The mission of the Green Mountain Club is to make the Vermont mountains play a larger part in the life of the people by protecting and maintaining the Long Trail System and fostering, through education, the stewardship of Vermont’s hiking trails and mountains.
WHO WE ARE
The Green Mountain Club was founded in 1910 with one goal: to build a long-distance hiking trail that spans the length of Vermont’s mountains. The first of its kind, the Long Trail was built as a “footpath in the wilderness” for hikers to experience Vermont’s natural beauty. The trail later served as the inspiration for the creation of the Appalachian Trail.
Over the years, the Green Mountain Club has evolved as an organization to manage and maintain more than just the Long Trail. We have staff and volunteers that care for roughly 500 miles of trail in Vermont, including the Appalachian Trail in Vermont; Kingdom Heritage Lands trails in the Northeast Kingdom; and the Long Trail and its side trails.
Working on the trails is a dynamic process as we adapt to changes in use and the climate and the resulting impacts to the trail and the hiking season. GMC’s programs have the hiker in mind; both to maintain the trails and shelters and to support the hiking community by investing in resources for all to enjoy Vermont’s hiking trails.
WHAT WE DO
Trail work at the Green Mountain Club began in 1910 when volunteers joined together to build the Long Trail. Today, professional trail crews, seasoned volunteers, and partner organizations use modern sustainable trail building techniques to manage over 500 miles of trail and backcountry shelters and privies. Trail building and maintenance has evolved in the 100+ years since the Long Trail was built, and our trail program has evolved with it.
- Professional trail crews conduct technical, highly skilled trail work projects and maintain the 70 backcountry overnight sites and facilities.
- Individuals and group volunteers adopt portions of the trail for annual maintenance
- Sustainable backcountry waste management is a critical piece of the work we do. This involves managing the composting process at 75 backcountry privies for the health and comfort of hikers and the protection of the local ecosystem.
Conservation and Stewardship
Successful trail management involves caring for the land on and around the trail. Since 1986, GMC has been working to secure the entire route of the Long Trail and the forested landscape it traverses, so that it can remain open for public access. Today 97% of the LT is protected and GMC remains committed to conserving the last 6 miles through acquiring ownership or easements. As we consider the future of Long Trail protection, we are integrating a strategic approach to conserving side trails that access the Long Trail and other lands we manage.
Once land is conserved, our stewardship work begins. This involves working with partner agencies and organizations on how land should be managed, in some cases for multiple uses, all while maintaining the natural hiking experience and ensuring the health of the forested landscape. A critical component of this work is monitoring the conserved lands to ensure legal protections are upheld and boundary lines are well marked.
Hiker Outreach & Education
Your experience is important to us. Whether you are planning a thru-hike of the Long Trail or a one-hour walk, we can help you prepare for a successful trip. Our visitor center staff are a knowledgeable resource that help you in person and online through our two Visitor Centers: the Marvin B. Gameroff Hiker Center in Waterbury Center and Barnes Camp in Stowe. Our education staff provide free or low-cost workshops and programs to build your outdoor experience level and increase your knowledge of the outdoors.
The most popular summits, ponds, and overnight sites on the Long Trail are staffed with folks knowledgeable about the surrounding area and sustainable hiking practices. This includes how to best protect some of the endangered alpine plants, where you can camp, and where the best water sources are.
We know that enjoying the outdoors is important to everyone for different reasons, and all trail users deserve to feel at home and comfortable in the woods. We strive to foster a robust, inclusive hiking community and build strong connections to Vermont’s natural landscape.
GMC is a membership organization, with 9,500 members from Vermont and beyond who support the club’s operations and trail work.
The club’s 14 regional sections offer guided hikes and other outings. Each section maintains a portion of the trail and leads regular work trips and trainings to foster an active and capable volunteer corps.
GMC staff, members, volunteers, and partners provide educational workshops and inspiring speaker series, social opportunities, hiking advice, trail magic, and outings that cultivate a spirit of volunteerism and love for the outdoors.
- Sustainable Trail Work
- Adapting to Climate Change
- Building an Inclusive Community
2023-2028 Strategic Plan coming soon
2017-2022 Strategic Plan
The mission of the Green Mountain Club is to make the mountains of Vermont play a larger role in the life of the people. We are committed to ensuring the GMC and Long Trail System are places that are inviting, safe, and open, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.
The Green Mountain Club and Long Trail System are located on land which is the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples including the Western Abenaki. This land has served as a site of meeting and exchange among Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. We recognize and respect them as the traditional stewards of these lands and waters, whose presence continues to enrich our community. We strive to respect and protect the lands within our use.