There is no better way to experience the power of the Long Trail System than getting out on the trail. This year, I had the good fortune to do just that. I earned my end-to-end patch hiking northbound on the Long Trail in June. My time on the trail provided me with a deeper appreciation for the trail resource and the supporters whose gifts of time, knowledge, and funding enable the Club to do its work. With each passing mile, I was struck by the sheer magnitude of work that goes into maintaining the Long Trail System. And I know that it’s the support of our members and volunteers that make this massive undertaking possible each year.
During my hike, I was able to view the Club’s work and strategic priorities through the eyes of a hiker and trail user. I woke up each day and walked a new section of trail and was able to spend time with the diverse population of users. This time provided me with the firsthand knowledge I needed to focus on the priorities of the Club, see what we are doing well, and determine what improvements we can make. I came off the trail feeling proud of the work that we had accomplished and energized to implement the actions necessary to meet our strategic goals and needs of the hikers.
This year, the GMC Board passed a five-year strategic plan that is progressive and aspirational with aims to achieve some big outcomes in four key areas: Protecting and Managing the Trail Resource, Operational Excellence, Engagement & Inclusion, and Strengthening our Sections, Membership, and Volunteers. I hope you enjoy this report because it celebrates the impact that you, as a member and supporter, have on the trail and mountains of Vermont. It also serves as an update on our progress to the strategic goals mentioned above. Thank you for your lasting support.