24th Gathering of the IAT Annual Meeting at Shin Pond Village
The 24th gathering for the annual meeting of the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail began at the Patten Lumberman's Museum at 3:00 pm on Thursday, May 3rd. We have watched the museum grow at a pace with the acquisition of the land that became the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in August 2016. Now, the museum is one of two in-town visitor's centers for the monument, the other on Penobscot Avenue in Millinocket.
Shin Pond Village and Mt. Chase Lodge partnered again this year to host the annual meeting, with lodging and meals shared between the two. Thursday night's dinner, Friday breakfast and lunch, and Saturday breakfast were provided by Shin Pond Village, and Friday dinner -- our informal banquet -- on the shores of upper Shin Pond at Mt. Chase Lodge. The turnout for this year's annual meeting was good, with people traveling from across the state -- and further afield -- to attend. We had the nice surprise attendance of Bryson Guptil and Greg McKee, who traveled from Prince Edward Island to attend the annual meeting. Greg is the current President of the Board of Island Trails (and Bryson has held the post in the past), and they wanted to get a sense of how we manage things in Maine.
Bryson Guptil

Don Hoy, President and CEO of Wolfden, spoke about his company's work north of Mt. Chase in a presentation after dinner on Thursday -- Exploration of the Pickett Mountain Zinc-Lead-Copper-Silver Deposit, Penobscot County, Maine. Don introduced his 3-person company, provided an overview of the typical life cycle of mineral exploration, active mining, and closure, and then provided a glimpse of earlier exploration and the current plan of drilling to better characterize the deposit. 
Though Wolfden does not own land over which the IAT currently travels, we were grateful for the opportunity to understand the exploration and mining process, especially in light of the most recent adoption of mining regulations by the Maine Legislature. If as a result of Wolfden's explorations, and within the context of the global economy and the price of the minerals within the lode under Pickett Mountain, mining begins sometime after 2025, we anticipate that hikers will be aware of it. The relocation of the trail in 2017 across the shoulder of Mt. Chase and along the Mountain Road to a crossing at Rt. 11, is a much safer route than the prior road-walk along Rt. 159 and Rt. 11 to the Townline Road.
These are early days in the mineral exploration and mining cycle, and we will keep an eye on developments in the coming years. If all of the conditions for a successful mine -- notably, sufficient lode, good prices for ore, and a sound plan for safe and clean extraction -- are met, we'll make sure that Don and his colleagues come back to speak with us.
Don Hoy

IAT Maine President Don Hudson began the Friday morning meeting with a review of the year in review, and for some the highlight of the meeting came at the end of Don's presentation. Long-time IAT Maine Board Member, and IAT Chief Geologist, Walter Anderson was surprised when Don called him up to receive his formal certificate as an Honorary Director. Walter had decided a few months earlier that enough time, wear, and tear had passed that he should step down as an active member of the Board. Though Walter is no longer a voting member of the Board, we'll make an effort to get him to meetings and events as an example -- and reminder -- that all IAT Maine Board meetings are open to the membership.
(L-R) Dick Anderson, Walter Anderson, Don Hudson

Herb Hartman and Bill Duffy stepped up next to update the group on the status of the full Trail Description, which is up to date for 2018, and Bill showed three new simplified maps for the trail in Maine that anyone can download -- along with the Trail Description -- and have everything they need to hike the trail. We will be working with Guthook/Atlas Guides in 2019 to produce the first phone and tablet trail app for the IAT, which will cover Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Two additional apps for PEI and Nova Scotia and for Newfoundland will come in 2020 and 2021. With luck we'll be able to add other apps all the way around the North Atlantic Basin, and have coverage for the entire trail.
Bill Duffy

We welcomed Andy Bossie, the first Executive Director of the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, next. Andy provided a broad overview of the mission of the Friends to add a measure of excellence to the experience and management of the national monument by a growing number of programs and services. The Friends has taken over coordination of the Katahdin Learning Project for the schools of the region, and coordinated the production of an interpretive map for the Loop Road with Northern Geomatics and a full coverage map of the monument with Map Adventures. The aim is to grow the membership and fund raising in the coming years in order to support management and help to fund a growing number of projects and initiatives.
Andy Bossie

Our attention shifted to the Wassataquoik Valley with a beautifully illustrated presentation by former Friends of Baxter President Barbara Bentley, who has been a member of IAT Maine for a very long time. Barb has been working with long time member Gary Boone on his comprehensive history of the valley, which is now accompanied by the only map of the watershed of the Wassataquoik created by Bill Duffy. Barb took us down each of the headwater streams that feed the Wassataquoik using a collection of her family’s photos from over 60 years of annual trips to Russell Pond and environs, grand panoramas and other striking photos taken by husband Bill, and a fine collection of historic images of dams, lumber camps, and various dramatic shots of a landscape scarred by fire and the sort of rough clear cut common before the advent more scientific forestry techniques. The combination of Gary’s historical detail, Bill’s map, and Barb’s first hand explorations made for a fascinating 45 minutes.
Barbara Bentley

State Geologist Bob Marvinney took us to lunch with a broad overview of the tectonic and other geologic history of the national monument and environs. The IAT has taken advantage of the collective experience of its geologist members, especially Walter Anderson, Bob Marvinney, and Julia Daley to help us understand this ancient landscape. The dynamic tectonic processes — especially volcanism — that left the rich deposits of sulphite mineral ores under nearby Pickett Mountain also created the chain of small mountains that the IAT traverses in the monument, as well as striking features such as Haskell Rock (a conglomerate) and Stair Falls in the East Branch of the Penobscot. The discussion that followed centered in part on the opportunity within the monument to interpret the rich geologic heritage of the region, including within Baxter State Park.
Bob Marvinney

With the annual picture and lunch out of the way, we returned to the meeting room upstairs at Shin Pond Village for an introduction to the master planning process for Katahdin Woods & Waters by Noel Musson of Southwest Harbor. Noel assembled and expert group of exports and won the contract with the National Park Service to produce this most important plan and guiding document. Noel, his colleagues and the National Park Service has been gathering baseline information on existing trails and roads and are part way through a series of listening sessions with regional stakeholders. A national monument is just that -- a national treasure, so the listening sessions will include at least one outside of Maine to capture the input of outdoor enthusiasts and stakeholders who represent the nation at large. If all goes well, the process will conclude late in 2019.
Noel Musson

Joe Young of the Maine Geological Survey was up next to give us an overview of the use of LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging - a detection system that works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser) as a research and planning tool. Joe explained the steps required to produce the remarkably detailed maps now available to scientists and planners, and provided striking examples of remote detection, including an example of a thousands of years old temple revealed in the dense jungle of the Yucatan. with the help of federal, state, and private support, LIDAR maps for Maine will be complete by the end of this year. The detail of Maine's surface revealed by LIDAR will provide insights and understanding for geologists, archaeologists, historians, climate adaptation specialists, planning boards, and many others in the coming years.
Joe Young

Earl Raymond wrapped up the annual meeting sessions with a summary of the surveying history of northern Maine and the national monument in particular. Earl has been studying the establishment of the Monument Line, essential to laying out the grid of townships and ranges in preparation for selling off the large tracts of public land in what was once the Massachusetts province of Maine. The Monument Line cuts east-west through the national monument and dies around Lake Cowles, in the Northwest Basin of the Katahdin massif. Earl's history, which begins with work to locate the international boundary with eastern Canada following the American Revolution and continues through the early decades of the 19th century, will be available on the IAT website later this summer.
Earl Raymond

The business of the Annual Meeting was conducted late Saturday afternoon before an Attitude Adjustment, and we gathered for a very nice dinner on the shores of Upper Shin Pond, at Mt. Chase Lodge. Mainer and long distance hiker Tom Jamrog of Lincolnville wrapped up a very full and satisfying day with a presentation of his personal approach to hiking, with reflections of his hikes of the AT, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. Tom enjoyed his day with us, and -- who knows?! -- Tom may walk the IAT in North America in sections before he hangs up his boots for good.
Tom Jamrog
The 24th Annual Meeting came to a close Saturday morning following breakfast with a flurry of suggestions for the 25th program and for pre- and post-meeting excursions. Stay tuned!