MCIAT Annual Meeting

The 23rd Annual Meeting of the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail was held May 18, 19, and 20 at Shin Pond Village and Mt. Chase Lodge.
One of the principle objectives of the meeting was to certify our trail crew volunteers for work on the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. A special chainsaw certification workshop was held Thursday morning and afternoon, leading up to our traditional gathering at the Patten Lumberman’s Museum. The Curator of the museum, Rhonda Brophy welcomed us with an update of work, and especially on the significant impact that the designation of the national monument has had on visitation. Following the designation in late August 2016, the number of visitors to the museum has doubled.
Thursday night’s dinner at Shin Pond Village was followed by a presentation by author Catherine Schmidt on her recently published book – The President’s Salmon: Restoring the King of Fish and its Home Waters. Catherine has chronicled the decline of the historic population of salmon in the Penobscot watershed, as well as the efforts by conservationists, the Penobscot Indian Nation, politicians, and scientists to restore the river to some semblance of its former health and vitality.
The Friday program included an important introduction to the leadership of the new national monument, and expectations for the support and work of volunteers, as well as a series of reports on topics ranging from current management projects in Baxter State Park, a new muscle-pwered, multi-use trail planned for the stretch of national monument and neighboring land from Grindstone Rapids to the Sebois River Gorge east of the East Branch of the Penobscot River. We heard about the efforts of current businesses to support the monument, as well as the status of the Matagamon Dam and the work of the Department of Marine Resources to restore salmon in East Branch.
A highlight of the late afternoon business meeting was the award to Torrey Sylvester, IAT Board Member since 1995, of Honorary Director. Among many other contributions, Torrey secured every one of the IAT lean-tos — 9 of the 10 through outright donations by log home building companies in Aroostook County. Torrey joins Joe Brennan and Bob Nichols as our first Honorary Directors.
Following a sumptuous dinner at Mt. Chase Lodge, Bart DeWolf spoke about the search for the location of historic dams — now long gone — along Wassataquoik Stream, as well as key fords of the stream used by early explorers of Katahdin and the region.
A small group of hikers joined Bob Marvinney for a good walk up Sugarloaf to view the historic geologic site described by Bob Neuman. Neuman’s identification of fossil brachiopods on Sugarloaf as a Europeans species identical to ones found in Ireland and Wales helped launch the theory of plate tectonics to its prominence, explaining the fundamental and dynamic Earth system.
Lastly, thanks to Walter Anderson for finding the speakers and coordinating another productive and enjoyable Annual Meeting.

Scout & Rolling Thunder (RT) Start SOBO IAT Maine

Why in the world would two southbound (SOBO) Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hikers start at the U.S./Canada border crossing in Fort Fairfield, Maine? Well…because both their Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and Continental Divide Trail (CDT) hikes started (and ended) at an international border! Therefore, Barney “Scout” Mann and John “Rolling Thunder” or “RT” Henzell started their AT thru-hike at the northern terminus of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) in Maine – the border crossing in Fort Fairfield – on May 27, 2017. It was a beautiful, sunny spring day in northern Maine, albeit with the typical complement of black flies in attendance. My husband, Kirk, and I met them and Scout’s wife Sandy (trail name “Frodo”) for breakfast at Subway in Fort Fairfield to go over maps and offer some advice.

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!
Thank you to everyone who has been involved with the IAT. Today, we are celebrating 23 years of successfully moving ahead on the idea of "thinking beyond borders" and expanding and improving the International Appalachian Trail.
The vision to build a hiking trail through the northern Appalachian Mountains was proposed at a news conference on Earth Day, April 22, 1994, in Portland, Maine, by former Maine Governor Joseph E. Brennan and Maine conservationists Dick Anderson, Don Hudson, Cloe Chunn and Dick Davies. It was designed as a project that would give Mainers an opportunity to work with and get to know their Canadian neighbors by using the geology of the landscape as a guide to link us together with a narrow walking path.
The plan was to work with New Brunswick and Quebec to develop a hiking trail that followed the Appalachian Mountains, from Maine’s Katahdin to Mount Carleton in New Brunswick and then on to Mont Jacques Cartier in Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsular.
And look at us now! Thank you for your support over the past 23 years. We hope you can continue to be members of this wonderful organization and join us at our annual meeting in Shin Pond on May 18 – 20.

Governor Joe Brennan named as an IAT Honorary Director

On April 10, 2017, we honored Governor Joe Brennan for helping us launch the International Appalachian Trail – on Earth Day 1993. Joe joked about being the puppet for Dick Anderson puppeteer. Herb Hartman, Bob Marvinney, Walter Anderson, and Elizabeth Swain all worked in the Brennan administration. Bill Nichols was at lunch too – our first Honorary Director, and the first treasurer of the IAT in Maine. Thanks, Joe and Bill, for being our first champions and our first Honorary Directors.

The IAT in Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

At their meeting in December, the Baxter State Park Authority closed access to Katahdin Lake along the route from the east while the park evaluates the potential impacts of the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
This decision puts a hold on the use of the trail from Avalanche Field to the park boundary, which the IAT has used for about a dozen years. Anyone who wishes to begin a walk on the IAT at Baxter Peak should plan to leave the park at the Togue Pond gate in the south or the Matagamon gate in the north, although the latter, shorter route eliminates the attractive East Branch Penobscot section of the IAT. Hikers without their own vehicle can find a shuttle service in the greater Millinocket area to ferry them to Mile 12 on the monument’s Katahdin Loop Road, from where they can head north on the IAT. Southbound hikers on the IAT should make arrangements for pick-up at the same point — Mile 12 on the Loop Road — before they enter the national monument. Telephone and internet are available at Shin Pond Village.
The Maine Chapter is updating the IAT Maine trail map and the trail route description, as well as notes about shuttle services, which will be available at the MCIAT website on May 1st or shortly thereafter.
Staff of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument have begun the formal planning process for this newest unit of the National Park Service. The Maine Chapter is well represented in the planning process, and will keep IAT members and friends informed on important meetings and decisions that affect the trail route, campsites, and access to Baxter State Park from the east. A number of potential routes from the national monument into the park will be explored this summer and fall.
Finally, owing to these changes, the Katahdin Brook Campsite will be closed this spring, with plans to move the lean-to to another temporary location while route changes are explored and evaluated.
Anyone planning a hike on the IAT in Maine should be sure to check www.internationalatmaine.org for news and updates on the trail, and www.nps.gov/kaww/ for monument news, maps that show the IAT, access to the Katahdin Loop Road from Stacyville, campsites, and road conditions.

Save the Date! Maine Chapter Annual Meeting

Mark your calendars! May 18 – 20th will be the dates for the Maine IAT Annual Meeting to be held at Shin Pond Village!
There will be a full agenda with presentations on the KWWNM. A full agenda and registration form will be sent soon. For now, be sure to put the dates on your calendar.

Terry of Shin Pond Village has become a supporter of KWWNM

The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is already spurring small business growth and helping the Katahdin region heal.
As the owners of Shin Pond Village, my husband Craig and I can attest to the monument’s positive economic impact. In September and October, we got our first real glimpse at what a monument can mean for nearby businesses and communities. More people than ever were calling us to ask about the monument and book space with us and spend dollars that flow through our small business into those of our neighbors and our community.

Alaska – Yukon IAT Chapter?

On February 1 2017, Our President Don Hudson and I travelled to the University of Maine at Farmington to attend Natural Sciences Seminar entitled; "The Geobiological Insights into the Tectonic Evolution of North America" and "Tectonics of Western North America: Late Paleozoic and Through Time"; by Dr. Justin Strauss of Dartmouth College.
Recent Arctic research including extensive field mapping, enhanced techniques in radiometric dating, paleomagnetic surveys and recent microfossil correlations in the Arctic by Dr. Strauss and his colleagues revealed evidence that as the super continent of Pangea drifted into Earth’s northern latitudes, subsequent Arctic plate rotation dislocated a piece of Appalachian terrane from northeast North America, and repositioned it, east-west, along the north slope of Arctic Alaska and the Yukon! Astonishing!
Dr. Straus’ presentation was formally delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in 2016. His research included collaboration and review from Arctic geologists from: The Yukon Geological Survey; University of Iowa; British Columbia Geological Survey; United States Geological Survey; Geological Survey of Norway; and the Geological Survey of Canada. Our thanks to geologists Doug Reusch (IAT Member) And Julia Daly (IAT Board) of the Geology Department at UMF for hosting the seminar and inviting Don & I to this amazing event.

Restoration Leadership Award goes to Dick Anderson

IAT Founder Dick Anderson received a Restoration Leadership Award from RESTORE: The North Woods at a ceremony on Wednesday, December 7th, at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine. Former colleague at the Department of Conservation Jeff Pidot made special note of Dick’s work to launch the Land for Maine’s Future program in the final days of his tenure as Commissioner of the Department, in addition to the founding of the IAT a few years later. Also recognized at the ceremony with Restoration Leadership Awards were journalist and environmental organizer Lance Tapley, especially for his work to create the Bigelow Preserve, and ecologist Janet McMahon for spearheading the development of Maine’s Ecological Reserve program. The Quimby Family received special recognition for their work to establish the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, and RESTORE Maine Director Jym St. Pierre made a special tribute to the late Phyllis Austin for her lifetime of environmental journalism and advocacy.

Thinking Beyond Borders Presentation

IAT Founder Dick Anderson, Chief IAT Geologist Walter Anderson, and IAT Council Co-chair Don Hudson told the story of the trail to a good crowd at Ocean View at Falmouth on Friday, remembering especially how the idea just popped into Dick’s head in October 1993, and was rolled out by Dick, Joe Brennan, and Don on Earth day 1994.

Don and Dick presented Bill Nichols with a certificate appointing him as an Honorary Director of the IAT Maine Chapter in recognition for the work he did as Treasurer in the early years of the IAT.