We are happy to announce that Keegan Tierney has joined the Green Mountain Club as our Director of Field Programs!
Keegan’s life-long love for trails began in his youth hiking Mt. Abraham here in his home state of Vermont. After getting hooked on trail work on the Cumberland Trail in Tennessee, his first project on the Long Trail was during his senior year at UVM leading an Orientation TREK trip to construct a privy. After getting his B.S. in Wildlife Biology he spent a few years roaming the west before returning to Vermont to work for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) in 2005. There, as Director of Operations, he worked with a broad partner network around the state (including the GMC) to identify, plan, and implement trail construction and maintenance projects with VYCC Crews. In addition to his VYCC career, he has spent time working as a lead carpenter for a building company, a cabinet maker, and a ski-bum.
In his role as Director of Field Programs Keegan works closely with all GMC staff and sections to ensure the maintenance, improvement, and construction of trail within the Long Trail system including the AT from Maine Junction to the New Hampshire border and the NEK trails.
Join us in welcoming Keegan to GMC at the beginning of a busy field season! We have both new and familiar faces in our backcountry caretaker program, our professional and volunteer Long Trail Patrol crews, and our construction crew. Below is an overview of what each program will be doing this season.
We will have 16 full-time backcountry caretakers this season, thanks to funding from individual donors, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Forest Service, Mount Mansfield Co-Location Corporation, Killington Resort, Smugglers’ Notch Ski Area, Stratton Mountain Resort, and Sugarbush Resort.
Caretakers will be stationed at Stratton Mountain summit, Stratton Pond, Griffith Lake, Little Rock Pond, the Coolidge Range, Mount Abraham, Camel’s Hump, Mount Mansfield, and Sterling Pond. Alpine zone stewardship on Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield will carry on as we educate hikers about Vermont’s fragile mountaintop ecosystems. Caretakers will also maintain trails, manage composting privies, and spread awareness of Leave No Trace principles.
Long Trail Patrol
Now in its 87th year, the Long Trail Patrol will work from late June through mid-October. Much of the patrol’s work will be repair and prevention of erosion on the Sterling Pond Trail, the Bucklin Trail, the Frost Trail, and the Long Trail near Tillotson Camp.
The crew will spend a week replacing puncheon at the top of Mount Mansfield’s Hellbrook Trail. They will spend two weeks in Breadloaf Wilderness replacing a rotten log staircase on the LT south of Silent Cliffs and relocating a short stretch of the trail north of Boyce Shelter. The Patrol will end its season on the Vermont Appalachian Trail near Pomfret, mowing open areas reclaimed in past seasons.
Volunteer Long Trail Patrol
Our valiant Volunteer Long Trail Patrol will spend six weeks on the Green Mountain National Forest: four weeks rehabilitating the Branch Pond Trail near and in Lye Brook Wilderness; and two weeks near the Massachusetts border rehabilitating the LT north of Consultation Peak. This year’s volunteers live as close to us as just down the road from headquarters, and as far away as Florida and Missouri.
Kurt Melin will lead this year’s construction crew in his tenth field season with the GMC. The crew will:
- Set footings and build an accessible moldering privy for Tucker Johnson Shelter, destroyed by fire a few years ago and originally planned for replacement in 2017. Volunteers will build a new shelter this summer and fall.
- Repair the floor of Cowles Cove Shelter, improve the privy, and build a tent platform, thanks to a recent generous donor.
- Begin demolition of Beaver Dam Camp at Wheeler Pond to prepare for a future rebuild.
- Build an accessible moldering privy at Clarendon Shelter to replace the pit privy.
Community service trips, including college orientation groups and outing clubs, high school classes, summer camps, and local businesses, will work on a variety of projects, such as cleaning water bars, packing bark mulch to privies, and packing out demolition debris. Several national organizations will join this year, including the Wilderness Volunteers and the Sierra Club Military Outdoors Program.