NCTA Celebrates 2018 Annual Award Winners

Board of Directors President Ruth Dorrough with Rising Star Award winner Luc Albert.

The North Country National Scenic Trail exists only because of the incredible community that supports it. Each spring, NCTA’s Awards Committee takes nominations for a series of Volunteer Awards that celebrate the efforts of the extraordinary individuals that go that extra mile to make the Trail and NCTA what it is today. Whether they build trail or partnerships, organize hikes or meetings, contribute time or money, we want to recognize our outstanding volunteers, landowners, and supporters for their contributions. Join us in celebrating the 2018 NCTA Annual Award Winners!

Boots on the Trail: A volunteer, who regularly leads hikes that are well advertised and promoted to the public (non-NCTA members) as a way of building NCTA membership and support for the Trail, over a three- or more year period.

  • Bobbi Jo Gamache, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)
  • Rennae Gruchalla, Dakota Prairie Chapter (ND)
  • John Rarick, Wampum Chapter (PA)

Outreach Award: A volunteer, whose efforts to build coalitions, partnerships or other forms of local support have contributed significantly to the ongoing success of the North Country Trail.

  • Mike Wilkey, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)
  • Eileen Fairbrother, Central New York Chapter (NY)
  • Gail Rogne, Dakota Prairie Chapter (ND)

Sweep Award: A volunteer, for tireless work and achievements behind the scenes of behalf of the Trail or the NCTA over a three- or more year period.

  • Rita Oswald, Brule-St. Croix Chapter (WI)
  • Michael Schlicht, Finger Lakes Trail Conference (NY)
  • David Wright, Wampum Chapter (PA)

Communicator of the Year: A volunteer, for exemplary work in promoting the Trail or the NCTA through a communications medium (newsletter, website, brochure, etc.) or personal contacts over a three- or more year period.

  • Charles Chandler, Western Michigan Chapter (MI)
  • Bob Cooley, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)

Rising Star Award: An NCTA member between the ages of eight and 25 who has made significant contributions to the Trail and seems likely to continue, and whose dedication to the Trail and the NCTA sets an example to other youths and shows exceptional promise.

  • Charles Schutt II, Finger Lakes Trail Conference (NY)
  • Aurora Burton, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)
  • Luc Albert, Sheyenne River Valley Chapter (ND)

Trail Builder of the Year: A volunteer, whose work in Trail planning, landowner negotiations, layout and design, and/or construction, have resulted in the development of outstanding new trail or facilities over a three- or more year period.

  • Tom Hicks, Brule-St. Croix Chapter (WI)
  • Pat McNamara, Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore (MI)
  • Ed Scurry, Clarion County Chapter (PA)

Trail Maintainer of the Year: A volunteer, who has demonstrated exceptional dedication or achievements over a three- or more year period in maintaining or restoring pre-existing Trail segment(s).

  • Daryl Heise, Sheyenne River Valley Chapter (ND)
  • Barb Isom, Superior Shoreline Chapter (MI)
  • Mel Baughman, Chequamegon Chapter (WI)

Friend of the Trail: An employee of a unit of government or an organization whose leadership, accommodation and active collaboration have substantially benefited the North Country Trail.

  • Finger Lakes Land Trust: Andy Zepp, Kris West, Zachary Odell
  • Jamie Lowe, US Forest Service (MN)
  • Tyler Modin, Fort Ransom State Park (ND)

Vanguard Award: A legislator or other public official whose leadership, actions and advocacy have substantially benefitted the North Country Trail over a chapter/affiliate/partner’s area or larger, not just a short segment.

  • Region 7 NYSDEC: Dan Little, Jonathan Holbein, John M. Clancy
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin, United States Senate

Blue Blaze Benefactor: An individual or household demonstrating vision and generosity through significant monetary or in-kind contributions to the Trail or the NCTA.

  • Helen Brooks, Finger Lakes Trail Conference (NY)
  • Tom and Mary Moberg, Dakota Prairie Chapter (ND)

Trailblazer Award: A business or foundation for far-sighted vision and support, demonstrated by significant contribution(s) to the NCT or the NCTA.

  • Butler County Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau (Zelienople, PA)

Outstanding Private Landowner: A private landowner whose leadership, accommodation and active collaboration have substantially benefited the North Country Trail.

  • Ron and Grace Hutchinson, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)

Leadership Award: A volunteer, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership over a three- or more year period leading to significant local achievements or highly successful events.

  • Loren Bach, Spirit of the Woods Chapter (MI)
  • Dave Newman, Finger Lakes Trail Conference (NY)
  • Eric Longman, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)

Distinguished Service: An individual, in recognition of exceptional volunteer service in furthering the goals of the NCTA, and outstanding contributions toward the dream of the North Country Trail. Individual should have made a significant commitment and accomplishments over eight or more years.

  • Timothy Mowbray, Brule-St. Croix Chapter (WI)
  • Larry Pio, Chief Noonday Chapter (MI)
  • Kay Kujawa, Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter (MI)

Tom Gilbert Lifetime Achievement Award: An individual, in recognition of 15 years or more of true dedication, exceptional service and outstanding contributions towards the dream of the North Country Trail or the success and growth of the NCTA, not just local service. Service may be performed in a voluntary or paid capacity.

  • Paul Haan, Western Michigan Chapter (MI)
  • Tom Reimers, Finger Lakes Trail Conference (NY)
  • Marty Swank, Chequamegon Chapter (WI)


Congratulations to all and a huge ‘thank you’ for your commitment!

The PowerPoint (PDF) version of the awards presentation is available here.

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