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From the President: New Partners (7/05)

I was in the Outdoor Gear Exchange (OGE) in the middle of May talking to Josh Stephen, an employee, about gear for our upcoming Alaska-Yukon expedition when the subject of GMC trail work came up. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned the damage done by some rather big trees to Duck Brook Shelter and the work that needed to be done to put the shelter back in shape. Josh immediately volunteered to help and said he could probably get some other OGE people to come on National Trails Day — this from a person I had just met for the first time!

That conversation put the pressure on me to finalize the materials needed to do the work. On the Friday before National Trails Day (June 4 this year), I took a quick trip to Duck Brook Shelter to make a list of what needed to be done: repair the broken picnic table, replace some side boards and floor boards, and rebuild a bunk support. Fortunately, Kerstin Lange, our shelter adopter, and Chris Hanna, our former Shelters Chair, had done the critical part of shoring up the crushed side of the roof. Earlier, Dave Hardy from GMC headquarters had come with his crew to cut the downed trees.

At the Richmond Park and Ride on National Trails Day, a number of volunteers appeared and were eager to help. We had Josh Stephen, Marc Sherman, and Mike Donahue from the Outdoor Gear Exchange, Erica Lamb (on the Long Trail Patrol this year), Paul Demers, and Phil Schlosser. John Sharp supplied transportation to the trailhead, plus refreshments.

At the trailhead, I had barely opened the tailgate of the truck when Marc and Mike each grabbed an armful of lumber and took off to the shelter. The rest of us brought the remaining lumber, tools and paint. Once at the shelter, it seemed like we were a work crew who had worked together for years. The team split up in 2's and 3's handling their jobs as if this was a normal workday. The boards were cut, fitted, painted, and screwed in place. It looked great when everything was finished. Kerstin would have been with us, but she had family obligations and was planning to come up later to determine our bonus pay for being under budget and on time.

Well, our bonus was the satisfaction of doing a greatly needed job and having a good time in the process. Then the Outdoor Gear Exchange people offered another bonus: Come into the store anytime and they would give us 10% off any purchase. Oh, they do that for anyone with a Green Mountain Club membership card. With benefits like these you just got to be a volunteer (or at least a member).

Thanks to all that support the GMC in anyway you can. Have a great summer.

About Phil Hazen

Phil joined the Green Mountain Club a little over a decade ago, and he’s packed an amazing amount of volunteer work and activity into those ten years. After going along on a few GMC outings, Phil started helping out with organizing the Burlington Section activities schedule. Then he became a trip leader and designed and taught Map and Compass workshops. For several years, Phil and Paul Houchens have co-chaired the outings committee. (Phil says he’s been “the enforcer”, the one who relentlessly uses e-mail and phone calls until he’s rounded up enough leaders to fill the schedule.)

Currently, Phil is serving as both the president and the outings co-chair of the Burlington Section. He’s also the chair of the main club’s Membership Committee and is on the GMC Headquarters Planning Committee.

Over the last few years, Phil has dedicated a lot of his time to “peak-bagging” in the Northeast. He’s climbed all of the “Northeast 111ers” in winter. (That includes all the official peaks above 4000 feet from New York to Maine. There are 115 of them now, but the old “111” term has stuck.) Currently, Phil is off on an expedition to Alaska-Yukon with his outings co-chair Paul Houchens and four other GMC members.