I cannot understate how big this year was for trail projects. After putting most projects on hold due to COVID-19 last year, we ran three professional crews who worked week in and out to complete a massive amount of work. It was an incredible example of the work made possible by our partners, our volunteers, and you, our generous supporter.
Just a few weeks ago, I trekked into the Breadloaf Wilderness with representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, Seth Coffey and Philip Macaskill, to look at just some of the work conducted by GMC’s field staff and volunteers this hiking season.
Seth, Phil, and I visited Cooley Glen Shelter. The freshly stained and renovated building had spent three weeks propped up while the three-person crew leveled and squared the building; replaced the leaky roof; and reset the 12 foundational piers. Wilderness regulations prohibit the use of motorized vehicles or tools in the Breadloaf Wilderness, which includes the Emily Proctor and Boyce overnight sites. So instead of truck, ATV, or helicopter pack-ins, the GMC coordinated with volunteers from Middlebury Congregational Church Youth Group, the Air and Army National Guard, and local GMC volunteers to carry lumber, roof shingles, tree felling, and processing tools through narrow and rugged terrain.
In addition to the shelter work at Cooley Glen, the crew also fully restored Emily Proctor Shelter and built new, universally accessible moldering privies at Emily Proctor Shelter and Boyce Shelter. These slow-composting privies replace two of the old-school pit privies that remain on the Long Trail. They are a more sanitary and more sustainable option for managing human waste in the backcountry, and they are two of seven new privies that the crews built along the trail this year.
These are just a few examples of the work that your generous support made possible this hiking season. Thank you for supporting the Long Trail System and making it possible to refresh, revamp, and repair the trails and shelters we all love.
— Written by Keegan Tierney, Director of Field Programs.