Maine Appalachian Trail Club
May 5, 2020
The MATC Annual Meeting at Bates College was cancelled when Bates cancelled all events with outside organizations in March. In the absence of that annual meeting, I thought I would present my remarks in this issue of the MaineTainer.
Annual Meeting Business
The items normally voted on at the annual meeting are being addressed by the Executive Committee.
In the absence of having an Annual Meeting, the Executive Committee approved a revised budget on May 1st, reflecting as many changes as we can anticipate for the coming year. We will move forward with this budget until our Annual Meeting in the spring of 2021.
We were not able to have the membership of the club vote on the nominations for the next term of the Executive Committee. The directors whose terms were expiring in 2020 all expressed a desire to serve another term. Their names were published in the last MAINEtainer. Since we were unable to take nominations from the floor, if you wish to nominate someone for a position on the MATC Executive Committee, please submit your nomination before June 1, 2020 to:
Lester C. Kenway
Maine Appalachian Trail Club
PO Box 283 Augusta ME 04332
Status of Hiking or Working on the A.T. in Maine
- May 4, 2020 – Wendy Janssen, Superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail – “While we greatly value and appreciate the work of volunteers to preserve and protect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, all volunteer work will continue to be suspended until conditions allow for a safe return to operations. Please note that this is for all volunteer activities, including but not limited to trails maintenance, inventorying and monitoring, boundary maintenance, vegetation management, special events, education and outreach, the maintenance and management of privies, shelters, and day use sites.” (This is in addition to having all lean-tos and privies at campsites on NPS lands in Maine closed to use).
- MATC Executive Committee has voted to support the proposal from ATC and NPS to close the Appalachian Trail to use until it is deemed safe.
- Baxter State Park, The Nature Conservancy and The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands are allowing day hikes from the perimeter of their lands but no camping.
- The Maine Trail Crew has been cancelled for the 2020 season.
- Note: Although many of us would consider the risk of contracting the virus or infecting another person to be less when working outdoors, everyone in the MATC should support keeping people off the trail corridor by our own example.
There will not be any chainsaw certification training sessions this spring. We hope to offer classes this fall. In recognition of many chainsaw training sessions being cancelled due to the virus, the U.S. Forest Service has extended all certifications that would expire in 2020 to expire in 2021.
Maine Trail Center
As many of you know, the Club has been working for some time now toward building a multi-use facility to house our trail crews and provide a trail skills training site. We have suffered some setbacks and delays which are unfortunate, but along the way we have learned much and are more prepared to be successful.
Late in 2019 we came to the conclusion that the comprehensive year-round development plan that we had originally envisioned would be more expensive than we could expect to raise through a capital campaign. We have redesigned the proposed Trail Center to a more modest goal that would support our core programs.
The new concept includes:
- Buildings that would be half the size but still provide for our needs.
- A central building with a capacity for 25 people for meals, meetings and training sessions.
- A workshop with tool/camping equipment storage connected to the main building so that trail crews could prepare for trips to the trail under all conditions of weather or darkness.
- A seasonal facility – operating from April to October.
- Crew Quarters replaced with smaller bunkhouses and tents on platforms.
- Smaller but adequate parking with a shorter driveway.
The fundraising goal would be $1.3M or 1/3 of the original goal.
A new Lease with the Somerset Woods Trustees
MATC entered into a ground lease with SWT in 2010, providing a site for the Maine Trail Center. Key provision of the lease:
- Construction to begin by 2015
- The first 30 years without lease fees (2040)
- The lease to be for a term of 99 years (2109)
Due to the delays we have experienced, SWT has agreed to enter into a new lease.
- Construction to begin by 2023
- The first 30 years without lease fees (2053) with a requirement for binding arbitration in case the parties cannot agree on a lease fee going forward
- The lease to be for a term of 99 years (2122)
We appreciate the Somerset Woods Trustees for their flexibility and support.
With the arrival of Covid-19 in March and accompanied damage to the economy, the Executive Committee voted on March 23 to suspend the capital campaign. We consider this suspension a “Pause”, during which we evaluate the status of the pandemic and develop a plan to continue when things are safe and people have a chance to recover from the financial impacts to our economy.
MATC does not have development staff so all through the planning and fundraising process we have relied on many professional to bring this project forward. Lawyers, surveyors, architects, civil engineers, building estimators, fundraisers, marketing and public relations firms have all been a tremendous help in this process.
When we suspended the Capital Campaign, we suspended the services of Brandt Associates who were our fundraising consultants. This team provided momentum to the campaign, offering advice and their extensive experience. We appreciate everything they contributed in moving the Campaign ahead.
These are unprecedented and challenging times for us all, but I have every expectation that things will eventually return to normal and I will look forward to seeing you all at next year’s annual meeting.
Be Safe, Stay well.