Voices from the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

The Official Blog of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail :: Paddling – or dreaming about it – in the Northern Forest

A Tribute to an Amazing Friend and Volunteer: Lisa Dyslin

Categories: Northern Forest Canoe Trail

By: Walter Opuszynski, NFCT Trail Director

Lisa and her husband Nick pose at the outlet of the West Branch of the Penobscot.

Lisa and her husband Nick pose at the outlet of the West Branch of the Penobscot in Maine.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail community suffered a great loss recently. Lisa Dyslin, a longtime supporter of the trail and the mother of our Adopt-a-Segment program, passed away on January 28. Lisa lived in Wilmington, New York, with her husband Nick and one very lovable and excitable Labrador retriever.

Lisa served as a charter member the NFCT Board of Directors for a total of 11 years, becoming one of the first members of the Stewardship Committee. With a former teacher’s attention to detail and spelling, she became the first board secretary and held this position for many years.

“Her tireless concern for the smallest of details and her adeptness at keeping projects on track echoed strongly of her years as a classroom educator. The NFCT benefitted immeasurably from her many years of involvement,” said Rob Center, first Executive Director of the Trail. This attention to detail and process also helped her play a significant role in the development of the NFCT section maps between 2002 and 2006.

Lisa was a constant champion of the NFCT, tabling booths and telling people about the trail whenever she was able.

Lisa was a constant champion of the NFCT, tabling booths and telling people about the trail whenever she was able.

During her time with the board and stewardship committee, she helped make substantial progress on organizational structure, developing an emergency preparedness plan for the trail and creating guidelines for safety signage.

As the founding NFCT Board Chair, Kay Henry reflected on how Lisa’s organizational skills and matter-of-fact approach helped in the creation of a hard-working and hands-on board culture for the fledgling organization.  “She was always quick to volunteer for projects and followed up to assure their success. You could always count on Lisa to complete what she had committed to.”

Lisa poses with an NFCT Stewardship Crew as the group takes a break from installing a new campsite on Franklin Falls Pond in NY.

Lisa poses with an NFCT Stewardship Crew as the group takes a break from installing a new campsite on Franklin Falls Pond in New York.

Lisa was the first person to become a volunteer Trail Maintainer in the Adopt-a-Segment Program, working with Ryan Doyle to maintain New York Segment 9 covering an area of the Saranac River corridor from Permanent Rapids to Union Falls Pond. Ryan remembers volunteering with Lisa on this section of the NFCT fondly.

“I was fortunate to meet Lisa through Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters,” he said. “When I asked her if I could help as a maintainer she graciously welcomed me. Over the years, we spent several days together on the water and each time was special. Lisa was great with conversation and had much to share. Her stories of adventures with her lady-friends and husband Nick always made me smile. I will always remember Lisa’s enthusiasm, vibrancy and strength.  I am honored to have known and worked with her.”

Always hospitable, Lisa would feed many an NFCT intern, staff member, and volunteer when passing through the area.

Always hospitable, Lisa and Nick had an open door policy and would take in many an NFCT intern, staff member, and volunteer whenever they found themselves in the Wilmington area.

Lisa was an active participant in the Adopt-a-Segment program and was a regular at our annual maintainer jamborees. She is remembered for her kindness, hospitality, and ability to roll up her sleeves and get things done. Many volunteers and interns will also remember her very tasty lemon squares. Lisa was well known for finding people working on projects along the trail and providing them with this tasty treat at their moment of need, giving them a sweet and tangy boost of energy. She truly understood what it meant to volunteer and her efforts have left a lasting impact the NFCT. We will do all we can to carry her spirit forward and will be dedicating our 2017 stewardship season to her memory.

Nulhegan Confluence Hut and Trails

Categories: Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Trail Stewardship

By Noah Pollock
Vermont State Coordinator & New York/Vermont Regional Field Coordinator

Nulhegan Hut construction 2016

The arrival of winter has slowed—but not completely stopped—the completion of a new amenity for paddlers: a hut along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s Nulhegan River in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

This year I’ve been managing the construction of a 14′ x 16′ cabin near the confluence of the Nulhegan River and the East Branch Nulhegan River, on a 70-acre parcel that was conserved by the Vermont River Conservancy (VRC). Like NFCT’s other state coordinators, I “wear hats” with other organizations and it is always wonderful finding projects like this that are natural partnerships.


One way to level a stone.

While project development and fundraising is being led by VRC, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail has provided critical hands-on support. Last summer, NFCT interns and volunteers literally built the foundation for the hut. The stewardship team also constructed a moldering privy, a campsite, a river access point, and cleared nearly a mile of walking trails along the Nulhegan. The trails also serve as a re-route for the Nulhegan Gorge portage, getting paddlers off busy Route 105 and the often shallow and rocky East Branch. Read more

A Peek into the Life of a Northern Forest Explorer

Categories: Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Northern Forest Explorers

By Roisin Low
Youth Program Intern

From the rapids of the Androscoggin, down the meandering Clyde River, across Blue Mountain Lake and through the quick water of the Connecticut River, the Northern Forest Explorers travel. Nine trips set off last summer with 10-14 year-olds spread out over the 740-mile waterway that is the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

Day 1: The Adventure Begins

After two weeks of training and preparation with the NFCT, I drove to Errol, New Hampshire to meet the first group of Northern Forest Explorers. As excited as I was, I was thoroughly enjoying the peace and quiet of my car, anxiously awaiting what came next. By 8:30 am, parents started showing up with their kids and all their neatly packed gear in tow. One thing I was sure of was that their gear was not coming back packed in Ziploc bags, and the clothes labeled Thursday were going to remain at the bottom of their dry bag. Read more

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