Matt Wels, a Connecticut native, came to Vermont at the age of 13. As a child, Matt had a love of nature and during his high school years discovered the Long Trail and Vermont’s wild places. He became a member of the GMC at the age of 19.
In 2002, at the age of 21, Matt joined the Long Trail Patrol, beginning a 13-year career of fieldwork with the GMC. The first big GMC construction project for Matt was building the Lamoille River Suspension Bridge. The following years brought many projects including historic restorations of Glastenbury Mountain Fire Tower, Tillotson Camp, Montclair Glen Lodge, and Stratton Mountain Fire Tower. He spent three summers building the Thundering Falls Boardwalk with the GMC’s LTP and VLTP, as well as crews from the VYCC. The USFS hired Matt for the summer of 2009 to help deconstruct and remove a condemned 180’ suspension bridge in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of the White Mountain National Forest. That fall he was back at the GMC. In 2010, Matt worked as Project Manager and builder with Colby and Tobiason Custom Builders under USFS contract to rebuild the Big Branch Suspension Bridge on the AT/LT in Southern Vermont. The apex of Matt’s GMC and trail career was his role as Project Manager of the Winooski River Long Trail Suspension Bridge.
As a result of his work and recreational endeavors, Matt has hiked every mile of the Long Trail, much of it two or three times.
Outside the trail world, Matt became a project manager and builder of fine homes working in Connecticut, Manhattan, and also Woodstock, Vermont. Matt became a member of the GMC Board of Directors for the Brattleboro Section in 2016. He lives in Jamaica, Vermont, where he hikes and paddles around the southern portions of the GMNF. Matt also frequently takes wilderness paddling trips to the Adirondacks.