IAT Annual General Meeting

The International Appalachian Trail held its Annual General Meeting in Dalhousie, New Brunswick on October 28-30, with representatives from Maine, New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland Labrador, and European Coast Alive partner Denmark.

The two-day event opened Thursday evening at the Best Western Manoir Adelaide, with a reception and official welcome from Dalhousie Mayor Clem Tremblay, followed by a wonderful seafood buffet and live music performed by hotel owner/manager Jimmy Abud, later designated the first official IAT Musician.  Following dinner, Maine Chapter member Will Richard presented the revised IAT PowerPoint slideshow and an IAT Greenland video of the Nussuaq Peninsula.

 

The Annual General Meeting itself began early Friday morning with chapter updates from the participating chapters.  New Brunswick representatives Denyse Zveniuk and Poul Jorgensen reported that eight new bridges were constructed on the multi-use section of the IAT, a beautiful new trailhead sign was erected at Tide Head, and an updated New Brunswick trail map is currently being produced and will be ready for the 2011 hiking season.
 
Quebec’s Marie-Pier Gauthier reported that the quality of Quebec trails have been much improved, with many day loop trails being added in the Matane Wildlife Reserve.  They have also acquired an engraving machine for producing their own trail signs, and produced a high quality guidebook for the SIA/IAT in Matane.  Marie-Pier concluded her presentation with an announcement that the Quebec Chapter will host the 2011 IAT AGM at Gîte du Mont-Albert, September 15-17.
 
The Newfoundland Labrador report was given by President Paul Wylezol, who highlighted the IATNL – Corner Brook Pulp and Paper agreement to create 5 Special Management Areas on the paper mill’s woodlands, and the IATNL - Gros Morne National Park agreement to develop new trails within the park, as important new developments for 2010.  He also briefly discussed attendance at the Boston Globe Travel Show, Binational Tourism Conference, and ATTA World Summit in Scotland, and the new trail maps being produced for the NL Chapter.
 
 
Nova Scotia’s Ellen Wilcox reported on a meeting with the NS Department of Tourism, and their work with the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where in the future some of the IAT may be located. Ellen also reported on her just completed thru-hike of the IAT section between the Canso Causeway and Pictou, and plans to revise the trail guide for that section.
 
The Prince Edward Island report was given by Denis Dunne and Leo Gill, who reported that in 2010 the PEI Chapter hosted their first two thru-hikers.  Hikers Lucy Leaf and Li’l Buddah both hiked the length of the IAT on the island. Leo also reported that new infrastructure was added to the trail, including benches and toilets, and that new Confederation Trail maps were being produced that would highlight sections of trail that could be used in a thru-hike of the island.
 
Maine Chapter President Dick Anderson reported that a good working relationship now exists with Baxter State Park. He also reported that the southernmost thirty miles of the IAT is currently in really good shape after a couple of volunteer work trips. The section was hiked by approx 8 hikers, and their suggestions were helpful in improving the trail. Another highlight was the participation of Dick and Walter Anderson in the Annual Gathering of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association in West Virginia, where they staffed an information table and gave four presentations. 
 
Coast Alive representative Karen Greve Somerset from Denmark described Coast Alive activities in Denmark and other partners around the North Sea, including the development of a geo-caching program and the emphasis on health and fitness.  IATNL’s Arne Helgeland also described the hut to hut tradition in his native Norway, where a high percentage of the local population belong to trail and hiking organizations.
 
In addition to the more detailed Chapter reports, brief summaries were also given by IAT President Paul Wylezol on developments in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and by Will Richard on IAT activities on Greenland’s Nussuaq Peninsula.  During lunch Poul Jorgensen gave a very informative presentation on the various types of bridges that have been installed on New Brunswick trails.
 
 
The afternoon session included a report by Jane Murphy on the new Atlantic Canada Trails Association, a discussion on the new IAT website, Appalachian Domain map, and teleconferencing, the production of a Flagler Films IAT documentary for the US PBS television network, and Will Richard’s presentation on a Greenland 2012 visit.
  
Friday’s AGM dinner was preceded by an address from Mr. Greg Davis, newly elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for Campbellton - Restigouche Centre, and was followed by a Roast and Toast of IAT Founder and Past President Dick Anderson, … or according to Nova Scotia’s Bob Melville, “Rick Henderson.”  Each Chapter roasted and/or toasted Dick on his 15 years of participation and dedication to the IAT, and presented him with a small gift as a memento.  As usual, the night ended with a number of other “toasts” on a wide range of issues!
  
New Brunswick's Denyse Zyveniuk introduces guest speaker Greg Davis, MLA for Campbellton - Restigouche Centre
 
Nova Scotia's Bob Neville and Ellen Wilcox present Dick with a bottle of Nova Scotia Scotch and commemorative glass
  
IAT Master of Ceremonies Torrey Sylvester and his entourage enjoy a toast
 
Saturday morning began with the election of officers and official adjournment.
  
2011 IAT Executive Positions
  • President – Paul Wylezol
  • Past President and Communications Director - Richard Anderson
  • First Vice President - Eric Chouinard
  • Second Vice President - Ellen Wilcox
  • IAT Geologist - Walter Anderson
  • IAT Trail Engineer - Poul Jorgensen
  • IAT Photographer and Geographer - Will Richard
  • IAT Finance Director - Kevin Noseworthy
  • IAT Travel Director - Gina Clark
  • IAT Conservation Director - Margaret Chouinard
  • IAT Musician – Jimmy Abud
  • IAT Master of Ceremonies - Torrey Sylvester
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The scene then shifted to the site of the attractive new trailhead sign at Tide Head, which served as the backdrop for an IAT group photo.   Next up was the rededication of the Van Horne Bridge as the “Richard Anderson Bridge,” followed by au revoirs and farewells.
 

 
The IAT Annual General Meeting is an important opportunity for members to communicate local developments and exchange new ideas and best practices, while also serving to renew old friendships, make new ones, and recommit to work together to make the International Appalachian Trail a model of international cooperation, and one of the biggest outdoor adventure brands in the world!