NCTA Recognizes Four SHTA Volunteers

October 27, 2022

Each year, volunteers from the North Country Trail Association community are honored for their exceptional contributions. The Superior Hiking Trail officially became an affiliate of the North Country National Scenic Trail in 2019, a 4,800-mile trail stretching from North Dakota to Vermont.   

Volunteers who receive these awards have given exceptional service, often many years’ worth, to the North Country Trail and North Country Trail Association and their affiliates like the SHT. Four amazing SHTA volunteers were honored Oct. 6 at the NCTA’s Annual Celebration in Walker, Minn.

Dave Jansen: Trail Maintainer
Section adopter Dave Jansen keeps his 3.5-mile section packed down with snowshoes in the winter.

This award honors volunteers who has demonstrated exceptional dedication or achievements over a three-year period or more in maintaining or restoring preexisting Trail segments.

Dave Jansen has been the section adopter of 3.5 miles of the SHT between Bally Creek Road and County Road 6 for the past 8 years, a popular and well used section year round due to it’s proximity to Grand Marais.

Dave has single-handedly transformed this section, cutting back the trees and brush along his section to bring the trail corridor up to SHTA and NCTA trail corridor-width standards. His section is a textbook example of care and attention to detail when lopping and brushing. He also keeps the section packed down with snowshoes in the winter so that users have an easier time and don’t get lost, and this winter, when the person who had been plowing the trailhead quit without notifying the SHTA, Dave shoveled it out by hand during a year when Northern Minnesota experienced record-breaking snowfall.

Dave has shown great dedication, has a high quality of work, and is a pleasure to work with. Nominated by Tamer Ibrahim.

Dan Proctor near Chester Creek on the SHT. Photo courtesy of Kari Wright.
Dan Proctor: Trail Maintainer

Dan is a tireless volunteer on a very demanding section of the Trail in Chester Park, an area that was virtually destroyed by record flooding in 2012 and was largely rebuilt by Dan’s hands after suffering massive erosion and blowdowns.

Dan is on the trail almost daily. He works with the City or Duluth on bigger maintenance projects, but also does much of the work by hand in a steep area of rock and clay. He asks for nothing other than users enjoy this section of ups and downs, waterfalls and overlooks.

Dan has also begun to use battery powered tools as to preserve this wild section of trail in an urban area and to be as green as possible. This has been a labor of love for Dan for decades. Trail user will often bump into Dan doing work almost weekly in the spring, summer and fall. Nominated by Josh Berlo.

Marty Anderson: Communicator of the Year
Marty Anderson at the NCTA Celebration with his award for Communicator of the Year.

During the past three years, Marty Anderson has produced nine professional videos for the SHTA, offering a valuable resource to the SHT community.

The videos range from safety and training videos for our volunteers to a mini-documentary about closing the Gooseberry Gap. Marty’s videos are regularly viewed on the SHTA YouTube channel and have increased our promotion of the trail as well as enhanced our training capabilities.

When Marty attended a prospective volunteer meeting, he thought he was going to be picking up a shovel, but when he heard we needed a videographer, he jumped on it. Since then, he regularly asks staff for new projects that he can complete for us and pitches ideas that strengthen our communication and outreach with our volunteers, members, and users. The SHTA is lucky to have Marty sharing his passion for video with us. Nominated by Barbara Budd.

Mike Ward: Sweep of the Year

This award honors a volunteer for tireless work and achievements behind the scenes on behalf of the Trail for a three-year period or more. Mike Ward is the definition of tireless, and one of those volunteers who just keeps showing up for the Superior Hiking Trail Association in the most unexpected and critical ways.

NCTA Executive Director Andrea Ketchmark awards Mike Ward “Sweep of the Year”.

Mike joined the SHTA Board of Directors three years ago. Mike had been heavily involved in the SHTA community already, volunteering for us and demonstrating great enthusiasm for all aspects of the organization. Mike initially became interested in the SHTA because of his involvement in the trail racing community and setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) record for 2016 on the SHT by running the entire trail in 8 days, 7 hours and 59 minutes. He led one of the SHTA’s first Trail Stewardship Teams.

Mike is always game to try something new and fills gaps that are needed for the Association, even the quirky ones like helping the SHTA launch its outreach and education webinars in 2020. Behind the scenes he is putting in tons of work to make sure SHT users have the best possible experience on the Trail. Nominated by Lisa Luokkala.

If you would like to nominate one of the SHTA’s amazing and dedicated volunteers for recognition at the 2023 North Country Trail Association’s Celebration or for the SHTA’s Volunteer of the Year Award, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Budd at [email protected].

From everyone at the Superior Hiking Trail Association and North Country Trail Association, thank you Dave, Dan, Marty and Mike for sharing your talents, hard work, and dedication with the Trail!