2008-09-13 minutes

Friends of Tuckerman Ravine
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
September 13, 2008 at Pinkham Notch Camp


Directors present:  Dave Esty, Roger Damon, Vince Tully, Hannes Schneider, Chris Thayer, Ted Sutton, Don Bishop, Matt Serge, Edgar Holmes, Sally Dinsmore Baldwin, Ellen Chandler, Bob Ackland, Bruce Doten, Tom Eastman, Jean Ryan, Jeff Leich

Regrets: Stu Dunlop, John Egan, Jesse McAleer, Jake Risch, Rich Brauel, Matt Howard

Advisory Board & Staff present: Al Risch, Naomi Risch, Matthew Risch

Forest Service representative present: Dave Neely

With 16 members present, a quorum was in place (9 are required).

1. Welcome: Dave Esty

*As president of the organization, Dave welcomed all and initiated introductions around the room.

*Dave intends to step down as President in June 2009. He has e-mailed his thoughts on the criteria we should require in the next President.

*Dave thanked the directors who have written checks for the office position. If you haven't done so already, please do so we can show 100% Board participation. This will allow us to employ Donna Woodward from now until next June. There are four new Lifetime Members among the Board as a result.

*Dave's main goal in the short term is to have evidence that we are a member-driven organization. We need accurate numbers of our membership and evidence it is growing so that we can go to corporate America for funding. In particular Dave's brother is working with one major foundation that we can approach when we are ready.

*Dave N and the Forest Service will be giving us notice of two projects needing funding shortly.

2. Secretary's Report: Jeff Leich:

*The minutes were circulated by e-mail after the last meeting and shortly before this meeting.

*Roger motioned to accept the minutes as written. Hannes seconded the motion, which was voted unanimously.

3. Treasurer's Report: Sally Baldwin for Rich Brauel:

*Sally presented the financial statements. There is a net loss for the year to date of ($399.), which compares favorably to ($1,849.) last year.

*There is enough cash in the account to get through until Inferno revenue starts to come in.

*John Gorman motioned to accept the Treasurer's Report; Matt Serge seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

4. Executive Director's Report, Al Risch:

*Al showed several flyers: for the Inferno, for the trail weekend, and for the proposed Seacoast event.

*Tom's press release and Naomi's posting on Facebook brought a good turnout for the trail work.

*Al had several meetings with the Forest Service and one with DOT regarding changes to the Inferno transition area in Pinkham Notch

*Bruce Doten made a motion to accept the Director's Report. Tom Eastman seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

5. Marketing Report: Ellen Chandler

*Ellen is working on a revised brochure for the group. It will be ready to go to the designer soon. It will reflect the group's accomplishments. No names of elected officials will be shown on the brochure; press releases are the appropriate place for those recognitions. The brochure will reflect the partnership with the Forest Service, while the web page is the appropriate place to note our connection with AMC.

*Ellen will work on a new annual appeal letter, and new metaphors are welcome if any occur to board members.

*The marketing committee will act as a web page review committee, with one member acting as liaison with the webmaster.

*Bob Ackland made a motion to accept the report; Sally Baldwin seconded it, and it passed unanimously.

6. 2008 Inferno: Ted Sutton

*Ted reported that things went pretty well on the mountain so there was no need for a big report. Meetings and inspections are scheduled for the 2009 event.

*Dave E noted that Ted's arrangements on the mountain worked perfectly but there were problems in the parking lot and the highway which need work; and those changes have been addressed.

7. Wildcat Wildfire event: Al

*The Inferno event turns away teams. Al and Jake have spent time working on a new event, to be held at Wildcat and called the Wildfire. It will be similar to the Inferno and use the same transition volunteers in the valley, but each segment will be easier than the Inferno. The hike and ski portion will be held at Wildcat rather than in the ravine. More volunteers will be needed at Wildcat.

*InfernoTeam entry fee will be $625.

*There will be two new rules governing the Inferno this year. All skiers must have skied in the ravine previously, and no chase cars will be allowed in the bike leg.

8. Forest Service Report: Dave Neely

*Dave thanked everyone who performed trail work earlier in the day.

*Forest Service funds have been frozen since August due to the costs of western wildfires. There does not seem to be any brighter outlook for 2009. The parking lot improvements in the notch fell victim to the fire transfers. They are pushing internally to get funds for the lot back into the 2009 budget.

*Dave N will be formalizing requests to FOTR in a letter soon. Two of the projects will be the replacement of slat boards for the avalanche warning signs, and excavation of water bars on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

*There has been no MOU (memo of understanding) with FOTR to date, but given the complexity of operations in the ravine it would help to clarify the roles of the FS, FOTR, AMC and MWVSP, so a 4-way MOU is high on Dave's priority list now. This might allow for FOTR volunteers on the mountain in ways no one has yet defined.

*Dave E noted that once there is a vigorous board and an active membership, well-defined projects will be important to raise capital. He looks to the Forest Service to define projects that the taxpayers cannot fund.

*Dave N noted that there is perhaps $100,000 in deferred maintenance on buildings in the ravine. The Mt Washington Avalanche Center is probably the biggest ongoing need, and would be vulnerable if a new regional forester without an appreciation for its importance were appointed; FOTR's support would be critical then.

9. Nominating Committee: Bob Ackland

*The committee did not meet since the last meeting.

*Dave E has given a great deal of thought to presidential succession and proposes adding a Chairman as an officer who would work closely with the Forest Service, while the President would continue to be the CEO of the organization. The Articles and Bylaws would need to be changed to do this, and description of the Chairman's duties written. Dave recommended that Matt Serge become President and Ted Sutton become the Chairman. He sees the group's work having grown to the point that both positions are needed to bolster Al's work.  Dave will work with the Nominating Committee on this.

*10. Old Business:

*Avalanche slat boards: Hannes Schneider. $100 donation from the website has been earmarked for the slat board project. The time may be right after a year with many avalanche deaths for this project to get attention. Backcountry has a 2-page article on the dwindling funding for avalanche protection nationally. Hannes will write a draft of a letter he will mail with an appeal for funding for the slat boards.

*Bruce reported he has received a commitment from Vitamin Water to provide a team and product for the 2009 Inferno.

11. New Business:

Steve Eastman Volunteer Award: John Gorman and Jean Ryan reported on the new Steve Eastman Volunteer Award and the criteria for selection. The criteria were modified by deleting line 1, which confined the award to FOTR supporters. Hannes moved to accept the criteria as modified. Bruce seconded the motion, which passed without opposition.

*Dave E said the committee should consider presenting the award at the Inferno dinner.

*The committee will disclose candidates at the next meeting.

*Proposed Seacoast event: Jean Ryan presented plans for an evening event to introduce FOTR to people on the Seacoast, to be held at the kayak shop of Bill Downing. A date for early November will be announced. Jean has lined up beverage and food sponsors. Board members are asked to recruit 3 Seacoast residents for the event.

*Edward Tuckerman desk: Dave E expressed the hope of the Esty family that the Edward Tuckerman objects, especially the traveling desk, could be displayed to the public in some venue. FOTR owns the objects and carries their value on the balance sheet.

12. Adjournment

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Leich


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