Green Mountain Club Raises $4 Million to Protect the Long Trail System
July 6, 2022 — If you’ve spent much time on Vermont’s trails you’ve likely had the experience of heading off on a well-planned hike only to discover that the trail or the weather had other plans. That is what happened when GMC launched our Long Trail Legacy Campaign. In 2019, we embarked on an ambitious campaign to raise $4 million to make investments in the rugged northern Long Trail, improve the Green Mountain Club headquarters for year-round visitors, and provide critical funding to protect portions of the trail in perpetuity.
We had clear goals, a fantastic team of staff and volunteers, and a detailed plan for success. And then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Like any prepared hiker, we adjusted our plans to address the new conditions, but never gave up on our goal.
Today, we are proud to announce that together we have raised a historic $4 million to protect and enhance the Long Trail, one of Vermont’s most valuable recreational, ecological, and economic resources.
The Long Trail Legacy Campaign was anchored by a major gift from David and Nan Rothberg and inspired a record number of gifts from close to 1,000 supporters! We are grateful to all of those who lent their support to the campaign and made it a success.
GMC’s Executive Director, Mike DeBonis said, “In any capital campaign, the focus is naturally on hitting the financial goal. And I am certainly proud of that achievement. But what I am most proud of is how the Club did it.”
Our campaign was steered by a volunteer committee and dedicated staff who repeatedly adjusted plans as the pandemic expanded and changed the way we interacted with one another and communicated with donors. During the first few months of the pandemic, we paused fundraising as the nations’ focus was rightly on public health. We soon discovered that access to the club’s hiking trails had a unique role to play in helping people cope.
The Club experienced a 35 percent increase in the use of the Long Trail and an 80 percent increase in use of overnight shelters since 2020. This illustrated in real time our challenge of meeting the current demand while protecting this irreplaceable resource for future generations.
Nancy McClellan, Long Trail Legacy Campaign Chair, credits Alicia DiCocco, the campaign director; Executive Director, Mike DeBonis; and committee members Lee Allen, Amy Kelsey, Steve Klein, Sheri Larsen, and Martha Stitelman for their enduring commitment to reaching our goal. She further shared, “just like my time hiking on the trail, the campaign stretched me to achieve more than I thought possible and reinforced that amazing things happen when we work together.”
Campaign funds have already been put to work improving the northern Long Trail and permanently protecting portions of the trail. We look forward to keeping the GMC community informed about the exciting results that this historic investment in the Long Trail will produce. Follow GMC on social media or sign up for our email list for the latest on the campaign progress and celebratory events.
Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private non-profit organization with over 9,800 members. The GMC is dedicated to maintaining and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail, Appalachian Trail in Vermont, and the Kingdom Heritage Lands trails in the Northeast Kingdom. Every year more than 1,000 volunteers work so that current and future generations will enjoy the 500-mile Long Trail System. Contact the Green Mountain Club to learn more about the GMC or to become a member.