of attention this summer. Many privies were also upgraded. Earthen platforms are starting to replace wooden platforms at shelters. A segment of the Belvidere Trail may be assessed and chainsaw training is forth coming. NEKGMC Vice President will assume the chair of the Camps Committee, beginning in November, when Ed O’Leary relinquishes this role.
Local Events Report- John Predom reported that 26 hikers participated in the July 31 Brighton Trails Day. Next year, he may try to stagger hikes to enable all of them to end at same time. For Long Trail Day, the NEKGMC’s “Kingdom Express” team raised $695 and secured more donors than any section. Volunteers cleared trails in preparation for the Westmore Challenge.
NEK History – Andrea is compiling a section history. This is a major project. Michael Chernick has provided her with his archival and secretarial records as a documentary foundation. Andrea will be conducting interviews with individuals over the coming months.
Volunteer Request – John Predom requested volunteers for both hike leaders and wood stacking.
Upcoming Taylor Series – Members of the NEKGMC will offer a Taylor Series presentation, on March 2, 2022 (via Zoom), featuring video and narrative recalling their recent visit to 12 national parks.
Next Meeting – The next NEKGMC meeting will be held at the Island Pond Visitor Center on Sunday January 23, 2022.
Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 3:15 PM
Submitted by Michael Chernick, NEKGMC Secretary
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
In Angela’s absence Cathi Brooks made an oral presentation
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of July 20, 2021
Beginning Balance (as of 04/02/2021) $3,629.94
Mar Dues Sharing (Deposited 05/03) $133.75
Apr Dues Sharing (Deposited 05/12) $276.25
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.
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
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
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
Beginning Balance (as of 01/02/2021) $2,906.11
Nov Dues Sharing $103.75
Dec Dues Sharing $161.25
Jan Dues Sharing $345.00
Feb Dues Sharing $146.25
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.
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.
Winter Quarterly Meeting – January 10. 2021
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.
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
Treasure’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith presented the following
Northeast Kingdom Section ~ Green Mountain Club
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of January 2, 2021
Beginning Balance (as of 09/30/2020) $4,091.31
Aug Dues Sharing $138-75
Sept Dues Sharing $152.50
Oct Dues Sharing $103.75
Mask Proceeds Donation $129.80 and $20.00 $149.80
GMC – Wheeler Pond Camps Donation $1000.00
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
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.email@example.com
Volunteer trail days next year, COVID dependent
• 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.
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)
MOTION [Brooks/Guest] to adjourn the meeting at 2:40 PM
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.
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
Treasurer’s Report – NEKGMC Treasurer Angela Smith presented the following quarterly financial report:
Quarterly Financial Statement
As of September 30, 2020
Beginning Balance (as of 07/12/2020) $3,514.33
June Dues Sharing $142.50
July Dues Sharing $245.00
Mask Proceeds Donation $129.48 and $60.00 $189.48
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.
MOTION [Cathi Brooks/Paul Trojano] to adjourn the meeting at 2:20 P.M.
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
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
Beginning Balance (as of 04/06/2020) $3,031.88
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
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 e–newsletter, 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
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
Bald Mad Brook
Bald Long Pond
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:
suggested a trail map on a tee shirt.
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.
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.
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
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’
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
Beginning Balance (as of 01/21/2020) $2,790.63
Loon Talk Series Donations $135.00
Kevin Williamson – Gift Card for Lenny T. $100.00
Ending Balance $3,031.88
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
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)
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.
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.
Link to Past Minutes