Staff & Board
Headquarters: Waitsfield, Vermont
Karrie Thomas, Executive Director
Before joining NFCT in 2014, Karrie worked in various nonprofit management roles to foster strong economic, social and ecological communities. She began her nonprofit career in 2000 as Program Director at the Community Alliance with Family Farmers in California’s Central Valley, where she helped build a statewide Community Food Systems program. She spent several years consulting for food and farming organizations, helping develop food and farming related programs and funding before taking a position at Placer Land Trust to build a community outreach program that raised the organization’s public profile and improved its fundraising. She grew up exploring the forests and mountains of the Northeast. Her passion for the outdoors ‐ and its capacity for recreation of the mind, body, and spirit – has its roots here. In college, she fell in love with kayaking and multi‐day trips on remote waterways and has remained dedicated to rivers and river travel ever since. She is thrilled to have moved “back home” with her husband and two small children.
Walter Opuszynski, Trail Director
Walter has been building, designing, and managing trails throughout New England and the Northern Forest for 20 years. He was educated at Unity College in Maine, focusing on education, land management and the natural sciences. He has been the Trail Director for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail for nine years. In addition to managing trail infrastructure, he has developed a management system for the corridor that accommodates sustainable use while retaining the natural character the waterways and portages are known for. Corridor management also includes working with diverse landownership and fostering trail integration with the communities along the route. Walter loves to paddle, play in a wooden bat baseball league and is famous for the sandwich named after him at the Village Grocery Deli in Waitsfield, Vermont.
Marthe Peterson, Office Manager
Marthe joined NFCT in 2015 and while an ocean girl at heart, her interactions with the NFCT community helped her quickly understand the draw of the Northern Forest. Marthe’s background is in corporate marketing but she much prefers managing the NFCT office and learning something new about the trail every day. Growing up on the beaches of Massachusetts and living in Bermuda for eight years, she surprisingly lives on the Mad River in Vermont with her husband, two children and so many pets.
Mike Lynch, New York Outreach Coordinator
Mike joined the NFCT staff part-time in December 2015, but had been a volunteer already for several years and thru-paddled the trail in 2011. Mike become associated with the NFCT while he worked Mac’s Canoe Livery in the northern Adirondacks, where he led guided trips, worked in the shop, and helped organize 90-Miler canoe and kayak race. In addition to working for the NFCT, Mike also works part-time as a staff writer and photographer for the Adirondack Explorer. Prior to working at the Explorer, he worked for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake as an outdoors writer and photographer. Mike resides in the northern Adirondacks.
Noah Pollock, Vermont Outreach Coordinator, New York, Vermont, Quebec Field Coordinator
Noah hails from Sharon Vermont. In 2007 he earned a Master’s degree from the Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, where he studied sustainable community development and ecological economics. His thesis examined the economic impact of paddler tourism and recreation along the waterways that make up the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Noah was one of our first interns in 2007; has been a Field Coordinator for several summers, assisting with intern and waterway work trip programs; and continues to be a Community Outreach consultant building relationships with business partners in Vermont. An avid paddler and river enthusiast, Noah also assists with the Vermont River Conservancy’s conservation and river access projects, particularly the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail.
Will Jeffries, New Hampshire and Maine Field Coordinator
Will grew up in sunny South Carolina, but was never one for the beaches. Longing for the mountains, he attended the University of Vermont where he lived with a whitewater kayak stuffed into his dorm room. Each summer he traveled to Maine to work as a canoe guide for the Boy Scouts leading trips along the Allagash and Penobscot Rivers. After graduating with a degree in Natural Resource Management, Will spent time working in the west and travelling abroad before returning to Maine. In the spring of 2015 he paddled from Old Forge, NY to Greenville, ME to complete a section paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Will is dedicated to creating recreational opportunities and promoting economic growth in the northern forest, and enjoys working with Maine Huts and Trails in the winter months.
Board of Directors
Alan Stearns, President
Alan H. Bennett, MD, Vice President
Raquette Lake, NY & Durham, NH
Don Hudson, Treasurer
Nicole Grohoski, Secretary
North Potomac, MD