“Each stewardship season presents us with challenges, and this year was certainly no different,” said NFCT Stewardship Director Noah Pollock. “Our work this summer included the construction of access steps at take-outs and put-ins, building ADA-compliant privies, improving campsites and more — all aimed at ensuring that the canoe trail is safe and accessible for public use.”
Vermont stewardship work was supported by the Vermont River Conservancy, the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers Wild and Scenic Committee, RiseVT, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, the town of Johnson and the Lake Champlain Basin Program. Projects included:
- Construction and installation of an ADA accessible privy along the North Branch Cascades Trail, a one mile walking path providing access to the North Branch of the Winooski River
- Reconstruction of a set of 20 stone steps providing access to the Missisquoi in the town of Richford, and construction of a small stage and set of benches for a new riverside park
- Improvements to the Doe Campsite along the Missisquoi River, including a box privy, signage, and trail maintenance
- Installation of river access steps and a kiosk in Johnson and construction of a primitive campsite along the Lamoille River
- Repairs to the Francis Smith River Access along the Connecticut River in Lemington
“The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is an incredible natural resource, connecting communities across the Northern Forest socially and economically,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “Taking care of the streams, rivers, ponds and lakes that comprise the trail is foundational to our mission. COVID-19 presented our stewardship crew with unprecedented challenges for this season. We took great care to put the health of our staff, interns and volunteers at the forefront while still delivering great access.”
NFCT staff provides leadership, training and education for the summer stewardship crew, which consists of paid interns and volunteer trail maintainers.
“Our stewardship work represents a commitment to maintaining an exceptional recreational experience, while also supporting healthy waterways and engaged communities,” Pollock said.
NFCT stewardship work is also supported by memberships and donations to the Trail Fund, public and private grants and business and corporate sponsorships.
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, New York, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. The trail showcases the mix of landscapes and communities currently lining the traditional routes used by indigenous peoples, settlers, and guides. It is the longest in-land water trail in the nation and consists of 23 rivers and streams, 59 lakes and ponds, 45 communities, and 65 portages.
To learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, visit northernforestcanoetrail.org.