The Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) met for their 2015 Spring Meeting at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine on Saturday, April 11th.
About 90 members came for a day of camaraderie, workshops, recognition and to taste delicious gorp. They allow anyone to come to the annual conclave, so I stopped by myself.
Awards were given to recognize and honor the work and commitment of dedicated MATC volunteers.
The MATC and the Appalachian Trail depend on the stellar efforts of dependable partners, such as:
We especially enjoyed hearing from friends who operate great hostels in Maine: Paul and Jamie Renaud with Appalachian Trail Lodge in Millinocket and our pal, Rebekah Anderson, of The Lakeshore House in Monson.
They all spoke graciously about how recent flocks of thru-hikers appear to believe they're "entitled" to special treatment.
Rebekah, a trained counselor, uses those skills abundantly to help hikers heal emotionally before they head northward into the 100-Mile Wilderness.
I missed the workshop by David Field on "Corridor Monitoring" but I was fortunate to hear MATC President Lester Kenway's presentation about "Maintaining the Trail."
Lester's message on maintaining trails took the better part of an hour to deliver, but the Big Idea he wanted us to remember came down to three words: "Drainage, drainage, drainage."
Other speakers included David Field, a renowned, beloved and indispensable leader with MATC, along with Dave Dobra, Bruce Grant and Laura Flight.
The Maine Appalachian Trail Club, formed 80-years ago, maintains MATC maintains the AT from Katahdin to Maine Highway 26 in Grafton Notch, roughly 267 miles. They also tend to more than 60-miles of related side trails and 40+ campsites.
The leadership of MATC is busy planning events for the future and preparing for meetings that are already on their calendar.
MATC, for example, will host the ATC Biennial in 2017.
They'll do a fine job showcasing the work of MATC and how many more hands are needed to maintain the Trail in the beautiful State of Maine. Interested in pitching in? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Claire Polfus of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy said a grant from the Quimby Foundation helped ATC host the Maine Youth Summit in March. That endeavor was met by an overwhelming response.
The Maine Youth Trails Stewardship Coalition looks forward to hosting another event this May.
Claire Polfus encouraged us to read the ATC's Strategic Plan.
Thanks to Susan Tompkins for her kindness to me at the 2015 MATC Spring Meeting.
Tags: Events, Appalachian Trail, News, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Appalachian Trail Conference, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Conservation, and Hiker Hostels
The Green Mountain Club kicked off its 104th Annual Meeting on Friday, June 13, 2014.
Appalachian Trail events take place from early March until September from Georgia to Maine. It's the best way to see the Trail without getting blisters.