Are you looking for a way to make a positive impact on the trail? If you have some free time this summer, why not join the Volunteer Long Trail Patrol? Meet new people of all ages and backgrounds while working and living on the trail. Learn how to build and maintain hiking trails – or, if you’re already an experienced trail maintainer, practice your skills on some neat projects.
Last year, GMC’s Volunteer of the Year was an exceptional VLTP member, Beatrice Bonetti, who volunteered for all five weeks of VLTP:
On the afternoon of June 29, 2017, a commuter bus stopped at the Mount Tabor Country Store in Mount Tabor. Beatrice Bonetti, nineteen, stepped off and stood on Vermont soil. It was her first visit to the United States.
From her home near Bologna, Italy, Beatrice had researched summer volunteer programs organized by Volunteers for Peace (VFP), which connects volunteers with work programs all over the world. VFP has helped the Green Mountain Club find international volunteers for the Volunteer Long Trail Patrol (VLTP) for several years. Most volunteers join the patrol for a week or two, but Beatrice decided to register for the whole 2017 season: five weeks on projects along the Branch Pond Trail in the southern portion of the Green Mountain National Forest.
As Beatrice worked alongside other volunteers and VLTP staff in July she learned about backcountry living, puncheon building and trail relocation. Other volunteers came and went, but Beatrice stayed, helping staff restock supplies between work sessions and becoming a close friend of Mary Beth Herbert, the patrol’s leader. She learned operations so well that she effectively became an additional GMC staff member, guiding new volunteers each week.
When told early in the season that her stint in the patrol was exceptionally long, Beatrice seemed puzzled: “Why wouldn’t I come for all five weeks?” This expressed the essence of her volunteer spirit: though she could have worked just a week, she chose to dedicate most of her summer to maintaining trails in Vermont, a place she had never been.
The point of the Volunteer Long Trail Patrol is not merely trail maintenance. At its core, the patrol joins volunteers in a celebration of community. It offers a chance for all of us to take time out of ordinary life to work together, create and strengthen friendships, and contribute to the Long Trail System. We thank Beatrice for joining the Volunteer Long Trail Patrol, becoming a part of our trail community, and leaving her imprint on the Branch Pond Trail.
We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Volunteer Long Trail Patrol. See dates and details and apply.