Dedication Cermony of the Mauri Wintturi Shelter
Dedication Cermony of the Mauri Wintturi Shelter

If you want Mauri Wintturi’s real opinion on the the stretch of Appalachian Trail from Maine Junction to the New Hampshire border, all you have to do is give him a beer. “It’s the Long Trail’s stepchild,” he would say.   He wasn’t wrong.  Considered a side trail, this stretch of the AT was originally blazed blue. It was dismissed as an uninteresting connection between between the Green and White Mountains.  The real trail, the venerable Long Trail, had Section Clubs dedicated to maintaining each mile. The AT had Mauri Wintturi.

A large Finnish man with an appetite for beer, Mauri was described as “having as much tact as a freight train.”  What he lacked finesse he made up for in effort.  A veritable trail-blazing, water-bar-building, shrub-clearing, blowdown-cutting workhorse, Mauri was admired for his dedication, worth ethic, and passion.  Work-trip reports from the Killington Section, of which Mauri was member, are full of accounts like these:

Wintturi and I did this job. From here to Tamarack, the trail was cleared, and several wet places were bridged with solid log bridging.

Multiple visits were made to various shelters where registers were replaced, and general policing of the camps was done. Mauri Wintturi was particularly active in this field.

April 20, 21. Mauri Wintturi checked trail and painted blazes from 103 to Beacon Hill.

Mauri Wintturi helped complete clearing and blazing. It was a fine day among good company.”

Ben Rolston noted that “Few members have logged so many hours of trail/ shelter work in so many places as Mauri.”

Mauri Wintturi
Mauri Wintturi

It wasn’t until 1979 that Mauri got subtantial help keeping the AT cleared.  A major plan to elevate this stretch AT from low, muddy logging roads to protected ridgelines was approved by the GMC. This plan requied the creation of two new Sections to manage the new trail:  the Montreal, and Ottauquechee sections.

After Wintturi’s death in 1982, the GMC approved a proposal that the old Gulf Shelter be moved, recontructed and renamed the Mauri Wintturi Shelter. This was the second time the old Gulf Shelter was moved. A log lean-to with bunks for 6 to 8 was constructed in 1962 near a road. Its easy access proved too inviting for party-goers so it was moved 0.1 mile further from the road in 1977.

Maintained by the Ottauquechee Section, the Wintturi Shelter was in use until to 1995 at which time its condition was rated poor.  Reportedlly, It listed like a ship under sail, and the ants had piled up their sawdust on the floor. In 1995 it was removed and rebuilt.

Bristow, Preston. “Where NOBO and SOBO Meet.” Long Trail News, no. Summer (2015): 11.

Hagerman, Robert. “Ottauquechee And Montreal Join GMC Section Ranks.” Long Trail News, August (1979): 6.

 Hagerman, Robert. “Montreal, ‘Quechee on Tap’; Jay Revived.” Long Trail News, Feb (1979): 2.

“GMC Saddened by Death of Mauri Wintturi Long.” Long Trail News, no. May (1982): 2.

Various Work Trip Reports, Smoke and Blazes, Killington Section

Long Trail Guide Book 21st Edition 1977