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Behind the Bow Saw: AMC

January 15, 2020 Claire Polfus

Maine is full of beautiful trail systems that provide access to amazing places! Behind every mile of trail there is a trail manager, whether professional or volunteer, working hard to ensure the trails are open for all to enjoy. Our ongoing series, Behind the Bow Saw, introduces you to the great people who build and maintain your favorite trails across Maine. For this installment, we asked Steve Tatko of the Appalachian Mountain Club a few questions.  

Steve Tatko
Where you live:
Willimantic, Maine
Appalachian Mountain Club


Photo courtesy: Steve Tatko
Photo courtesy: Steve Tatko

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America's Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Looking out over AMC's Maine Woods Initiative property from Third Mountain
Looking out over AMC's Maine Woods Initiative property from Third Mountain
What are you currently working on?

AMC owns and manages 75,000 acres of conservation land in northern Maine. We are in the midst of acquiring 27,000 additional acres of land boosting our ownership to over 100,000 acres. My job is to integrate our responsible forest management with our recreational infrastructure on a landscape scale. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how our conservation efforts intersect with recreational users on our landscape and how our trails can better tell the story of that conservation work.

Baker Mountain from Mountain View Pond, Photo credit: Steve Tatko
Baker Mountain from Mountain View Pond, Photo credit: Steve Tatko
Favorite trail memory in Maine:

I had hiked Mount Katahdin 5 times and every time had arrived at the summit to no view. On my sixth trip up the mountain, I climbed up and over the Knifes edge then over to the summit. It was late in the season and Baxter State Park was closing in a few days. I started up the mountain with a group of friends who had never hiked Katahdin. We worked our way through the woods in the fog and the rain. As we got to the start of the Knife's Edge, the clouds still had us locked in. Carefully easing our way along the knife edge and avoiding early season patches of icy rocks, we neared the summit. The rain had lifted as we hit the top but the clouds still had us fully enveloped. After eating lunch and shifting clothing layers we started to head back down the mountain. Suddenly, a view to the south of us started to open up. Piquing our interest, we stayed to watch the clouds peal back and reveal the landscape around us for the better part of an hour. It was a truly incredible and emotional experience to watch as my home landscape opened up before me on a mountain whose silhouette has marked my location and given me inspiration each day over the course of my life.

Best tip for trail users:

Buy the best quality gear you can afford. Fit and function when paired with longevity will keep you outside longer and happier. 

Photo courtesy of AMC
Photo courtesy of AMC

Visit Steve and the Appalachian Mountain Club at the Maine Wilderness Lodges and check out their fantastic trail network. Support their work by becoming a member or volunteering.

Thanks for all your work, Steve!
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