Posted by Carrie Fenn on Oct 30, 2019
Tom Candon, President of the Green Mountain Club, gave members an overview of the history and operation of the GMC and the Long Trail.
 
 
10/30/19 Shelburne Episcopal Church Trinity Room

Meeting was called to order at 8am by acting President Chris Davis.

Tom Candon, President Green Mountain Club is here with us today

Tom is a volunteer with GMC, and is currently the Board President. 

The Long Trail is America’s oldest long distance hiking trail- started in 1910. GMC started the trail to attract visitors to Vermont. 

The Long Trail starts in Williamstown, Mass and ends at the Canadian border at Jay Peak- it is 272 miles long,  with 265 miles permanently protected.

The GMC’s goal is to protect the entire 272 miles on all sides. GMC wants people to feel as though they are in the wilderness so the trail avoids neighborhoods and towns. 

The Long Trail has hundreds of miles of side trails and runs across the crest of all 5 of Vermont’s over 4000 ft peaks which include Mount Ellen, Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, Killington and Mount Abraham. 

The GMC has over 1000 volunteers that help, including school teachers Jean and Hugh, who have spent 51 summers volunteering at one of the shelters on the trail. They greet and provide support to Long Trail hikers. 

Tom has done the Long Trail in sections, but hasn’t yet completed it from start to finish. One of his favorite new additions to the trail is the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Winooski river in Bolton, cutting off 6-8 miles of road walk. This bridge was completed in 2015.

GMC works with the Nature Conservancy and conservation organizations to conserve land on the Trail. The GMC also maintains 70 shelters in various stages of aging, so lots of volunteer opportunities there!

200,000 people use parts of the Long Trail- volunteers are constantly working to make sure hikers are comfortable and keep facilities clean and safe.

The white blaze, painted on trees and ledge, keeps folks on the trail.

Rock trails and puncheons are built by trail crews to keep hikers out of water and mud.

James P Taylor, the father of the Long Trail, was the headmaster of Vermont Academy in Saxton’s River. He came up with the idea of the Long Trail to promote Vermont as a place to vacation and go hiking.

Today, the Green Mountain Club maintains:

  • 500 miles of trails
  • 70 shelters and sites
  • 5 camps
  • 9000 members
  • 14 sections of 1000 volunteers that  keep the trail clear of fallen trees, and maintain the shelters. Each section has a president, officers and volunteers that maintain that particular section.
  • Stewardship of 25000 acres of land 
  • Manage the Appalachian Trail section in Vermont. The AP runs from Georgia to Maine. The Long Trail and the AP run side by side from the Mass border to Killington.

Parts the trail are protected through the Green Mountain National Forest and other state and federal land managers. The Green Mountain Club supports sustainable forestry practices and the Vermont working landscape. 

Volunteer trail crews stay in the woods all summer and work to maintain the trails. Volunteers come from all over the world. Summit caretakers try to control the crowds to protect the fragile peak vegetation. Vermont is home to three peaks with fragile alpine tundra- Camel’s Hump, Mount Abe and Mount Mansfield. These fragile landscapes require special care- dogs must be leashed and hikers must stay on the trail. Volunteer activities include clipping, changing water lanes, moving boulders, chopping trees and more!

Caretakers can be found in some of the shelter and tenting areas.

GMC provides education, books and printed and digital maps (make sure you have a physical map as well!!).

Cell service is available for most of the length of the Long Trail, but it’s important to have a physical back up map, just in case!

The Long Trail has a magazine, websites, and social media where hikers post conditions.

There have been issues with bears down in Glastonbury. Fish and Game had to remove a bear that was interfering with hikers and taking backpacks. GMC tries to educate hikers to be respectful of the bears and don’t leave food around that might entice them to approach humans. 

8 bear boxes have been placed along the hike near shelters and tent sites to keep food from the bears.

The Long Trail is a Pack in Pack out experience! 

The Green Mountain Club offers lots of educational experiences which can be accessed through the Long Trail app or on the website. Please consider joining as a volunteer or a donating member!

In appreciation for Tom’s visit, a copy of the Long Trail Guide will be donated to the Pierson Library. 

 

Halloween Parade recap: Kudos to Richard for taking this on!

There was a slightly reduced turnout due to rain, but folks who were there were fully engaged and very appreciative that the parade went on.

Turnout at the fire station was surprisingly large- CSH Rotarians handed out 500 hot dogs!

Please get feedback to Richard so he can keep improving on the event. 

It was noted that we need better PR so that we get a bigger reach, hopefully bringing folks in from the wider community. Our PR efforts need to stress that this is a Rotary event. People think Town of Shelburne puts it on!

It’s important for Rotarians to own the messaging so we get the word out in the way we want it.

The signs were great! Please bring back your signs and if you see some on the road please grab them. They will be stored downstairs.

 

Ric Flood reported on the letter writing campaign.

Budget is currently $10,900 short; direct mail campaign starts 11/15.

Ric needs a list of 10 people from all members. 

There’s no reason every member can’t come up with 10 names; please provide your list on an Excel spreadsheet, which Ric will post on the website to maintain formatting. 

Lists will go out to members who provided names last year- please review for changes.

Each member should personally sign and add a handwritten note, and please stamp your own letters to save money.

 

Board meeting recap:

Finance committee says budget is good through December 21.

Approval to move forward to proposed budget, continue with spending as presented, including expenditures of Thanksgiving Turkeys and Hands to Honduras.

We expect the letter writing campaign to fill the deficit.

Motion to approve the budged moved and seconded.

All in favor -ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it. 

 

We have a new turkey procedure- each town food shelf is ordering their turkeys and Rotary will pay for them, so no more turkey deliveries.

Todd has coordinated with all the food shelf directors to make this an easy, seamless process.

It was noted that Rotary has no control of the process so we have to hope it all goes okay. 

Lantman’s gives us a good deal- should they provide all the turkeys? We can’t forget Shelburne Market- they are typically a big supporter of Rotary activities, so it may be better to spread the purchasing around

 

Happy fines:

Richard: thanks for everyone who volunteered for the parade because there isn’t a parade without you

Lots of happy fines for Tom and GMC

Lots of happy fines for the parade

Jim Donovan is happy to be back- he traveled to conferences in Marrakesh and Majorca and is happy for a great fruit tree harvest.

 

$300 in the pot- 

Linda G. has the winning ticket

Jack of diamonds, cash rolls over.

And, once again, Trafton is denied the opportunity to tell us why he shows up on Wednesdays. Maybe next week!!

Meeting is adjourned at 9 am. See you all next week!

Respectfully submitted,

Carrie Fenn

 
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