Our Stories

Remembering Arlen Matson

Categories: Volunteer Stories


Arlen Matson, founding member of the NCTA Grand Traverse Hiking Club Chapter, passed away in early April. He received an NCTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Photo by Michael Terrell

“Arlen loved being in nature and surrounded by God’s creation. His favorite hobbies included camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, biking, backpacking, fishing and photography. Arlen’s passion for the outdoors was integral in his founding of the [NCTA Grand Traverse] Hiking Club [Chapter], and pivotal roles with the North Country Trail. He assisted in numerous grant writing proposals for the Trail, along with blazing and maintaining parts of it. He was a talented poet and published author of the book The Adventures of Anderson.” (Except from Arlen’s Obituary, provided by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.)

“We have so much to remember about his caring about the outdoors, trails and founding the hiking club that brought us all together,” wrote June Thaden. “His joy in building new trail and renewing parts of old trail was an inspiration. Brings smiles to me, remembering times on trail work days. And so many are carrying forward his efforts with wonderful results. What a legacy Arlen has created.”