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Hand-in-Hand with the Land

Thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and our dedicated Stewardship team, several properties protected by Northeast Wilderness Trust got a boost towards rewilding at a swift pace, guided by natural processes and events rather than active management by people. While the philosophy of rewilding prioritizes the processes of nature over the impact of people, plenty of work goes into making sure wild places remain free of trash, motor vehicles, campfires, and more.

At Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve, volunteers from the New York Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers helped gather and haul loads of trash from the Preserve (pictured above). In the coming year, Champlain Area Trails will complete a small trail loop around Clear Pond, which they’ll maintain into the future so that people can experience the peace and beauty of this rewilding forest. The trail will be named ‘Benny’s Trail’ in honor of Benny Ostermiller, the late grandfather of a generous donor who made Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve possible.

This year, Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve saw its the driest summer in recent memory. With the pond level so low, our Southern New England Land Steward, Joe Falconeiri, was able to extricate more litter from Muddy Pond than ever before!

Joe closed down trails that had been popular spots for ATVs, dirt bikes, and trucks using plentiful woody debris. Keeping motor vehicles out of this sensitive ecosystem prevents erosion of the soil, and preserves the habitats of the species who live there—many of whom are rare or endangered. Meanwhile, the footpath through the Preserve received some attention with a brand new welcome kiosk and other trail maintenance.

Joe also helped the Chandler Elementary School in Duxbury, MA create a 0.6-mile nature trail for their K-2 students’ outdoor living classroom. The trail winds through wetlands and healthy forest, and is a starting point for long-term, deep relationships with wild nature. The local Boy Scout troop, along with parents, teachers, and other volunteers, worked together to create the trail.

Meanwhile in Maine, Lone Mountain Wilderness Sanctuary received some care from the Maine  Conservation Corps. A branch of the AmeriCorps, MMC engages conservation volunteers in education, job training, sustainable trail maintenance, conservation work, and more. Three hard-working volunteers moved several large boulders in order to block motorized vehicle access to the Wilderness Sanctuary via a former logging road. Thank you, MCC!

And finally, we want to send a big thank you out to our many volunteer monitors across the Northeast. Wilderness Trust volunteers keep a close eye on the wildlands we protect; they are the boots on the ground who help ensure that these special landscapes are treated with respect, care, and wonder. Pictured above are two of our star volunteers, Paul and Vicki Willis, who have been stewarding Binney Hill Wilderness Preserve in southern New Hampshire for more than a decade.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer monitor, or lending a hand at a one-time event, send us a note at

Photos: Lone Mountain work courtesy of Maine Conservation Corps | BHA workday by Todd Waldron | Muddy Pond and Paul & Vicki Willis by Joe Falconeiri.