As I am flipping the pages of a quickly molding journal (not a Rite in the Rain which I discovered a while ago is the way to go in the outdoor environment, www.riteintherain.com) I realize there is much to catch up on. As this is the hectic(er) time, I’ve got to take a breathe and say: “easy does it, one post at a time”. So, chronological order will take me back to some April scouting adventures with Bill Schomburg, an avid NFCT supporter with great knowledge of the trail, especially eastern Vermont and New Hampshire sections. Fortunately for me, he is kind enough to share the detailed knowledge that he has earned first hand. We had a whirl-wind of an excursion straight from an Island Pond Kiosk Committee meeting, to jumping into a canoe on the CT River in Maidstone, VT, with many points in between.
Bill by the way is currently looking for someone to do the NFCT with in it’s entirety. It sounds as though he plans to go with the flow with periodic breaks from the trail to, but would like to do it all in a season. Anyone interested in joining him should send him an email at [email protected]. I’d vouch for him. He is an outdoor/canoe enthusiast with a good spirit.
So, we stopped at the site of the Bloomfield Kiosk. A piece of land on the Belknap property. Bill told me of all the good that Sherry Belknap had done; his landowner philosophy regarding public use of his land, the work that he personally put into making the kiosk site/parking area at the Bloomfield River access point. I put Sherry on the long list of people I wish I had the opportunity to meet. He passed away in the beginning of this year. It is my understanding that his family shares and upholds his philosophy and I look forward to having the opportunity to meet them sometime. It is landowners like the Belknaps that make our ability to enjoy the full scope of this trail a possibility. They should be constantly celebrated.
From there we headed to the campsite near the Maine Central RR Trestle. Bill told a heartbreaking story of vandalism in which the picnic table at the site got thrown in the river. Fortunately it washed up downstream, and he was able to salvage it with a friend. It is always disheartening to see or hear of vandalism. It reminded me of a recent site-visit in New York where myself and Dan Levy of the DEC scoped out this year’s Waterway Work Trip (WWT) at the Franklin Falls area. He was showing me the site where we will be putting in a stone staircase when we noticed a campsite that was trashed with beer cans everywhere. There were rectangle outlines of snow on the recently thawing spring ground showing where the vandals slept just hours before. Seeing a piece of plastic corrugated outhouse roof next to the fire ring made Dan quickly work his way to where an outhouse once stood. This was one of those times where it felt like stewardship efforts had taken two steps forward and one step back. All we can do in these situations is realize that we are still a step ahead and making progress. Education and allowing people the opportunity to grow a bond with the environment will win through in the end, I’m sure.
Bill checking how the outhouse at the Trestle Campsite has held up to the winter.
Next stop: Ray Lovell’s property. This is the site of our VT/NH WWT on the CT River. Ray is another landowner who loves to see others enjoy his land. His property is in a strategic location on the CT River, helping to break up the paddle from the Trestle Site 10 miles to the north and the Normandeau Site 10 miles to the south and east. It is a beautiful spot on the inside tip of a large meander in the CT River with a nice sand beach deposit nearby and a fairly consistent breeze keeping the bugs down. Ray asked that we name the site the Samuel Benton Campsite after a deceased relative who had a large impact on his life and the property the campsite will be on.
We hit the river to find other small stewardship projects that we could add to the WWT as the group will make it’s way to Groveton. Getting about 10 miles in on the river and having the opportunity to continue to pick Bill’s brain about the area was great way to finish up a day.
The route that Bill and I traveled.
The CT River WWT has recently filled up with volunteers. Scouting this section with Bill made me very excited for the event to take place. We still have room on our NY WWT taking place at the Franklin Falls area, if anyone would like more details let me know: [email protected]. You can also register on-line at our website.
More to come…………………