OH Steering Committee Meeting,
Nov. 1, 2019, Jackson, NH
Present: Peg Dillon, Dominique Dodge, Keith Force, Emily Griffin, Doug Hotchkiss, Erik Koeppel, John Lamanna, Moose Meserve, Phoebe Howe, Barbara Ricker, Stroker Rogovin, Elizabeth Seabury, Schroeder Steward, John Thompson, Mike Waddell, Alex Ziko.
1) Treasurer’s Report (Moose Meserve & Alex Ziko)
Income is finally catching up to budget estimate for the year. Expenses are below budget due to postponed improvements to first floor cabin emergency egress. Moose will handle treasurer’s duties through the end of the year, handing over the reins to Alex when we start new books for 2020. Moose leaves his post having built the OHA into remarkably strong financial shape, with treasury reserves roughly 400% above what they were ten years ago.
2) Cabin (Stroker & Carter Bascom)
We were joined for this portion of the meeting by Ed Baldwin, chair of the Harvard Camp Corporation (HCC), the legal entity that holds the title to the Harvard Cabin and the small parcel of land on which it sits. AMC Harvard Cabin Committee leases the cabin from HCC and maintains it for use by members of the AMC and Harvard Outing Club (HOC). Ed joined us to discuss the pending sale of land abutting both the HCC and OHA properties, owned for the past 29 years by Mr. Gervais, of Gorham ME. Gervais has privately expressed to the OHA his interest in selling his land, as well as wanting to keep it in its current relatively undeveloped state. Following discussions between the OHA and HCC, both organizations are in agreement that we should purchase the land to prevent development incompatible with our enjoyment and use of our properties. Gervais land also borders the WMNF, but given budget constraints and the cumbersome nature of the review and approval process for new land purchases, USFS involvement doesn’t look realistic or useful. Assistance from Jackson or affiliated land trusts seems equally unlikely, given that the Jackson Land Trust is currently negotiating a 1000 acre deal of its own, and 80% of the town is already under some form of protected status. Carter Bascom has been tasked with discussing details with Mr. Gervais such as timeframe and asking price. Carter will also be researching related costs such as removing the existing structure, which is in an advanced state of disrepair and would require considerable expense to improve and maintain. Neither the OHA or HCC want to maintain and manage any more structures than they already administer, so the preliminary understanding is that the building will be removed and the land put into some form of protected status, either current use or some form of conservation easement. NH law requires a minimum of 10 acres for current use designation, which would mean HCC assuming most of the new purchase. OHA would acquire enough land to the N of our access road (now shared with Gervais) to guarantee use of this strip for parking, staging firewood and cabin projects, etc. Fundraising details will be discussed when more information is in hand. In principle, the OHA and HCC would lead the charge, with help from the HOC (President Allegra Colman and Gear Manager Michael Wallace joined the meeting after it adjourned, but assured Stroker and Carter thy would offer what support they could going forward, including fundraising). The AMC Harvard Cabin Committtee will most likely not be directly involved in fundraising, due to constraints imposed by the AMC Development Dept., although individual members of that Committee may participate as independent actors. The usefulness of acquiring a 501(c)3 status has been discussed for at least 20 years, particularly with regard to just these sorts of situations. Josh Alper will pursue this with the state of NH. HCC seems to think it may be useful with fundraising.
3) EOS Report (Emily Griffin)
Huts Field Assistant Emily Griffin reported that the End of The Summer party was fun, as usual, with staff discussing how current and departing croo can stay connected to the OHA, why dues and cabin fees are important, joining us for Fallfest, etc. Current croo members presented a poem and other entertainment.
4) Joe Dodge Award Nominations, 2020 (Dominique Dodge & James Wrigley)
Bill Barrett will be this year’s OHA nominee for the Joe Dodge Award, given his decades of service to the AMC as info volunteer and fill-in croo, service to the WMNF as trail adopter, and service to the OHA as long-standing Steering Committee participant and unofficial historian. Liz Seabury to submit the nomination. Because standing committee members are ineligible for the award, Bill will “retire” for the coming year, with Peter Benson serving as his interim replacement. John Thompson and Dominique Dodge are the other 2 (of 3 total) OH serving on the Committee.
5) Fallfest Reunion, Nov. 2 (Phoebe & Stroker)
Jeff Colt and Jess Marion are geared up to give the featured presentation on the history of trail running, focusing on trail running in the Whites, and the involvement of AMC croos past and present.
Gerry Whiting and Linus Story have been tapped to present an Honorary OH Award to Ken Olsen for his many years of service to the AMC and the huts, and for a lifetime of work with regional conversation organizations too numerous to mention here.
Mike Waddell will be presenting the OHA Special Member Award to Joe Brigham (posthumously), for decades of support for the huts through his helicopter support work. Joe’s daughters to receive the award in honor of their father.
Phoebe Howe reports that A/V, food, and other arrangements are all on track. In October, Phoebe stepped in to manage this event when it became apparent that the original manager required assistance.
6) 2020 Steering Committee Nominations (Stroker)
Emily Benson to replace Stephanie Maraldo as Member-at-Large. All other nominees stand, as voted and approved at the last meeting.
7) Photo Project Update (Doug Hotchkiss)
Doug Hotchkiss and Sally Dinsmore have completed restoration of the historic photos on the OH Cabin walls, and arranged both older and newer photos to create more room for future contributions, which current and future croo are encouraged to make.
8) Membership Outreach (Carter & Phoebe)
How do we engage members living outside New England? Carter and Phoebe have been working on identifying and contacting regional “fun coordinators” that could help organize OH events outside New England, to help OH keep in touch with each other and with the larger organization. Other ideas were discussed in a recent conference call with Jeff Colt and others, and will be discussed further at the Young Members Session at Fallfest.
9) Website (Schroeder & Carter)
We’re still working on streamlining membership data entry for officers, and developing bulk emailing capability directly from the database (as opposed to using a third-party service, which is how we currently handle bulk emailings).
Carter is still setting up the OHA FB Page, and has been made a FB Group admin. He’s also still working on privacy guidelines for all OHA social media.
Instagram is the social media format of choice for current croo, with FB appealing to a broader, generally older demographic (700+ members). The OHA Instagram account has 500 members, including some general public. A post from Carter featuring the 2019 croos was well received.
Phoebe suggested reinstating the map from the old website that showed the locations of all OH members. Alex will help Schroeder set this up.
Taylor Burt has officially stepped down as our technical guru and will need to be replaced. [As of this writing, a Y-OH has stepped forward at Fallfest to possibly assume this role. Phoebe to discuss this with Schroder.]
10) Hut System Report (Emily Griffin)
Zealand, Carter, and Lonesome have all officially transitioned to winter caretaker status, with the other five huts closed for the season. Fall weather was generally favorable, and hut closings went smoothly. Applications are now open for next summer huts jobs and are available through the AMC website. AMC also looking for winter caretakers.
11) Trails Report (John Thompson)
We’re in constant need of fresh recruits to help with trail maintenance.
12) Resuscitator (Stroker for Beth)
Help still needed with layout and proofing. Anyone have desk-top publishing skills?
13) New & Other Bidness
PNC 100th anniversary celebration coming up next October.
AMC Board of Advisors meet on 11/8 to discuss how the trails program serves the AMC mission, and how Pinkham and the Highland Center serve the public and the mission. OH felt both roadside facilities performed a valuable function by serving the public with trail and weather info, gear loans, outdoor education, etc. Pinkham should continue as a funky, rustic, “roadside hut with electricity,” and as a stepping stone to the huts and Tucks. Highland Center seems to offer “fancier” amenities and cater to people less willing to “rough it” or into the “historic” feel of Pinkham. Both facilities should present affordable options for folks on limited budgets.
14) Next Steering Committee Meeting: Jan 14, 6:30 PM, Three Tomatoes, Lebanon, NH