• OutdoorsVT: GMC celebrates Long Trail centennial
    By Darren Marcy | March 19,2010
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    The Emily Proctor Lodge is shown in this photo taken in 1918. More photos from the Long Trail, which turned 100 last week, can be found online at cdi.uvm.edu.
    The Green Mountain Club threw a birthday party last week complete with cake, skits and a grand celebration.

    The 100th anniversary of the Long Trail was trumpeted with fanfare that extended from South Burlington to our nation's capitol.

    Someone on Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy's press staff earned the honor for best line in a press release when they sent a notice that began: "What birthday present do you give to a trail that has everything – drop-dead scenery, border-to-border expanse, and a rich 100-year history?"

    While the trail is rightly the focus of the celebration, the Green Mountain Club is celebrating itself as well.

    It's the GMC, after all, that shepherded the trail into existence and has built and maintained the path, its shelters, signage, bridges and other features for the last century.

    Leahy, along with Sen. Bernard Sanders, introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate, while Rep. Peter Welch pushed a resolution in the U.S. House, to honor the milestone.

    The Senate version of the resolution ends with, "Resolved, That the Senate recognizes the 100th anniversary of the Long Trail of the State of Vermont, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States, and applauds the Green Mountain Club and the many volunteers of the Green Mountain Club for a century of service and for creating, protecting, and enjoying the Long Trail."

    Welch reported Thursday his resolution passed.

    But the nation's first long-distance hiking trail deserves more than a single day to be feted so there will be events scattered throughout the summer honoring the path through the wilderness.

    On May 7, a fundraiser will be held at the Trapp Family Lodge.

    A reflection on 100 years of memories and accomplishments will be held May 22 at the GMC headquarters in Waterbury Center.

    The Killington Section will celebrate 100 years of the GMC at a fundraiser June 5.

    A barn dance is slated in southern Vermont June 16 to kick off four-plus weeks of guided day hikes on the Long Trail that begin the next day.

    More about these events can be found online at www.greenmountainclub.org.

    In addition, more than 900 Long Trail photos have been made available online from the Special Collection archive at the University of Vermont Library. The archive can be viewed by logging on to cdi.uvm.edu.

    A link is also available from the GMC Web site.

    The trail, which runs from Massachusetts to Canada, served as the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail, the standard for long-distance hiking trails, and continues to inspire hikers to lace'em up and hit the trail.

    "The trail has survived and flourished for a century because of public/private partnership and because hundreds of volunteers care about it as a precious component of Vermont's mountain landscape," said Ben Rose, executive director of the Green Mountain Club, in a press release issued by Welch's staff.

    No doubt, the GMC is looking forward to the next 100 years and that bodes well for the Long Trail and the hikers who know how special it is.

    Contact Darren by e-mail at darren@darrenmarcyoutdoors.com or through his Web site at www.DarrenMarcyOutdoors.com.
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