Well, that was a bit of a span between posts. Sorry about that. The IAT/SIA has had a busy year and posting stories to the website kept falling to the bottom of the to-do list. But that should change soon! Mainly because we’re nearing the completion of an updated website design and we’re all itching to see our stories in the new and improved format.Continue reading
2019 was a busy year for the Sendero Internacional de los Apalaches España.Continue reading
On November 13, IAT Co-Chairs Don Hudson of Maine and Paul Wylezol from Newfoundland joined Ulster Ireland mayors Michaela Boyle (Derry City and Strabane) and Nicholas Crossan (Donegal County) at a meeting with Appalachian Mountain Club President John Judge and Conservation and Recreation Director Heather Clish at their new headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.Continue reading
The IAT Maine Chapter will host a party on the occasion of Dick’s 85th birthday to celebrate all that the International Appalachian Trail has become and all that it will be in the future.Continue reading
For the past six months, the Maine Chapter of the IAT has been working with the developers of the premiere trail guide app, Guthook Guides, to create a digital hiker’s guide of the International Appalachian Trail in Maine and Canada.Continue reading
From June 2 to 7, representatives of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT), Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and Appalachian Trail Museum gathered in Ulster Ireland for an Outdoor Economy Forum to discuss common issues and assist IAT Ulster Ireland develop a world-class trail network.Continue reading
From May 28 to June 2, representatives from IAT Newfoundland and Maine visited Scotland on a 10th anniversary IAT Europe tour which ended in Northern Ireland on June 7 after an Outdoor Economy Forum that also included representatives from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Museum, and Appalachian Mountain Club based in Boston, Mass.Continue reading
On May 2-3, the International Appalachian Trail held a 25th Anniversary Meeting at Shin Pond Village in Northern Maine. The meeting was attended by IAT North America representatives from Maine, New Brunswick, Quebec and Newfoundland, as well as long-distance hikers Nimblewill Nomad (M.J. “Eb” Eberhart), Mother Nature’s Son (John Calhoun) and Ed Talone.Continue reading
Just a concept 25 years ago, the International Appalachian Trail now joins three continents!Continue reading
As happens every spring, a dedicated group of Maine IAT volunteers spent a few days on the trail in the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument clearing winter blowdowns (aka wind-falls or windthrows), checking lean-tos and re-stocking toilet paper in the privies.Continue reading
On September 27-30, IATNL / Cabox Aspiring Geopark Chairperson Paul Wylezol attended the 7th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks at Torquay, England, where he learned more about the UNESCO Global Geopark programme and gave a presentation on next year’s 250th Anniversary of James Cook completing his surveys of Western Newfoundland and Eastern Canada.Continue reading
On September 19 to 25, IAT Ulster Ireland hosted the International Appalachian Trail Annual General Meeting, from Slieve League in County Donegal to Ballycastle, County Antrim. The week-long event included scenic hikes, historic tours, fine dining and tasty beers, all with the great hospitality this beautiful emerald island is renowned for.Continue reading
The 24th gathering for the annual meeting of the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail began at the Patten Lumberman’s Museum at 3:00 pm on Thursday, May 3rd.Continue reading
At the 24th annual IAT Maine meeting, President Don Hudson surprised long-time Board Member and IAT Chief Geologist Walter Anderson with a formal certificate recognizing him as an Honorary Director.Continue reading
On August 24th in 2016, an 87,563-acre plot of land in the heart of Maine was designated the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by former President Barack Obama. Although met with controversy on all sides, the area had yet been explored on a large scale. In September 2017, a team of four Maine-born photographers set out on a three-part journey through Katahdin Woods and Waters to investigate.Continue reading
On Saturday, September 30, the IAT held its annual North America Council Meeting at Joggins Fossil Centre, Nova Scotia, part of Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site. The meeting included chapter updates, website and social media, mapping, international gatherings, and fundraising.Continue reading
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy held the workshop and business component of its 2017 Biennial Conference at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, between Friday, August 4th and Sunday, August 5th. The International Appalachian Trail was well-represented by a North American contingent, including Maine Chapter Board Members Dick Anderson, Don Hudson, Earl Raymond, and Herb Hartman, as well as Poul Jorgensen from New Brunswick and Paul Wylezol from Newfoundland.Continue reading
During summer 2017, the International Appalachian Trail Newfoundland & Labrador in conjunction with Cabox Aspiring Geopark is commemorating the 250th Anniversary of British navigator, surveyor, cartographer and explorer James Cook’s survey of Western Newfoundland, his fifth and final year of Newfoundland surveys and tenth and final year in Eastern Canada.Continue reading
On April 10, 2017, IAT Maine honored former Maine Governor Joe Brennan for helping launch the International Appalachian Trail on Earth Day 1993.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
From October 12 to 15, a small group of Greenland youth from the Uummannaq Peninsula and their Danish leader René Kristensen were in Western Newfoundland to hike sections of the IATNL. They were joined by French film maker Marc Buriot and arrived from St. John`s where they attended an Inuit Studies Conference and screened local Greenland films, including INUK.Continue reading
At the IAT Annual General Meeting in Strabane, Northern Ireland on September 22, IAT Ulster Ireland officials expressed interest in touring sections of IAT Scotland to learn about trail planning and development by their northern neighbour.Continue reading
On November 17, representatives from the International Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Mountain Club and the mayors of Donegal, Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council, Northern Ireland met at the AMC headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.Continue reading
Highlighted by a blaze of fall colors, Board Members of the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail (MaineIAT) traveled along the Mohawk Trail (Rt.2) to Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. to attend the 3-day 35th Annual Gathering of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA).Continue reading
On September 16 & 17, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol was in England visiting the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby and Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton. While there he gave a presentation on the 250th Anniversary of James Cook completing his surveys in Eastern Canada, most noteably in Newfoundland. In the coming years, James Cook 250 will a unique opportunity for the IAT and partner UK National Trails to promote their natural and cultural heritage across the North Atlantic and South Pacific. The visit began … where else? … checking into the Endeavour pub with accommodations in Whitby.
The pub is located just around the corner from the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, which is housed in the 17th century Walker House on Grape Lane. The harbourside house owned by Captain John Walker was where the young James Cook lodged as an apprentice and trained as a seaman. It has a large courtyard overlooking the harbour, where Whitby colliers were once built and set sail for trade in the North and Baltics Seas. It stands 3-stories, with the ground floor furnished according to an inventory of 1754 and the other two floors containing exhibits of Cook related maps, paintings and other artifacts.
Paul was given a tour of the museum by Sophie Forgan, Chairperson of Trustees
before giving a presentation in the new reception area adjacent to the entrance. In addition to maps showing Cook’s survey work in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador it also included excerpts from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Grenfell Campus) History Professor Olaf Janzen’s recent paper entitled The Significance of James Cook’s Newfoundland Years.
From Whitby, Paul travelled to the nearby Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton. The modern museum is located in Stewart Park near the city of Middlesbrough and was built near the location of Cook’s birthplace cottage. It opened October 28, 1978 on the 250th Anniversary of the explorer’s birthday. It houses a variety of exhibits, from Cook’s childhood and formative years in England to his navy and surveying years in Eastern Canada and three voyages of discovery to the Pacific Ocean. Cook’s five years surveying the vast and remote coastline of Newfoundland is recognized as ideal preparation for his role of leading the 1768 voyage to the Pacific to witness the transit of Venus.
As in Whitby, Paul’s presentation focused on Cook’s time in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador and the 2017 James Cook 250 Anniversary celebration planned by the IATNL and Western Newfoundland’s Cabox Aspiring Geopark, to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. After the presentation and Q&A, Paul went on a walking tour of the grounds with Senior Museum Curator Phil Philo and IAT partner Cleveland Way National Trail Manager Malcolm Hodgson, who helped arrange the visit and presentations. Many thanks to Phil and the staff at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, as well as Sophie, Peter and the staff at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby, for the warm welcome and opportunity to present the 250th Anniversary story of Cook in Eastern Canada.
Many thanks also to Malcolm and Memorial University of Newfoundland (Grenfell Campus) History Professor Olaf Janzen for contributing his recent Cook in Newfoundland paper. We hope to see you all again in 2017! For more on the story, go to love Middlesbrough blog.
On August 24, U.S. President Barack Obama used his executive authority to create the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument on land donated to the federal government by entrepreneur and conservationist Roxanne Quimby. More than 87,500 acres of forestland in Maine’s fabled North Woods was designated in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, in a historic but unilateral decision following years of bitter debate.
The new national monument – which will be managed by the National Park Service – will include “the stunning East Branch of the Penobscot River and a portion of the Maine Woods that is rich in biodiversity and known for its outstanding opportunities to hike, canoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, snowshoe and cross-country ski. In addition to protecting spectacular geology, significant biodiversity and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area – together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west – will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.”
“Following years of support from many local and state elected officials, tribal leaders, businesses and members of the public across the state, this designation will build on the robust tradition of growing the park system through private philanthropy, and will reinforce the need to continue protecting our great outdoors as we enter the second century of the National Park Service. The land has been donated to the Federal Government by philanthropist Roxanne Quimby’s foundation, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., facilitated by the National Park Foundation as part of its Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. In addition to the donation of the land, the approximately $100 million gift includes $20 million to supplement federal funds for initial park operational needs and infrastructure development at the new monument, and a pledge of another $20 million in future philanthropic support.”
With the stroke of a pen, Obama created the second national monument in Maine history after Acadia National Park’s precursor – on land east of Baxter State Park in an area facing severe economic uncertainty. The move is likely to delight conservation activists and infuriate local opponents fearful the designation is trading potential industrial-based opportunities in the Katahdin region for mostly seasonal tourism jobs. While organizations such as the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce hope it will lure more tourists and create jobs, opponents warned it could further destabilize a forest products industry struggling to rebound from the closure of the Millinocket and East Millinocket paper mills. Many others have mixed views, seeing significant jobs potential but not in the industry that was once the backbone of the region. Nevertheless, the designation is a substantial yet partial victory for Roxanne Quimby, the wealthy co-founder of the Burt’s Bees product line whose nonprofit, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., donated the land to the federal government this month. Quimby has pushed for years for a full-fledged national park in the North Woods but sought a lesser monument designation because it did not require congressional approval. On August 28, she was joined by Lucas St. Clair and his twin sister Hannah Quimby to host a grand celebration on the shores of Millinocket Lake at New England Outdoor Center’s Twin Pine Camps. The Natural Resources Council of Maine, The Wilderness Society, The Pew Charitable Trust, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Conservation Lands Fund joined Roxanne, Lucas, and Hannah in thanking everyone who contributed to securing the designation of the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument by President Barack Obama. IAT Maine’s Don Hudson, Phine Ewing, Walter Anderson, Elaine and Eric Hendrickson, Lindsay and Michael Downing, Mark and Susan Adams, Bart DeWolf, former board member Eric Horschak, Aaron Meguier, Terry and Craig Hill, and numerous other IAT members and friends were on hand to bask in the great excitement and appreciation sparked by the Quimby family’s generous gift — the largest gift to the people of the United States since the days of John D. Rockefeller and Paul Mellon. The New England Outdoor Center’s Matt Polstein welcomed nearly 300 people to the formal gathering, looking out across Millinocket Lake to Katahdin, shortly after 5:00 pm. Sunday, August 28th. The highlight speeches were made by Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell and Liliane Willens. Secretary Jewell spoke about the significance of the gift to the nation, the importance of land such as this to the health and well-being of all Americans, and the special qualities of the land — the East Branch of the Penobscot, the hiking opportunities — especially the IAT, and the richness of the geologic heritage.
Liliane Willens, Roxanne’s aunt, regaled the crowd with stories about her family’s path from Russia, through Shanghai, to the United States beginning after the Russian Revolution and concluding at the end of World War II. Lily believes Roxanne developed qualities of perseverance, grit, and determination from her maternal grandmother, who had lead the family through much of that trek. When Lucas St. Clair addressed the crowd he too raised a great laugh of appreciation when he spoke about the power and dominance of women in his family, and how at a young age he learned not to second guess either his mother’s wisdom or her determination to get a job done. Lucas was clearly relieved that this particular job was done!
The hard-working staff of NEOC provided the wonderful setting for the gathering, along with delicious food and drink. Dave Mallett and his band took the party deep into the night with an endless serenade for the party-goers. The first 31 miles of the IAT is now on land considered by President Barack Obama to be a national treasure, and we agree!
When Bryson Guptill saw there was interest in the International Appalachian Trail on Prince Edward Island, he decided to try it out for himself. It took him and another six days to finish. “It was very cool”, he said.
Here’s Bryson’s story, as told by Charlottetown’s The Guardian newspaper. The International Appalachian Trail is part of network along the mountain range in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Maine, Greenland and several European countries. In P.E.I., the trail stretches 150 kilometres, including long stretches along the Confederation Trail. It’s an offshoot of the Appalachian Trail, which starts in Georgia, runs more than 3,500 kilometres to Mt. Katahdin in Maine and takes anyone dedicated enough to try it several months to finish.
Guptill said he made a map of what he thought was the International Appalachian Trail route in P.E.I., posted it to the Island Trails Facebook page and watched as interest spiked. Usually the page gets about 100 views in a week, but the map got more than 4,000 in the first day, Guptill said. “I thought holy crap there’s a whole lot more interest in the (International) Appalachian Trail than I had thought about.” Although he had the route mapped, Guptill said he wanted to make sure it was actually passable from start to finish. He said someone he knew had International Appalachian Trail signs someone sent her, but nobody ever placed them. So he took them and decided to walk the entire route.
Guptill walked the trail with an alternating group of people, including Sue Norton who kept him company throughout the entire trek starting in Borden-Carleton on July 6. They stayed in bed and breakfasts along the way, he said. “We thought that would be more fun than coming home.” Guptill said he had biked the trail before, but wanted to try it at a slower pace. “The thing is when you walk it you see so much more,” he said.During the International Appalachian Trail trip the weather cooperated and the temperatures stayed very cool, he said. Guptill also said he learned a lesson in the importance of putting some mileage on his feet before trying such a long hike. “Your feet just will take a pounding,” he said.
On June 20 after some delay, Tom Stevenson, project manager for Scotland’s Mull of Galloway Trail and member of the Rotary Club of Stranraer, became the first IAT representative to receive a British Empire Medal. The presentation was made by Lord Lieutenant of Wigtown Dr John Ross at a Rotary meeting at North West Castle Hotel, Stranraer, and was attended by many of the members who helped create the Mull of Galloway Trail.
In May, Tom and his wife Sheila attended a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, which was also attended by the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and many other members of the Royal Family. All recipients of the BEM are invited to a Royal Garden Party and while residents of Scotland normally go to Edinburgh, Tom and his wife – who previously attended an event at Holyrood Palace – were able to arrange travel to London. They remained for four days and visited the Houses of Parliament (where they saw processions going to and from the State Opening of Parliament) and Royal Mews directly opposite their hotel on Buckingham Palace Road.
Tom first found out about the nomination in November 2015, but kept it secret from family and friends – except his wife – until December 30. “I was surprised and delighted when I found out,” he said. “I hope it will be good for both the trail and the club.”
The Mull of Galloway Trail continues to be well used and the number of website visitors keeps increasing every year. During 2015 the site had over 15,000 unique visitors and over 1,000,000 hits. This spring and summer Tom and his crew were busy doing maintenance and improvements on the trail, with the local Council agreeing to cover many of the costs.
In May 2015, the Rotary Clubs of Stranraer, Ayr, Gourock, and Allander gathered at Milngavie to inaugurate the Firth o Clyde Rotary Trail, a partnership of the Mull of Galloway Trail, Ayrshire Coastal Path and Clyde Coastal Path.
At Milngavie, the 161 mile (266km) IAT Scotland route through the Lowlands meets the West Highland Way, and continues north to Fort William and the Cape Wrath Trail.
Congratulations Tom Stevenson BEM!
… and the Mull of Galloway Trail and Stranraer Rotary!
The International Appalachian Trail continues to draw hikers to northern Maine, offering a tour through varied landscapes and a connection to Canada and beyond.
This summer, the Maine chapter is aiming to reroute 52 miles of the trail that currently is set along roadways in southern Aroostook County. About 65 miles of trail are currently set along a road shoulder.
The roughly 13 miles along Grand Lake Road from Matagamon to Shin Pond is actually “good road walking,” with wide shoulders and few trucks, and that will remain a part of the route, Hudson said. For the other 52 miles, the chapter is working with landowners to reroute the trail from Shin Pond to Monticello, aiming to move the trail to old woods roads and all-terrain vehicle trails. A section they’ve secured will run along the south side of Mount Chase, and offer a link to a trail up the 2,440-foot mountain of the same name.
“The idea is in the long-run to get rid of the bulk of the road walking, and to use a combination of woods roads and paths,” including multi-use ATV trails, said Hudson, the former president of the Chewonki Foundation in Wiscasset.
For more on the story, go to the Bangor Daily News – Maine Outdoors website.
From September 19 to 25, IAT Ulster-Ireland will host the 2016 IAT Annual General Meeting in Strabane, Northern Ireland. The weeklong event begins at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, where the IAT chapter was officially launched in August 2013.
It then moves west to Slieve League and the county of Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, where American Appalachian hiker Cotton Joe Norman began the first IAT Ulster-Ireland thru-hike in September 2013.
The trail starts at the 601 meter (1972 ft) Slieve League on the Atlantic coast then crosses the Blue Stack Mountains before entering Northern Ireland. It then picks up the Ulster Way and passes the Giant’s Causeway on the stunning northern coastline, before traversing the Glens of Antrim.
After Donegal, the AGM schedule moves to Derry/Londonderry for a pre-AGM tour, followed by the Annual General Meeting in Strabane. The tentative schedule of weeklong activities is:
A list of accommodation is being prepared, and it is hoped that delegates will stay in Castlederg / Derg Valley area of County Tyrone, close to the trail and border with County Donegal. Transport will be provided every day from and to Castlederg, including all trips up to and including the AGM in Strabane. On Friday morning, delegates will be transported to the North East Coast for the weekend’s itinerary.
For more complete visitor information, including transportation links and accommodations list, download the Delegate Information Guide, then go to the IAT Ulster-Ireland website and start planning your visit!