Matt Chaput - Ridgerunner
Matt was raised in the great burbs of Boston, and wound up going to an agricultural high school where he studied environmental technology. After that he had a great need to travel to the northernmost lands of Vermont for school to study Circumpolar Conservation and live life on the farm at Sterling College. He is an Eagle Scout and loves the cold, snow and ice, and expeditionary trips into the chilly Vermont winters.
Geoff Miller - Ridgerunner
Hello everyone! I'm geOff. I currently exist in Warren, Vermont but that can change at any time. In the last 13 years or so I have lived in Connecticut, Vermont, Alaska, Colorado, Antarctica, New Zealand, along the AT, on the banks of the Mississippi, and many other various places for a couple weeks here and there. I have a degree in Business Management which I don't make much use of. Mostly I try to find jobs that bring me to different parts of the world and allow me to meet many interesting people. My free time is spent hiking, biking, running, competing in races and triathlons, snowboarding, XC skiing, paddling, pretty much anything I can do outside, and of course eating avocados. I can't forget to mention that I am recently married to my wife Danielle, who you will probably see out on the trail with me sometime later in the summer.
Alex Dube - Ridgerunner
I am originally from Groton, Massachusetts, and first discovered the love of the outdoors running around outside. As a teenager I was a Boy Scout, which included an introduction to the joys and pains of backpacking as well as the joys and pains of knee socks. These days I am going into my junior year at St. Michael's College in beautiful Vermont, where I am part of the fabulous St. Mikes Wilderness Program. I would describe my main passions as hiking, cycling and skiing, napping and wearing sandals in the winter. To sum myself up, I will leave you with this gem from my trail journal that I wrote in the Pemigewasset Wilderness: pepperjack cheese+pepperoni+the outdoors = the meaning of life!
Nathan Bliss - Ridgerunner
Hello everyone! I am looking forward to being part of the Ridgerunner team this summer season with the AMC. Having thru hiked the AT in 1999 and 2004 I am once again looking forward to getting out on the trail and especially being an ambassador for the AMC. I look forward to meeting all the great people the Appalachian Trail brings out and being as helpful as I can to everyone. So if you see me on the trail stop and say hello! See you on the trail!
Nick Vitelli - Ridgerunner
I am currently a student at UMass Amherst and will be entering my senior year this fall 2007. I am studying Geosciences and if all goes well, I will be graduating in Spring of 2008. I grew up in the small town of Ashburnham, Massachusetts, where I began my pursuit of enjoying the outdoors. I backpack a lot in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. My favorite hike to do is the Presidential Traverse. I have recently become more interested in mountaineering, and completed my first NOLS course in the summer of 2006. I love to climb mountain and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors. Other than hiking, I try to keep myself in shape by cycling. Hope to see you all on the trail and happy hiking.
Connor Young - Trail Crew Leader
Hey, I'm Connor and I live in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I am a student at UMass Amherst where I study Natural Resources Studies with an interest in Wildlife Conservation. I love music, art, skiing, hiking, kayaking, hangin' out with my dog, and spending time with great people. Couldn't be more excited to be outdoors this summer and I can't wait to meet you all.
Ben Turati - Trail Crew Leader
Hey all, my name is Ben. I am a recent graduate of Unity College with a major in Parks Management, Recreation, and Ecotourism and a minor of studies in Adventure Therapy. I have been working trail crews since 9th grade and haven't turned back since. I love everything and anything I can get into that revolves around the great outdoors. As an 8th season employee of the Parks field, I look forward to supervising, advising, and socializing with the 2007 season folks.
Patrick Maguire - Trail Crew Leader
Hey everyone! Don't tell anyone I was late posting a bio...shhhh.
I grew up and still live in the Boston area and for the last two years have worked in the education field on the North Shore. Coming from the city my first exposure to the outdoors were via family trips to the White Mountains. When I can't makeit all the way up there I enjoy day hikes on the Fellsway and Blue Hills. My big goal this summer is to do a Presidential Traverse. I am looking forward to meeting everyone out here in the Berks and getting out on the trail!
The Appalachian Mountain Club hires five Ridgerunners to patrol the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut and Southern Massachusetts. Ridgerunners are a resource to hikers and trail users, as well as an important educational tool to protect the ecosystem and natural resources of this section of the Appalachian Trail. Ridgerunners patrol an 80+ section of trail, spending ten days out in the field each hitch. A Ridgerunner typically hikes between five and fifteen miles a day, performing caretaking duties at designated camping areas and talking with hikers and groups all along the way. Their hard work is rewarded with hiking through one of the most beautifully diverse sections of the AT.
I hope you'll get out and join the Ridgerunners on this unique section of trail. I also hope you get the opportunity to meet Nathan, Nick, Geoff, Alex, or Matt. They are a great resource, fun to be around, and enthusiastic about the trail. Here's to a great 2007 Ridgerunner season!
There are currently 14 active Alpine Stewards with a variety of backgrounds. However, they all share one common interest: preserving the alpine environment along Franconia Ridge through visitor contact, alpine trail maintenance, assisting with the efforts of the AMC Research Department, and much more. There is one Alpine Steward, based at Greenleaf Hut, which hikes the ridge between Lafayette and Lincoln each weekend that Greenleaf Hut is open.
For the 2007 training we all met at the trail head the morning of May 12 and hiked to Greenleaf Hut. The majority of the active Alpine Stewards were able to attend. In addition to the Alpine Stewards, Alex DeLucia (AMC Vol. Trails Supervisor), Doug Weihrauch (AMC Alpine Botanist), and Jenny Preiss (USFS Pemigewasset Ranger District – Trails) were able to join in and contribute to the training over the weekend as well.
After arriving at the hut we started the training about alpine plant phenology and the monitoring that the Alpine Stewards will be assisting with for the third year, led by Doug. We hiked as a group to the summit of Lafayette on a beautiful day; we had to take a moment to capture a group photo on the summit! Doug also discussed the noticeable winter fir burn and the naturally occurring fir waves visible on Garfield and North Twin.
Back at the Hut, before dinner, we all gathered to share our thoughts and comments about the development of the Alpine Stewardship Program. During this time, Scott shared the history of the Alpine Stewardship Program. Starting in 1980, Guy and Laura Waterman were volunteer maintainers of the Franconia Ridge Trail, from Lafayette to Little Haystack, for 15 years. It was the Watermans’ that started the revolutionary concept of protecting this fragile alpine ecosystem along the ridge. Several year later Scott Monroe, the Franconia-North AMC Region Leader at the time, saw the need for on-site education because of the impacts of high visitor use. In 2000, with the support of the AMC, USFS, the Alpine Stewardship Program was created.
We concluded the evening with a wonderful dinner, conversation, and a brilliantly pink sunset. That next morning, after another wonderful meal, we spent the morning meeting on several training topics and administrative items. We discussed tricks and tips for visitor interaction, the impacts and prevention of impacts from trekking pole use, covered AMC radio use policies, discussed reporting, and summer scheduling.
Before long, we were packed up and ready to head down to the trail head. Several members of the group returned down Old Bridle Path, while others chose to go up and over Lafayette and down the falling Waters Trial. It was a great weekend spent with the Alpine Stewards, the weather was perfect (I actually got a bit sunburned!), the food was fantastic, and the discussions and presentations were informative.
All of the Alpine Stewards are ready for another exciting season on the ridge. Next time you are up on Franconia Ridge, look for these Alpine Stewards, recognizable by their USFS volunteer shirts and the unique Alpine Stewardship hat and vest. Say hello and pick their brains; you are bound to learn something from each of our knowledgeable Alpine Stewards.
Joining us for the beautiful weekend were Scott Monroe (Region Leader, Trail Adopter, Alpine Steward, and more), George Brown (Region Leader, Trail Adopter, and Information Volunteer), James David Christmas (Trail Adopter), Julie LaPage (Volunteer Vacations volunteer, and Trip Leader for AMC Boston Chapter), Steve Klauck (Volunteer Vacations volunteer and past ADK volunteer), William Patrick (Volunteer Vacations volunteer and volunteer for Norfolk Land Trust, CT), Jim Pelletier (active AT maintainer in western MA), and Bill Brodnitzki (Volunteer Vacations volunteer, AT corridor monitor, and volunteer for Norfolk Land Trust, CT). All eight are now officially Volunteer Crew Leaders for AMC trail work parties.
We had two full days covering AMC program policies, Camp Dodge, emergency action plans, radio use in the White Mountains, leadership styles and techniques, work party preparation, driver training, tool safety, and much more. This interactive program allowed the participants to strengthen their leadership and trail work teaching skills and learn the specifics about managing groups of volunteers on trips. All of the participants left this program with the knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm to lead or co-lead Volunteer Trail Crew programs based out of Camp Dodge, Baxter or Acadia. Highlights included Bill Brodnitzki wonderfully illustrating the proper technique of digging and utilizing a cat hole, a moose meandering through Camp Dodge, and a spectacular sunset in which Mt. Jefferson cast a shadow in pink sky.
The weekend was concluded by reviewing the calendar of programs for the 2007 season. As a result of this training each new Trails Volunteer leader will lead or co-lead a few one-two day programs, or at least one week-long crew in the 2007 season. Please look out for these folks on your next AMC work party!
I am very honored and humbled to be selected Trail Volunteer of the Month.
Twenty-seven years ago a high school friend and I climbed Mt. Washington on hot summer day with the improper clothes and food. For the following ten years I improved my techniques and I hiked mountains in New England, southern Appalachians and reach the summit of Mt. Rainier. I found hiking to be physically challenging and spiritually gratifying.
In 1980 I became an AMC trail adopter for Chandler Brook Trail and the next year the Wamsutta Trail. I found being a trail adopter gave me reason to return to mountains, to give back to the trails and to get new volunteers involved with trail work and experience the mountain environment.
My life has been enriched by the passionate Trail and Alpine Stewards that I have meet in the seventeen years that I have been involved with AMC Trails Department.
As being the Wamsutta & Chandler Brook Trail Adopter for eleven years, Northern Franconia Region Leader for nine years, Northern Presidential Co-Region Leader for two years, Crawford Path Co-Adopter for three years, initiated the USFS - AMC Alpine Stewardship Volunteer Program to realization, Alpine Steward for nine years, and Club wide Trails Committee Chair for three years, I have meet so many wonderful people who have volunteered and worked to protect our mountain trails and ecology for future generations.
To quote two great trail stewards, Guy and Laura Waterman in Wilderness Ethics, "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." UNLESS - The paraphrase quote comes from Dr. Suess's The Lorax.
Get out and volunteer!
As you can see from some of the photos Dodge was still buried under snow as late as April 23rd. The tree that had blown down in the driveway caused quite a stir as well. Since then, the warm temps, some rain, and sunny skis had cleared out the snow rather quickly. Even Wildcat Ski Area stayed open until the 29th!
On Monday the 30th Ali (Projects Coordinator) and I headed over to Dodge to turn on the water and start to open up the camp. Over this past week we had help from a few volunteers. A long time Adopter of the Direttissima Trail, John Hicks, and his friend Ron stayed at Dodge for 2 days to help us open. John and Ron helped take of the winter shutters, clean out volunteer bunkhouses, and open up the kitchen. On Wednesday, another Adopter and Region Leader of the Royce-Baldface region, George Brown was able to help out as well. With George’s help, Ali and I were able to get all of the staff tents up on the platforms around the camp. By the end of the day, George, John, and Ron were able to tie down and secure all of the tents until the summer staff arrive.
A big thank you to the three volunteers that helps us open up
Camp Dodge for the summer season. It was fairly ambitious to open Camp Dodge for this May 5-6 program in one week, but we were able to make it happen. Camp Dodge will be open to all Trails Volunteers and Trail Adopters as of Friday, May 11, 2007. Please remember to call ahead to notify us of the number nights, number of people, and any meals that would be needed.
Thanks again, and I hope to see you around Camp Dodge or out on the trails.
John P. Brunner
Mid-Atlantic Recreation Planner: Bethlehem, PA
Dear fellow hikers and outdoor enthusiasts:
I came on board as the AMC Mid-Atlantic Recreational Planner in July 2010 and my primary responsibility is to extend the NY/NJ Highlands Trail into
White Mountain Trails Supervisor, White Mountains, NH
Kris KeblerRoving Conservation Crew Supervisor, White Mountains, NH
Backcountry Resource Conservation Manager: White Mountains, NH
I have always believed in productive hard work and the power of communication, and have always felt most myself when in the woods of the White Mountains. Thus it's no surprise I became a backcountry caretaker for multiple years and seasons, from our AMC campsites to the rugged Mahoosuc range to the Randolph Mountain Club's frosty Gray Knob in winter. The work that caretakers accomplish as stewards, from trail reconstruction to campsite rehabilitation to human waste management to visitor education, is important work and I am thrilled that managing both the Backcountry Campsite program and the caretakers who staff it are now my full time job.