First Annual NFCT Trail Maintainer Jamboree

By Walter opuszynski

The first annual NFCT Trail Maintainer Jamboree just took place at the Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smith’s, New York April 28-29th.  What a great time!  This event is the culmination of years of development and recruitment and the beginning of an exciting new community of stewards.  It was heart warming as so many came together to help us offer a number of good trainings, eat tasty food, and share a paddling experience on the Saranac River.  One main focus of the event was getting resources into the hands of our maintainers, primarily the newly developed NFCT Maintenance Manual produced with funding from REI, as well as getting everyone up and running with the NFCT Trail Maintainer Map Tool and Forum.


Rockney Locey (NY Segment 2) talks about his trail segment while holding the new, water proof, NFCT Trail Maintainer Manual.

Workshops covered a wide variety of topics:

  • Aquatic Invasives with Meghan Johnstone from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP)
  • The DEC Adopt-a-Natural Resource Agreement with Steve Guglielmi
  • Erosion Control with help from NFCT intern alum Brendan Jackson
  • Loading a canoe with Rob Scharges (VT Segment 2 and 3) owner of Vermont Canoe
Meghan Johstone explains the unique characteristics of aquatic and terrestrial invasives.
To top off a full day of workshops we had the pleasure of listening to Mike Lynch of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise talk about his 2011 Through Paddle.  Mike fielded many questions from the group of trail maintainers to help them understand the Trail through the eyes of a Through Paddler.  Afterward we watched the amazing movie that he put together, being astonished by the moose footage and laughing at the dancing geese.

Rob Scharges of Vermont Canoe goes over the finer details of loading tools into a canoe for safe transport.

On Sunday we made our way to the Saranac River, putting in at McCasland Bridge and paddling to the Permanent Rapid take-out.  It was a little chilly with a strong breeze, but we found shelter in the meandering bends and solace on a sunny shore for lunch.

Pamela Mitchell (NH 4) takes in the view of a white-capped Whiteface Mountain.

All this while Brian McDonnell, director of the VIC (as well as owner of Mac’s Canoe and maintainer of NY Segment 5) made sure we were well taken care of.

I already can’t wait until next year’s Jamboree.  If you are interested in joining the Adopt-a-Segment Program and taking part in the fun, let me know (the more the merrier):