The NFCT returned to Valcour Island this summer to continue an effort to overhaul and upgrade outdoor recreation infrastructure on the historic Lake Champlain island.
The NFCT’s professional trail crew — which consists of a stewardship director, field coordinator and paid interns — teamed with volunteers to enhance and protect more campsites and access points on Valcour. This summer’s work focused in particular on a paddler campsite on the island’s southern tip.
“Valcour Island is an incredible destination for paddlers, campers, anglers and history buffs,” said NFCT Stewardship Director Noah Pollock. “Last summer we set out to improve amenities for users and reduce the environmental impact of the heavy recreational use that the island sees. This year’s work represents a continuation of our commitment to further enhancing and protecting this jewel of Lake Champlain.”
The work performed in June was carried out in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) with support from Athletic Brewing, a key corporate partner of the NFCT. The project centered around a campsite on the south end of Valcour Island, where a landslide had wiped away an old set of access stairs. NFCT staff and volunteers installed a new set of stone stairs — 35 steps total — that lead up to the campsite. New tent pads were also constructed.
“We were also able to remove an old dock that had washed up years ago on the north end of the island,” Pollock said. “Three prior attempts to remove it had failed, and we were finally successful this year thanks to some hard work and ingenuity.”
“It was great to have so many volunteers join us for this work,” Pollock added. “Our professional staff is effective and efficient, but also limited in size — with just five of us, we really rely on local volunteers to carry out these projects. We’re also grateful to the DEC for being such a strong, consistent partner.”
Last summer on Valcour, the NFCT removed rotting privies from campsites, reconstructed crumbling fire pits, and removed old docks and debris.
As the only dedicated water trail crew in the Northeast, the NFCT’s stewardship crew specializes in projects at the interface of land and water, including campsites, portage trails and access points. While the NFCT route passes to the north of Valcour Island, in recent years, the NFCT has also been working on stewardship projects connected either by proximity or shared water bodies, including Valcour Island.
To learn more about the NFCT’s stewardship work, contact Noah Pollock at noah@northernforestcanoetrail.