NEK Section members at Headwaters Camp, 2013
NEK Section members at Headwaters Camp, 2013

The purchase of Headwaters Camp located on Unknown Pond in Avery’s Gore was approved and the Executive Committee was authorized to proceed with the details of the purchase. This camp is on leased land and is located near the Northeast Kingdom hiking trail the club is working on. Details of management are under discussion.

– TOM CANDON, SECRETARY

[LT News Sumer 2013]

In 2015, GMC purchased a rustic hunting camp on remote and tranquil Unknown Pond in Avery’s Gore from longtime GMC friend and supporter Norm Grearson. Aptly named Headwaters Camp, it sits at the source of the North Branch of the Nullhegan River, a 2.3-mile hike from the trailhead on Route 114 in Warren’s Gore. The club plans to rent Headwaters Camp to the public, but must first analyze provisions of the lease of land on which the cabin sits, upgrade its foundation, and build a privy suitable for year-round use, among other preliminaries. After renovation the camp will be the only public overnight site on the pond and on the nearby Middle Mountain Trail system. [LT News Fall 2016]

Many of you know that GMC has acquired or assumed the management of three new camps and may be wondering when they will be open. The new camps are Bolton Lodge and Bryant Camp in Bolton Valley, and Headwaters Camp on Unknown Pond, reached by a side trail from the new Middle Mountain Trail in Avery’s Gore in the Northeast Kingdom. We plan to manage these camps for year-round use by reservation only, as we have operated the popular Wheeler Pond camps in Barton for more than a decade.

Although our experience at Wheeler Pond gives us confidence that we can manage these new camps successfully, they represent a departure from the longstanding model of Long Trail shelters used primarily in summer and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, free of charge unless there is a caretaker. We are therefore planning slowly to make sure that we have the right management model. For example, effective disposal of human waste during heavy winter use requires a different system than the ones we’ve created for our shelters used mainly in summer. All three new structures need remodeling to absorb wear and tear from constant use, and we need to ensure that the wood stoves are safe and easy to operate.

Finally, we need a business plan that will make them financially sustainable. All of this is under review by our talented staff and our new Camps Committee (ably chaired by former President Jean Haigh), but time and patience will be needed. We hope Bolton Lodge and Bryant Camp will be ready to open next year, and Headwaters Camp will come on line the following year.

—John Page, President

While focusing on successfully managing the cabins during a pandemic, GMC’s Camps Program also made strides in planning for its future. In April 2021, GMC sold Headwaters Camp in Avery’s Gore to a group of local residents, including the grandson of the cabin’s builder. 

GMC had bought Headwaters Camp in 2015 as a possible overnight site for hikers on the Kingdom Heritage Trail and as a backcountry rental cabin. Over the last six years GMC has explored numerous management scenarios, but eventually determined that the challenges presented by the cabin’s remote location, annual lease term, and structural issues were too significant for non-profit management and made the decision to sell. We wish the new owners well and will work to develop tenting sites along the Kingdom Heritage Trail that will better serve backpackers.  [LT News Summer 2021]