The following is a question-and-answer session done via email with Joseph Defelice of Riverbank Media in East Dorset, Vermont. He created a five-part video series about Northern Forest Canoe Trail waterways in Vermont. The series can be found in our video gallery under trip planning.
Tell us about how the video series came about?
I’ve been intrigued with the idea of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail since its inception, and I have long hoped to paddle some of the waterways. I had wrapped up a previous Riverbank Media video project, and I was looking for an interesting subject for a new one. In my research, I came across the Vermont Forests Parks and Recreation Recreational Trail Program, remembered the NFCT, worked on an idea, and submitted a proposal. We were so fortunate and thankful to receive a grant award allowing us to work on this series and discover the beautiful Vermont waterways of the NFCT firsthand.
What are you trying to accomplish with the video series?
Riverbank Media was created with a mission to educate about rivers and watersheds, and though our focus has changed slightly, rivers are still near and dear to the organization. While many paddlers are content to experience the incredible scenery and challenge of Vermont’s NFCT sections, we felt that visitors could experience a greater connection if they learned more about the area before coming. Our videos offer short glimpses into the natural and human histories along the NFCT in the Green Mountain State, and they share safety and stewardship messages that we hope paddlers can internalize before their trips. It’s our wish that some of our images and information might entice visitors to explore the NFCT in Vermont.
Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is prospective paddlers to the NFCT in Vermont. Our videos are linked here on NFCT’s website, and they are available to visitors as they plan their trips.
What were some of the interesting things you learned while doing research for the videos?
While I’m a lover of nature and adventure first and foremost, the human history I discovered while producing this series was fascinating. Researching for each video uncovered something unique that I hadn’t known, and the old photos were all so interesting. It’s cool to first learn a little about an area, then as you float through it, keep an eye out for old foundations, landmarks, and signs. It’s almost like going on a treasure hunt…in addition to the already breathtaking scenery. You can’t lose!
What were some of your favorite stretches to paddle?
In each of the waterways covered in the videos, I loved:
1. Paddling the Nulhegan between Nulhegan Pond and Wenlock crossing – such a wild place.
2. The Clyde between Island Pond and Five Mile Square Road – narrow and deep through pretty woods
3. The Missisquoi after Abbey Rapids – bald eagles, deer swimming across the river, big pines, and solitude and later, at the confluence with Lake Champlain, what an peaceful, humbling experience…like nowhere else in Vermont.
4. Lake Champlain – paddling around Hen Island north of the North Hero/Grand Isle bridge – looking out across the Inland Sea.