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 Trail.
Vice President: Sue Wentworth
Sue grew up in southern New Hampshire and started hiking in the early 1970s when she met her husband, Gary. They moved to the North Country in February 2011 and love it there. Sue met a North Country local soon after relocating and found out how to join TCTA. She and Gary and their dog, Bonnie, enjoy trail work very much and are currently the adopters of the new Trio Trail and Pond Brook Falls trail. In addition to being a board member, Sue is also the CT Trails Coordinator.
Secretary: Tammy Hirschhorn – Berlin, NH
Tammy and her husband, Mike, moved to Berlin in 2014 from Pennsylvania where they were active in the hiking community. Many days were spent backpacking the Appalachian Trail in northern PA, participating in hiking challenges, and supporting local trail associations, but their passion always resided in the NH forests.
Upon first moving to the area, Tammy took a position working with youth in a residential facility and introduced them to the great trails NH has to offer. Now when she’s not working for the Department of Health and Human Services, Tammy spends much of her time outdoors and is actively working on the NH 48 4,000 footers and the Terrifying 25 lists. She and her husband adopted the Old Summer Club Trail on the Cohos Trail and have assisted with maintenance on other White Mountains trails. Being a part of the Cohos Trails Association has helped Tammy feel connected with something important to future generations.
Treasurer: Bruce Brekke – Whitefield, NH
Bruce grew up in New Jersey, first came to northern New Hampshire in 2007 and bought a house in Whitefield shortly thereafter. After his retirement in 2009 that culminated a 27-year career with a military contractor 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 4,000 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 and serving as TCTA treasurer.
FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN: Kim Robert Nilsen
Nilsen is the founder of The Cohos Trail Association and initial designer of the 170-mile foot trail. Nilsen is retired from a varied career that included developing a bio-dynamic farm and orchard, starting up a natural fruit juice company, marketing natural foods products, and working as a journalist in Coos County, NH for nearly a decade. In 2015, he was the recipient of the coveted Granite State Legacy Award for his volunteer work developing the Cohos Trail.
Nilsen still devotes two weeks a year working directly on the long pathway and spends many hours throughout the year promoting the trail, penning the Cohos Trekker newsletter, administering the Friends of the Cohos Trail Facebook page, cultivating donors, raising money, and assisting the officers when needed. He is the author of The Cohos Trail guidebook, the 50 Hikes North of the White Mountains guide, a lengthy novel entitled The Yellowstone Traps, and works of nonfiction, as well. Not one to rest in retirement, he continues to build trail infrastructure, restore degraded and abandoned trails, and do trail maintenance work all year long on various properties including in NH’s largest park, Pisgah State Park, in the Monadnock Region.
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, 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 grandchildren, he is doing the same with them. His two oldest granddaughters, Annalee and Misty Rose, 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 the popular Presidential Range to the quiet 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.
Yvan works for the NH Department of Transportation, specializing in highway bridge construction and repair, and is assigned to the northern regions of the state. He 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 Mountain, built the Panorama Lean-to in Dixville, and helped in the early restoration process of Kamp Kirk in the Nash Stream Forest.
John Higgins John grew up in the early 70’s and spent summers exploring Nash Stream with his Dad. A young rock hound, John, explored the Percy Peaks, Bald Mountain, Victor’s Head, Rodger’s Ledge, Green’s Ledge, the Pilot Range, and more. His passion is trails, whether snowmobiling or hiking. John is the current trail adopter of Rowell’s Link Trail. He also serves as a director on the TCTA Board. He often can be seen hiking the trails from his camp in Stark, perhaps with a can of Moxie in hand.
Kris Pieper Kris grew up in the Adirondacks region of upstate New York, spending as much time in the woods as he could. After attending college in Boston and visiting New Hampshire’s North Country frequently, he realized he needed to be closer to the mountains and moved to Littleton NH. Kris is an avid hiker, having completed the 46 Adirondack High Peaks and 47 of the 48 NH 4,000 footers (saving the last for a special occasion). He plans to thru-hike the Cohos Trail in Fall 2019. Kris maintains several trails in the White Mountains: the rugged Kelsey Notch trail (CT), the Carter-Moriah trail up to Mt. Moriah’s summit, and the Rattle River trail (AT). He has been known to call in sick to go work on the trails, but don’t tell anyone. In addition to serving on the TCTA board since 2018, Kris also serves on the board of a climate action group and a renewable energy advocacy team, both in New Hampshire.
Emeritus Board Members