The Northern Forest Canoe Trail has welcomed three new faces to its team: Adirondack Race Coordinator Jordanna Mallach, and board members Brandon Devito and Jess Wilson.
“With interest in paddling and outdoor recreation at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever for the NFCT to make sure we’re being good stewards to the woods and waters that connect us and strong partners to the communities we serve,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “Brandon and Jess bring incredible experience and knowledge to our board — something that’s absolutely critical to an organization with a small staff and a vast region to work across. Jordanna’s resume speaks for itself and she will be an invaluable resource for the paddling and racing community in the Adirondacks.”
Jordanna Mallach moved to New York’s North Country in 2006. She has served in the National Guard for nearly 20 years, and is currently town supervisor for Harrietstown, which encompasses part of Saranac Lake. As Adirondack Race Coordinator, Mallach will work with the NFCT team and volunteers to manage logistics for the four races the Northern Forest Canoe Trail took over from Brian and Grace McDonnell and the Adirondack Watershed Alliance: the ‘Round the Mountain, Celebrate Paddling Invitational, the 90-Miler and Long Lake Long Boat Regatta.
“Paddling is a great way for anyone of all ability levels and ages to enjoy the outdoors,” Mallach said. “I am excited to get more people out on the water to experience this great place I get to call home.”
Brandon Devito hails from Saranac Lake, NY, and works as a craft beer salesperson across northern New York; prior to that, he managed a music venue and worked as an outdoor guide, with bartending gigs scattered in between. He’s a diehard paddler and long-time participant in Adirondack region canoe races.
“During paddling season, I spend as much time as possible on the waters of the Adirondacks, and a big chunk of that time is spent on and near the Northern Forest Canoe Trail,” Devito said. “I’m honored to have a chance to use my experience to give back to the outdoor spaces that are so foundational to my life.”
Jess Wilson of Glen, NH, is director of volunteer-led camps and cabins at the Appalachian Mountain Club, where she has worked for 19 years. She’s served on several New Hampshire-based boards, including New Hampshire Public Radio’s Community Advisory Board and the New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging Association; she has volunteered with her local community food pantry for 10 years.
“I’m enthused to see NFCT merge with the human-powered recreation efforts that are becoming a more prevalent force in our regional economy,” Wilson said. “I’m particularly inspired by the role of volunteers and nonprofits in preserving and maintaining access to the outdoors with the aim of building a community with a deep connection to the natural environment.”
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, NY, 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.