President: Ken Vallery – Lancaster, NH – Ken grew up on the seacoast of New Hampshire but spent much of his time hiking and backpacking in the White Mountains. He is often found on weekends in the mountains hiking with his wife Kim. They are both avid outdoors people and were thrilled to relocate to Lancaster in 2008 when Ken took a job with New Hampshire’s Department of Safety. Ken believes volunteering for the Cohos Trail Association is an ideal way to give back to the trails. Ken and Kim also adopt the Eastside and Dixville bypass trails.

 Vice President: Kirsten Silfvenius –  Kirsten moved to Coos County after graduating from Smith College in 2013 and became involved with the trail while managing Ramblewood Cabins in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. As an active runner, hiker, telemark skier, and mountain biker, she enjoys being part of organizations that improve access to the region’s forests for locals and visitors alike. She is also a lead organizer for the North of the Notch Young Professionals Network, certified Wilderness First Responder, and lifetime member of the Girl Scouts.

Secretary: Tammy Hirschhorn-


Treasurer: Bruce Brekke –  Bruce grew up in New Jersey, and with his wife Sondra from Ohio, raised our family in northwestern New Jersey where he spent many weekends over the years backpacking on the AT.  They first came to northern New Hampshire in 2007 and bought their house in Whitefield in 2008.  Bruce retired in 2009 after a 27 year career as a Digital Design Engineer with a military contractor.  In March of that year, four days after leaving his job in New Jersey, Bruce started his AT thru-hike, Georgia to Maine, summiting Mt. Katahdin in September.  Bruce is currently, and casually, working on the New Hampshire 48 4000 footers.

Shortly after settling in Coös County Bruce saw an ad for trail workers on the Cohos Trail for construction of the lean-to near Sugarloaf in Nash Stream, where he met Kim and learned of the CT.  The two of them poured the footings and returned in the spring for the assembly of the Old Hermit Shelter.  In 2012 Bruce joined the weekend work crew for the assembly of the composting latrine at the Panorama lean-to, and puncheon building and repair.  He currently enjoys maintaining the Colonel Whipple Trail section of the CT at Pondicherry.


Board Members

Founder/Chairman: Kim Robert Nilsen – Founder of The Cohos Trail Association and designer of the 170-mile foot trail. Six months away from retirement, Nilsen is developing an organic and bio-dynamic farm on the campus of a Waldorf educational and recreational facility, Camp Glen Brook in Marlborough, NH. Formerly, he was a marketing manager with After The Fall natural fruit juice company in Vermont and Blue Range Natural Beverages of New Hampshire. He devotes two whole weeks each year to trail work directly on the trail system and he writes grants and cultivates sponsors for the association.

He is the author of the Cohos Trail guidebook, and he has recently finished his first novel, Yellowstone. available through Amazon!

Chad E. Pepau – Chad was born and raised in the heart of Coös County, New Hampshire in the small village of Stark. Hiking and backpacking are his greatest passions. When the Cohos Trail was first being transformed from an idea to becoming a piece of reality, he got involved with the trail. He started out bushwhacking and flagging out sections of trail with the trail’s founder, Kim Nilsen. From there, Chad went on to volunteering to cut new sections of trail and eventually became The Cohos Trails Association’s second paid trail crew leader under the auspices of AmeriCorps. Today, he continues to volunteer on the trail in many ways; including trail construction and maintenance projects, attending board meetings, and communicating with concerned individuals about the Cohos Trail.

Chad has much experience when it comes to trail construction and maintenance. After serving as the Cohos Trail’s second paid trail crew leader in 2002/2003, he went on to serve three consecutive summers with the United States Forest Service in 2004 through 2006. Chad worked on New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, Androscoggin Ranger District’s trail crew for the first two summers with the Forest Service, and on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan/Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness Ranger District’s trail crew in 2006.

In 2007, Chad graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle with a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation and Leisure Services. His concentration is in Park Management and Natural Resource Protection. Chad is  currently certified as a S.O.L.O. Wilderness First Responder, as well as a Leave-No-Trace trainer.

Chad also served as President of The Cohos Trail Association from March 2011 to October 2015.

Lainie Castine– a former trail maintainer for the MATC (Maine Appalachian Trail Club) in the Bigelow Preserve-Maine, she is a skilled trail developer – exceptional trail maintainer and has been instrumental in laying out new trail routes in the 300,000-acre headwaters region of the Connecticut River. She was nominated by the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails and received the 2010 American Trails – Trail Worker Award, a national award.

Lainie is the Cohos Trail Signmaker, Northern Trail Coordinator, certified in S.O.L.O. Wilderness First Aid, a member of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team – Colebrook Chapter), an OHRV (Off Highway Recreational Vehicle) safety instructor for Fish and Game, also on the North Country Endurance Challenge Committee, and the NH100 Ultra-Marathon Committee and works as a liasion between the motorized and non-motorized clubs in the Colebrook area.


Yvan Guay – Mr. Guay works for the NH Department of Transportation specializing in highway bridge construction and repair and is assigned to the northern regions of the state. Mr. Guay maintains the Percy Loop Camp on the Cohos Trail and the Percy Loop Trail. Over the last decade he has helped the association build the Baldhead Lean-to atop remote Baldhead Mt., built the Panorama Lean-to in Dixville and helped in the early restoration process of Kamp Kirk in the Nash Stream Forest.


Ray Chaput – Mr. Chaput is a veteran Cohos Trail hiker having hiked sections of the trail several times with his lovely wife, Joan. Ray bushwhacked many of the sections in the 1970’s, before the trail came on line. Ray currently serves as a bailiff in Twin Mountain and is a retired member of the Twin Mountain Fire Department. He also creates Cohos Trail signs and blazes in his spare time.

Ray and his wife, Joan, maintain the R & J Chaput Trail,  in Pittsburg.


Sue Wentworth Board Member and CT Trails Coordinator – Sue grew up in southern New Hampshire and started hiking in the early 70’s when she met her husband, Gary.  They moved to the North Country in February 2011 and love it here.   Sue met a North Country local soon after relocating and found out how to join TCTA.  She and Gary, & Bonnie thier dog enjoy trail work very much are currently the adopters of the new Trio Trail and Pond Brook Falls trail.

Carla Schneider –

Thomas Adams- Tom was born and raised in Berlin NH, and learned to enjoy the North Woods with his Dad,  friends and neighbors. Leaving New England to find work but he later returned to live in Southern NH/Maine.  Tom and his  wife  have raised three kids in Springvale ME, taking them back to his parents house in Berlin to enjoy the outdoors whenever possible, now with his grandchildren he is doing the same with them.   Annalee and Misty Rose his two oldest granddaughters showed an interest in wanting to do overnight hiking,which took them to Unknown Pond a place as a kid he seldom saw people. Amazed at how crowded the area was he sought the more remote Northern sections of the COHOS Trail. Looking for a trail that they  could experience a variety of trail conditions from popular Presidential Range to quite northern forest. Now working with the Cohos Trail he wants the girls to understand that these trails don’t just happen, they need to be built and cared for.  Tom  started going North and helping on projects, bringing the girls whenever there was work suitable for their age and size.

John Higgins-