These days there are so many nonprofit organizations doing amazing work. As we have been “distancing ourselves” to keep each other well, we have also lost a physical connection with family and friends. Some of us struggle with the isolation more than others, and many non-profit organizations are working hard to keep the people they serve feeling supported and connected. One organization that is not only keeping folks connected but also striving to get them outside is Veterans on the 48.

Veterans on the 48 is a hiking group dedicated to getting veterans out on the trails. Their mission is to promote healthy lifestyles both physically and mentally through organized group hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

A few weeks ago I reached out to their founder, Michael York, after the organization had been tagging WMTC with amazing photos of veterans summiting NH’s 48 4000 footers. I wanted to learn more about who they are and what they are doing. We connected via a Zoom call and immediately I knew there was a way we could partner and not only do good for the trails, but for our veterans as well!

I am so excited to announce that WMTC will be partnering with Veterans on the 48 to train 30+ veterans on basic trail maintenance skills in the spring of 2021. We will also assist them in forming professional trail crews, adding much needed maintenance capacity to the 1200+ miles of trails in the White Mountains while also helping to build community and provide jobs among veterans. Our partnership with Veterans on the 48 is bigger than trail work; it is giving back to those who have served and protected us.

Supporting veterans is something close to my heart as my brother is a veteran having served in the Army as a crew chief in Iraq. His selfless service and sense of honor has long been something I have admired, and his dedication to our country and protecting the lands we love is an inspiration to me. I think of his service often as I talk to others about protecting the trails and preserving the legacy.

We are so honored and proud to be collaborating with this amazing group, and we'll keep you updated on our work together.

Happy Holidays!

Melanie Luce, Executive Director White Mountain Trail Collective