Anyone who spends time outdoors understands the importance of protecting our wild spaces. In a time where public lands are under attack and recreational value seems to come secondary to commercial value, it is more important than ever to promote education, use, and most of all, the stewardship of the places we play.
Each summer, individuals known affectionately as “caretakers” commit themselves to life in the outdoors. They live without running water or electricity, and spend their days interacting with others who come to visit these places. Their role as educators, trail builders, protectors, and companions is essential to those who spend time on the trail every season.
We’re proud to introduce Taking Care, our 3-part series focusing on these people and their selfless dedication to caretaking some of the most special places in the Northeast.
Episode 1: Maine
In the first episode of Taking Care, we’ll head to the rugged coast of Maine to meet John Connelly, a volunteer for the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA). Though it’s one of the lesser-known trails in the Northeast, the Maine Island Trail is also one of the most unique—America’s first recreational water trail. Stretching for 375 miles and connecting over 200 island and mainland campsites along the Maine coastline, the commitment to coastal access and environmental stewardship of MITA is instrumental to this beautiful trail’s existence.
Episode 2: New Hampshire
Our second episode of Taking Care finds us at Crag Camp, an RMC hut perched over 4,000 feet above King Ravine on the northern face of Mt Adams, deep in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. Open year-round, and with a commanding view of the northern Presidential Range, Crag Camp provides one of the finest hut experiences in the Northeast— thanks in no small part to the Randolph Mountain Club’s tireless volunteer caretakers.
Episode 3: Vermont
Our final episode of Taking Care takes us back home to Vermont, to the Sterling Pond Shelter on the Long Trail. Here, Julie Higgins, a caretaker for the Green Mountain Club, works diligently to keep the 15-mile section of the trail she’s been entrusted with beautiful and accessible for everyone. Her intimate knowledge of this small slice of Vermont’s forests is a special thing—and passing along this knowledge to educate the hikers she meets is part of what it means for her to be a caretaker.