Skip to main content


A Salute to Volunteers
"We Get the Job Done”


The following is an excerpt from a letter of appreciation by Leo Leach (Shelters Chair) to his fellow volunteers after a weekend work outing. It describes how volunteers contribute to shelter work and recognizes how important volunteers are to the Burlington Section and the GMC.


Hello My Friends

I want to send my thanks to you quickly, in the same manner in which I asked for your help. I was truly overwhelmed by the generosity and dedication of so many of my fellow GMC members who responded immediately.

One of my insecurities is asking people for help. Time and again you have proven to me that I shouldn't hesitate to ask for your help.

It was just a week ago that we decided to construct the cribbing for the Taylor Lodge privy. I sat down last Sunday night to send out e-mail asking for help and Monday night made phone calls for the same reason. I had no idea that my request would be honored by so many.

As hot as the weather was in the valley, it wasn't that bad working at the site on Mt. Mansfield. We carried all the materials up in one shot amazing! It was a good day; we got the job done.

I cant help but think that this must be how Roy Buchanan started the Long Trail Patrol: the work needed to be done and friends contributed to the task over and over again. For those of you who have a copy of the book Green Mountain Adventure, Vermont's Long Trail, on page 51 is a photograph of Roy Buchanan sitting on the running board of Patrol Truck #1. On page 91 is a photograph of Patrol Truck #3, the same truck that we used today, the truck the field staff calls Joe.

Through the years the legacy of James Taylor (founder of the GMC) has been handed down from generation to generation. We are the new generation. I am proud to be a part of it, and it shows that you all are too.

Thank you all very much and until the next time, travel well.

The Year of the Privy

I thought it was going to be a relatively easy summer season. Instead there has been a lot of shelter activity, much of it focused on privies. (If you're actively involved in the GMC, you soon realize the topic of privies arises regularly for obvious reasons: effective waste disposal at shelter sites is crucial.)

The outing mentioned in my letter (above) established. Taylor Lodge as the first site in the north to have its pit privy converted into a moldering privy. A moldering privy uses the active biological soil layer (the first six inches) to break down waste. Red worms are added to increase decomposition. The worms need the right balance of fluids and solids to be effective. We attempted to install a moldering privy at Twin Brooks Tenting Area before we knew what we were doing. We plan to reestablish this system at Twin Brooks in the future.

Puffer Shelter has a serious waste problem that was reported this spring. Pete Ketcham (GMC Field Supervisor) and I temporarily dealt with the overflowing catcher at this remote composting outhouse. Accumulated waste at the site needs to be trenched and buried. That is the immediate concern. We are planning to do away with the shelters remote composter system and install a moldering privy.

Taft Lodges composting system will be converted to a Beyond the Bin system this fall. A Beyond the Bin system separates the liquid from the solid waste, allowing a hotter environment for composting. The liquid is filtered and then allowed to perk into the ground. The Burlington Section has contributed half the cost of the conversion from the Taft Lodge Maintenance fund.

The Burlington Section Shelter Committee also worked with the Laraway Section to install a moldering privy at Laura Woodward Shelter, and worked with the Laraway Section and the Randonnee Aventure volunteers to install a moldering privy at Shooting Star Shelter.

Adopters Look After Shelters

Though we focused a lot of attention on privies, shelter adopters completed a number of other improvements. Kerstin Lange organized a work outing to install a new metal roof at Duck Brook Shelter. She also worked on moving the privy at this site. Buchanan Shelter remains in good shape thanks to adopters Clem Holden and Gardiner Lane. Adopter Jeff Bostwick has been busy at Twin Brooks Tenting Area removing some of the blocked rotting wood that was left from the hazard trees felled two years ago. He reports that the site is getting frequent use.

The shelter committee is very grateful to those who take the lead and make the effort to get their projects done.

Next Year's Big Project

Dana Baron reports that plans and preparations for the reconstruction of Butler Lodge next summer are moving along smoothly. The logs for the reconstruction have been cut and peeled and are awaiting a trip by truck and helicopter to the construction site, probably in early spring. On September 11 a Griphoist Workshop was held at Butler to collect foundation stones from the cliffs behind the shelter. Meanwhile, Fred Gilbert is completing the interior design and compiling lists of material and equipment. So far, all is moving according to plan.

We will need lots of help getting things in place for the work next summer. With the volunteer response we have had this summer,

I have no reason to think we will lack volunteers. If you'd like to help, contact Dana (802-878-6773; e-mail or me (Leo Leach at 802-878-9403).