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Ridge Lines: A Brief History (05/02)


Last year, Ridge Lines completed 30 years of recording Burlington Section history.

Ridge Lines began when Newell Briggs, section president, and Shirley Strong, who later became the first woman president of the GMC, approached me at annual meeting and said the section needed a newsletter and I was needed to do it.

I had just joined the GMC because I was hiking the Long Trail on my way to becoming an end-to ender. The idea of editing a newsletter was not on my mind when I went to the meeting, but when I went home, I had agreed to do it. Being editor was not an elective position and no one said anything about term limits. I’ve taken advantage of that.

Producing Ridge Lines has never been a one-person job. Of all the people who have contributed, three stand out: Madeline Miles, who helped get it started; Corky Magoon, who for years did layout, typing and copying; and Len Carpenter whose skills were invaluable when we began producing the newsletter on computer.

Profiles of past members included personal reminiscences of James Taylor by Edward Crane (of the Burlington Free Press) and John Cowles. John Cowles also wrote his recollections of Will Monroe. In one issue, we honored Roy Buchanan.

Ridge Lines covered some heated issues, especially the debates over the removal of stoves from shelters and the proposal to make the Long Trail a National Scenic Trail. Corky wrote a wonderful editorial about presidential candidate Philip Crane who dragged 25 reporters and politicians to the top of Camel’s Hump but failed to keep them from stepping on the grass.

Ridge Lines reported on the section’s money making projects. T-shirts we silk-screened were a success; bumper stickers were not. Bottles collected in shelters and on the trail netted $8.00; a used equipment sale, $600.

I have two enduring memories from my years as editor: 1) Burlington Section members are willing to go anywhere and try anything; and 2) when I’ve asked someone to do something, I haven’t heard a “no”.

I think Ridge Lines is a great newsletter. It reflects a section that is strong, vital and active. The members of the section are the real creators of Ridge Lines. It has been a privilege to be involved with the section in this way. I hope Mary Lou enjoys it as much as I have.