Stewardship Intern Reflects On Rewarding Summer

Griff Keating enjoys his time on the roving crew

Working as a stewardship intern for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail was at times a whirlwind of activity and at other times a peaceful experience. This reflects the rivers that NFCT follows, often slow and meandering, yet occasionally they become turbulent rapids. Looking back at the summer, I cannot decide which I preferred.

NFCT stewardship intern Griff Keating
Griff Keating

During the fifth week, the roving crew’s assignment involved moving a privy 15 miles down the Moose River. It was a gorgeous bluebird day. Peacefully paddling down the river, I thought to myself, “Wow, I am getting paid for this.” Even when the headwinds picked up and I learned that a privy roof acts like a sail when strapped on top of a canoe, I could not believe how lucky I was. Those calm and tranquil times were some of the best.

For the ninth week of the summer, we decided it was time to truly embrace the “roving” aspect of being the roving crew. To do this, we chose to eat and sleep in a new place every day. We worked on the Winooski, Lamoille, Missisquoi and the Saranac rivers that week. We swam in Lake Champlain and the Bolton Potholes, we paddled the Permanent Rapids of the Saranac River and the newly exposed rapids at the former East Highgate Dam. I broke the roof rack of the truck, and almost broke myself running wheelbarrows of gravel down a hill. It was an exhausting, painful, wonderful and satisfying week.

Both the peaceful and hectic times are valuable to me. Without both, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the summer as much as I did. Had it just been the peaceful times, I likely would have grown restless and bored. If it had just been the hectic times, I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the summer in one piece. But thanks to having both, it ended up being one of the best summers of my life.

All 2017 stewardship work done by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail was supported by TimberlandPro.

NFCT stewardship intern Griff Keating
NFCT stewardship intern Griff Keating (left) works with stewardship director Noah Pollock to guide a pair of canoes and work supplies.

Read on

“In Praise of Tent Life” by 2017 stewardship intern James Hart

“Life on the Trail” by 2017 stewardship intern Matt Brabender

NFCT intern bios