Board of Directors
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.
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, and with his wife, Sondra, from Ohio, raised their family in northwestern New Jersey where he spent many weekends over the years backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. 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 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.
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, a 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.
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.
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 liaison between the motorized and non-motorized clubs in the Colebrook area.
Ray 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 1970s before the trail came online. 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.
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.
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.
Emeritus Board Members