Green Mountain Club
Montpelier Section


See GMC Archives for all
Long Trail News and Long Trail Guides.

Archives Committee

On this page
The Outings schedules are somewhat abbreviated.
Event Leaders include event hosts and organizers as well as leaders for outings.
News about the section is as reported in the GMC's quarterly publication, the Long Trail News, and the section's own newsletter, Trail Talk. (See past issues of Trail Talk.)

The Montpelier Section secretary maintains a records collection that includes back issues of newsletters, minutes, budget statements, trip reports, photographs, etc. Click here for past issues of Trail Talk and earlier scheduled events. Information about the section can also be found in the GMC archives at the Vermont Historical Society in Barre and at GMC headquarters in Waterbury Center.

We have started to digitize the Section's records collection. GMC publications, such as Long Trail Guides and Long Trail News, are here Outing schedules and trip reports are merged; see below.

News, Outings and Reports
            News from 1910 - 1954 ---- before the Montpelier Section was created

Sources include published outing schedules, the Long Trail News (LTN), Trail Talk, and submissions to this web site.

Section Officers 
Section Officers since 1955

Trail Responsibilities 
Sections of the LT maintained by the Montpelier Section since 1955.

A History of the Montpelier Section 

(From Trail Talk # 5 January 1983)
( By Sally Sairs)

The Montpelier Section of the Green Mountain Club was organized in April, 1955, following a meeting at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, led by Mark McCorison, librarian at the time.  Harlan Farnsworth, who had been active in the Burlington Section, was instrumental in getting this first group together.  Charter members of the newly formed section were Mr. and Mrs. Harlan Farnsworth, Mr. and Mrs. Mark McCorison, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Corker, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Cady, Dr. and Mrs. Maynard Bryant, Doris Newton, Louise Hutchinson, Phyllis Murphy, Frances and Henry Holmes, Ellen Hebblethwaite, Mildred Howes, Miriam Fetts, and Doris McKenna.

Officers that first year were President Harland Farnsworth, Secretary Ellen Hebblethwaite, and Treasurer Frances Holmes.  Their first activity was a sugar-on-snow party at the Morse Farm near Montpelier, and annual event for many years.

In 1958 the Montpelier Section wrote to the Green Mountain Club, Inc., in Rutland requesting a portion of the Long Trail to maintain.  The part assigned was from Smuggler's Notch to Chilcoot Pass and included Sterling Pond Lodge.  In later years the Section also maintained the Long Trail as far as Highway 15, but with reactivation of the Sterling Section, we once again are responsible for only the original portion.

Since Taylor Lodge is one of the Section's favorite haunts, the Lake Mansfield Trail is kept free of blowdowns, and at our 1974 oyster stew outing, Dave Otis donated a new stove pipe, which was installed at that tome.

[Continued in Trail Talk # 7, September 1983]

Canoeing was added to the list of scheduled activities in 1959.  Trips include intermediate white-water in the spring and family excursions in the summer months.  Favorite events have always been the Oyster Stew, which used to be enjoyed with the Burlington Section until the number of participants exceeded the capacity of the Lodge.  Moonlight snowshoe and ski hikes are popular in the winter months.  Annual pilgrimages to the top of Camel's Hump and Mt. Hunger are always well attended.  Beginning this year the Montpelier Section will maintain the trails on Mt. Hunger, a job that was done almost singlehandedly by the late Gene Bamforth for many years.  In addition to Long Trail hikes, the Section travels to the White Mountains occasionally and also to the Adirondacks for climbing and canoeing.

In 1969, the Montpelier Section hosted the Intersectional at Camp Wihakowi in Northfield, under the direction of Dave Otis, Doris Washburn, and Dave Morse.  In 1970 and 1971 Section members policed up an assigned roadway as part of Governor Davis' Green-Up campaign.

In April 1972, a fire destroyed Sterling Pond Lodge.  For many years prior to its demise the Lodge had been heavily vandalized during the winter months, probably by skiers from nearby Mt. Mansfield and Madonna Mt. Every spring we had bunks and windows to clean up.  The dump was closed and the refuse hauled away, thanks to a group of Scouts and Dave Otis using four-wheel drive vehicles.  During the summer of 1972 it was decided to replace the Lodge with an open shelter having a table and bunks for 8 on the original site. Gardiner Lane deserves the credit for his liaison work with the Madonna Corporation and the Plant and Griffith Lumber Company.  All the necessary lumber and material were delivered to the Madonna Corporation base lodge just prior to the 1972 Intersectional which was held at Mt. Norris Boy Scout Reservation in Eden.  The Madonna Corporation then hauled the materials to the top of their chairlift.  Many GMC members from other sections were on hand to help haul everything to the construction site, among them George Pearlstein, Bob Poole, Dane Shortsleeves, Rany Meade, Marion Codling and Chuck Waller.  Montpelier Section members, who were on hand during most of the week of actual construction, were Dave Morse, Dave Otis, Doris Washburn, Jon and Chris Sairs and Andrew Nuquist.  Roy Buchanan was on hand for general supervision.  At the end of the Intersectional the Shelter was almost complete and the Montpelier Section finished the remaining work the following two weekends.  Sterling Pond Shelter was christened the weekend of September 23, with a group hiking in for an overnight stay.  As of this writing we have had no problems with vandalism.

Montpelier Section membership has ranged through the years from 15-60, with current membership of 50.  Our Annual Meeting takes place in April.  At present we have six active End-to-Enders, the youngest being Allan Bristow who finished at age 8.

A Little Bit of History
(from Trail Talk # 40 March 1995)

Section members both old and new may enjoy learning or being reminded about the formative days of the Montpelier Section.

Montpelier was formally accepted as a section by the GMC Board of Directors on April 16, 1955.  At the time there were 37 official Montpelier members.

In 1959 the section merged with the Barre Section which boasted 58 members, the two groups accepting the designation of Montpelier Section.

Thanks to Doris Washburn for passing these statistics along.

Early history of the Montpelier Section
Compiled by Thomas Weiss from material at the Vermont Historical Society.

1954. Minutes of the annual meeting and the trustees meetings have no mention of a possible Montpelier section.

unknown but probably early 1955 "Fred Field, Chairman of the Section Service Committee, reported that he has covered many towns and cities in Vermont, distributing information about The Green Mountain Club in the hope of developing new Sections . . . He assisted the Barre Section with the program for their Annual Meeting by showing the Club's slides. It was at this meeting that he made new contacts to develop a new Section in Montpelier. After a great deal of preliminary work, and with the cooperation of a few interested Montpelier people, a meeting was arranged to show The Green Mountain Club slides and to talk about the Club. At another meeting, a week later, thirty-eight people signed a paper requesting permission from The Green Mountain Club to form a Montpelier Section. ("The Long Trail News", May 1955)

April 2, 1955 "The activities of the newly organized Montpelier Section opened up April 2, 1955 with twenty-five adults and children participating in a Sugar-on-snow party at the Morse's Sugar House on the Country Road in Montpelier." ("The Long Trail News", February 1956)

April 16, 1955 "The President reported on the new Montpelier Section. Thirty-seven persons are ready to form this section, as a result of Mr. Field's activities there. A motion was made and passed that this group be accepted as the Montpelier section. The Clerk was requested to write and notify them. (trustees' meeting, minutes, page 4) "Application for permission to form a Montpelier section was read and unanimously passed by the Board." ("The Long Trail News", May 1955)

April 27, 1955, "At a meeting on April 27th, the following officers were elected: President, Harlan R. Farnsworth; Secretary, Ellen Hebblethwaite; Treasurer, Frances Holmes." ("The Long Trail News", February 1956)

May 7, 1955 Hike up toward the Appalachian Gap.

May 28, 1955 "Montpelier Section - no one from this section was present, so President Craigue Perkins reported that they had 35 paid members and will have two hikes a month to August. A charter was presented to this section." (Club annual meeting, minutes, page 1) "Montpelier was welcomed as a new section and a charter was presented to them. This section has 35 paid members and has scheduled two hikes a month up to August." ("The Long Trail News", August 1955)

June 2, 1956 "Montpelier Section - it has finished its first year and has about 30 odd paid up members. It holds activities every other week. Their charter was presented to them." (Club annual meeting minutes, page 1) "Mr. Perkins spoke about disestablishing the Sterling Section. Since the last meeting it has been found that they paid $4.20 last year. He suggested taking there section of the trail and giving it temporarily to Montpelier or Burlington. Mr. Perkins made a motion that the Sterling Section no longer be responsible from Smugglers Notch to Johnson Highway. The motion was passed. "Mr. Goddard made a motion that the President be authorized to assign the Sterling Section's trail, or such parts thereof as are necessary, to the Montpelier Section. This was passed." (trustees' meeting minutes, page 2)

November 3, 1956 "Professor Buchanan gave the following as his understanding of how the trails are presently divided among the sections:-" There is no mention of the Montpelier Section. (trustees' meeting minutes, page 3) "Mr. Perkins made a motion that the matter of disestablishing the Sterling Section be dropped. This was passed." (trustees' meeting minutes, page 4)

How Hard Is It? - Difficulty Ratings of Hikes

Trail Talk # 6, May 1983

Activity Easy, Beginners Moderate, Intermediate Difficult, Advanced
Level hiking 5 miles in 2 hours (Montpelier - Middlesex) 12 miles in 4 hours (Montpelier-Waterbury) 20 miles in 7 hours (Montpelier-Waitsfield)
Steep hiking 3 miles, one rest (Duck Brook or Cantilever Rock and return) 9 miles in 5 hours (Camel's Hump) 12 miles in 10 hours (LT Lincoln to Appalachian Gaps)
Bicycle (rolling hills) 15 miles in 2 hours 30 miles in 4 hours 50 miles in 6 hours
Canoe (lake) 6 miles in 3 hours (some previous experience) 15 miles in 5 hours 25 miles in 7 hours
Canoe (river) 5 miles on Class I (previous lake experience) Class II and easy III (previous river experience) Class III (extensive experience)

Trail Talk # 28, October 1990
(Based on 50 Hikes in Vermont)

Easy hikes are accessible to most people, including first-time hikers, and are especially good for families with children

Moderate hikes require a degree of stamina; some previous hiking experience is advisable.

Difficult hikes are challenging outings for experienced hikers in good physical condition.

Vermont Historical Society hosts GMC Archives

Green Mountain Archives
(Trail Talk #34[35] March 1993)

Last Fall, the Vermont Historical Society (VHS) held a reception to recognize the Green Mountain Club archives, part of this manuscript depository since 1974.

Guests of honor were GMC/VHS volunteers William Osgood and Priscilla Page who had spent hundreds of hours arranging and describing the material.  The result is an impressive inventory - box by box, folder by folder.  The inventory can be ordered from the VHS.

The reception in the Victorian Lobby of the Pavilion Building was well attended by GMC members (many from the Montpelier Section), GMC staff, and VHS members and trustees. Archive material on display included correspondence, photographs, maps, memorabilia, guidebooks, newsletters, and end-to-end reports.  Together they tell a rich history of the Green Mountain Club and the Long Trail.

If you have club material that you think is worth saving, you may add it to the collection, which is steadily growing.  The society is open to the public ...

An historical overview of the Long Trail, from the Federal Writers Project
During the Depression, the Federal Writers' Project of the Work Progress Administration produced Guides to the various States. The Guide to Vermont was published in 1937 by Houghton Mifflin Company and is Copyright 1937 by the Vermont State Planning Board. The book is Accession Number 209 at the Kellogg Hubbard Library and is kept in the Vermont room there. The following excerpt begins on page 59.

The Long Trail

The treatment of the Long Trail in this book is necessarily suggestive and incomplete.  Its course is indicated on the tour map, and cross-references are made to it at the more important points at which it crosses the routes of the tours.  Persons planning to hike the Long Trail, or any part of it, should communicate with the Green Mountain Club, Rutland, Vermont.  Their Guide Book (50) not only gives detailed descriptions of the route, including shelters and stopping places, but contains valuable suggestions as to equipment, food, and rules of the Trail.

On March 11, 1910, twenty-three hiking enthusiasts, headed by James P. Taylor, then principal of the Vermont Academy at Saxtons River, met at Burlington and formed the Green Mountain Club, the purpose of which was to build a foot-trail over the main range of the Green Mountains from Massachusetts to the Canadian Line.  Small at first, and financially handicapped, the group gradually acquired a larger membership, including many persons outside the State.  Those who were unable to contribute money gave of their time, the actual construction of the Trail being done largely by volunteer labor.  Early progress was impeded by the necessity of clearing away each year's undergrowth from the completed parts of the Trail.  In several places completed stretches were abandoned for a higher location, a discouraging process at the time, but one that resulted in a scenic gain.  The 261-mile 'Footpath in the Wilderness' was finished in 1928, and the Green Mountain Club, which maintains and publicizes it, is now on a solid financial basis, with more than 1500 paid memberships.

The Trail is divided into four main sections.  The northernmost division, from the Canadian Line to Johnson, was the last to be built.  This is probably the wildest part of the route and is distinguished by the view from Jay Peak, the highest mountain in northern Vermont, and the crossing of Hazens Notch.

The second section, from Johnson to Camel's Hump, is the most strenuous, crossing six major mountains, including Mansfield, the highest mountain in the State, which, with a hotel, a clubhouse, and camps, is a favorite stopping place.

The section from Camel's Hump to Killington Peak is called the Monroe Skyline Trail, in honor of Professor Will Monroe, of Montclair, New Jersey, one of the most ardent early supporters of the project.  On this division, at Shelburne Pass, is the Long Trail Lodge, a commodious rustic building given to the club the the widow and son of ex-Governor Proctor.

The southernmost division, extending from Killington Peak to the Massachusetts Line, zigzags to cross the peaks of the southern range of the Green Mountains, including Stratton Mountain, the highest eminence in southern Vermont.

The Trail is more often taken from south to north,  By traveling in this direction, hikers achieve a kind of scenic climax in the vistas of the Adirondacks, Lake Champlain, and the White Mountains that occur throughout the northern sections, through the smooth timbered hills of the southern end and the prospects of the Taconics to the west have their own distinctive, if less spectacular, beauty.

Resources: VHS Material about the Montpelier Section
 
At the Vermont Historical Society library (upstairs) the following references seem relevant:
  Description Reference
Long Trail News DOC 241
Montpelier Section Outing Schedules (before Trail Talk), some membership lists, financial; reports, and annual reports DOC 185:3-6
Correspondence with GMC (1954 - 1955) DOC 183:15-16
Guide Books 917.43
G8.2
Barre Section documents on Montpelier DOC 184:1
Clippings MSA64:4-10
Intersectional DOC 225:39-41
Finding Aid 182

 

We need information
Our archives (VHS, Section Archives, and personal papers seen to date) leave some gaps in the story, namely for the years 1955-1962, 1974, 1976-1981. Please help fill in the gaps.


Web site history: Ed Loewenton created the section's web site as part of his Turner Toys web site, at www.turnertoys.com/gmc, in 1997; that site was removed after Ed sold the business. In 2002 section president Fred Jordan convened a committee to review the web site, and in 2003 the new web site was introduced. The committee included Fred, John Buddington, Ken Hertz, Nancy Jordan, Peggy Lipscomb, and Dave Blumenthal; other people joined in on occasion. Dave, an experienced web site designer, served as our webmaster until his untimely death in June, 2010. John developed the scripts that facilitate maintenance of the web site.

 
© 2018 Montpelier Section of The Green Mountain Club, Inc.     Top    Sun 23 Sep 2018