Monday, February 23, 2009

Getting to Know Your Monitor Coordinators - Dave Field (MATC)

Dave Field, Overseer of Lands, Maine Appalachian Trail Club

1. How did you become (and what inspired you to become) the Monitor Coordinator for your club?

I created the position of "Overseer of Lands" in the Maine Appalachian Trail Club when I stepped down after 10 years as Club President in 1988. This is the MATC's "Corridor Monitor Coordinator" position. I volunteered to fill the position, stepped down when I became Chair of the ATC Board of Managers in 1995, and resumed the role in 2003.

2. What are your responsibilities in that position?

Duties are defined in the MATC Constitution/Bylaws:
1. Maintain the Club land record files for all corridor lands acquired by the National Park Service and managed by the MATC.
2. Serve as Corridor Monitor Coordinator for the MATC, to organize and oversee the monitoring of the condition of corridor lands.
3. Represent the MATC in matters involving corridor design and boundary surveying and oversee whatever activities the MATC accepts in connection with Trail corridor boundary maintenance.
4. Represent the MATC in matters that involve interactions between corridor lands and lands of adjacent landowners, including the exercise of residual rights by former landowners and use of easement crossings of the corridor.
5. Coordinate the work of the MATC independent corridor monitors (those without a Trail Maintenance assignment) and corridor monitoring specialists ( a team of individuals with special expertise in boundary inspection and maintenance, road closures, etc.).
6. Provide support for corridor monitoring training.
7. Submit an annual report to the Appalachian Trail Conference for corridor monitoring activities.

3. What are some of the unique challenges to doing corridor monitoring/boundary maintenance in your club’s section?

The MATC is responsible for monitoring 31,646 acres of ATPO fee lands, 492 acres of ATPO easements, 8,362 acres of State-owned corridor lands, 4,353 acres of State-held easements, 301 miles of exterior corridor boundary lines, 130 ATPO tracts, and 2,042 ATPO monuments. I maintain all of the deeds for ATPO lands in Maine, keep files on every one of the 130 ATPO tracts, stock multiple copies of 164 ECBS map sheets for distribution to 70 corridor monitors. The lands in Maine are remote and rugged. Boundary lines are so long that monuments are set only every 1000 feet between corners. Surveys date back to 1984, so some of the lines are in pretty poor shape. To our benefit, our remote tracts suffer from little of the encroachment pressure that is common in more settled areas. Almost all of the corridor in Maine is in the "Unorganized Territory", where there is no local government and few residents.

4. How long have you volunteered for A.T. and in what capacity (ies)?

I have been a member of the MATC for 53 years, have maintained 6-7 miles of the AT footpath for 52 years, served as MATC Overseer of the Trail for Western Maine (100 miles) for ten years, as President for 10 years, and have been on the MATC Executive Committee for 40 years. I served on the ATC Board of Managers for 26 years, including 10 as Secretary, two as Vice Chair for New England, and six as Chair.

5. What do (or did) you do in your professional life?

I'm a professional forester, worked for the USDA Forest Service for three years, taught forestry at Purdue University, Yale University, and the University of Maine for 36 years, and administered the Forestry program at Maine for 25 years. I "retired" in 2006.

6. What inspires you (over all) to do volunteer work on the Trail? What keeps you coming back to boundary work?

I'm a forester. I love the woods and believe whole-heartedly in the AT program. Boundary work involves an element of exploration that reveals new wonders every time I go into the woods.

7. What do (or would) you say to a volunteer interested to giving A.T. boundary work a try?

This is enormously rewarding work and a lot of fun, but you do need to understand that it is very different from working on the AT footpath. You won't be following a blazed trail and you need to be comfortable working in remote forest areas, off the footpath. If you get into trouble, you can't count on a hiker coming along to help you out. If you're in a place like Maine, you can't count on a cell phone signal either. But, the whole AT community fought and worked hard to create the protection corridor. As a corridor monitor, you are in the vanguard of the volunteers dedicated to protecting the Trail.

8. What do you like (and/or dislike) the most about volunteering?

I'm the same as every other volunteer--paperwork is the most unpleasant part of the job.


You have put an incredible amount of work into the AT and the AT Boundary. The shear size and complexity of the Maine Boundary is daunting. Thank you for dedication!

- the gals at the Boundary Program

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