Mt Washington Valley Vibe - Summer/Fall 2020

Page 48

Joe Klementovich photo

TEAMING UP TO TEND TO THE TRAILS by Lynne LaPlante Castonguay

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. - Helen Keller

The White Mountain Trail Collective Turns Its Focus to the Mt. Washington Valley Where do you go to clear your mind, heal your soul, and exhilarate your body? For many of us who live in or visit the Valley, our first thought is a trail. The White Mountain National Forest attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year who use its trails as access points to activities they love. Do you ever wonder, as you approach Thin Air, or hike to Glen Ellis Falls, or don

executive director of the White Mountain Trail Collective (WMTC) explains that no set organization maintains all the trails within the White Mountain National Forest. Trail clubs, formed with groups of like-minded folks who see the importance of trail systems and adopt trail maintenance, have been around for hundreds of years. These clubs, volunteers, and professional crews that are hired by groups all work on a multitude of areas separately or together. The truth is, there are many, many groups working indepen-

no organization that doesn’t need help in some way. The WMTC is a backbone organization that performs essential functions so that individual and club maintainers’ efforts are more efficient. “We come in and add capacity to the amazing work they are already doing,” says Luce. Individual trail maintenance and land management efforts and projects are many, but organizations sometimes struggle to make an impact due to a lack of volunteers (and a larger lack of volunteers with expertise), to achieve funding, hire

your helmet to take on Kettle Ridge, who it is that made that climbing access, hiking, or mountain biking path—and who preserves, maintains, and protects it for us? Often the assumption is that the State of New Hampshire, the National Forest Service, or even the AMC maintain all the trails in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). However, Melanie Luce,

dently to develop, maintain, and repair the plethora of trail systems in the Valley. These organizations are challenged with finding funding and volunteers to achieve their goals; the WMTC wants to help them get those resources and unify them with other groups to fulfill these objectives in the White Mountain National Forest. Luce explains that there is

crews, and purchase tools. In addition, they sometimes lack the knowledge, contacts, and skills to find and obtain available grants. The “Collective” helps them with these challenges and unites them with other groups in a communal effort. “The Trail Collective is not about the Trail Collective. It’s about our partners, trail maintainers, and stewardship,”

The mission of the White Mountain Trail Collective (WMTC) is to preserve the legacy of trail stewardship in the White Mountains Region by supporting and enhancing sustainable care of our trails.