SLA speaker series, no. 2

Dear WVAIA Member,

With just a mountain range separating us the Squam Lakes Association and Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association share a common vision of connecting folks to the outdoors by creating & maintaining trails. Over the next few months we are excited to bring you this Winter Outdoor Recreation Speaker series. The second presentation in the series peels back the pages of the recently published Waterville Valley Guidebook. Join us to hear from Steve Smith, Brenda Conklin, Preston Conklin, Dan Newton and others who contributed to making this book so informative. Learn about the nitty gritty of creating a guide book and why this book is considered more than your traditional guidebook as it weaves natural and human history into the trail descriptions. To learn more about the book and presenters see the description and their bios below.

This is a free event brought to you by Squam Lakes Association and Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association.

Wednesday February 17th at 6:00pm 




About the Book:

The Waterville Valley Guidebook, by Steven D. Smith with Daniel Newton and Preston Conklin. Continuing a tradition of guidebooks to the Waterville Valley region, this full-color guide provides detailed descriptions of 125 miles of trails on the Waterville Valley “redlining” list, along with lists of suggested hikes and snowshoe hikes. For each trail, in addition to the description, there is information on notable features and trail history, and descriptions of views. The book includes extensive material on the area’s hiking history, geology, forests, wildlife, and bird life. Also featured are two History Hikes written by local historian Preston Conklin, and descriptions of dozens of Points of Interest around the Valley. Generously illustrated with color photos and vintage images. 336 pp., 6″ x 9.” Click here to visit the Mountain Wander website where you can purchase the book. 

About the Speakers:

STEVE SMITH: Steve Smith has been a hiking enthusiast for more than 40 years and is the author of several White Mountain guidebooks as  well as serving as co-editor of the AMC White Mountain Guide. In 2001 Steve and his good friend Mike Dickerman  co-authored a guide to the White Mountain 4000-footers, with a new third edition due out in 2021.

In 1998 he opened The Mountain Wanderer Map & Book Store in Lincoln, NH, a “niche” book/map retailer specializing in New England outdoors and especially in White Mountain hiking. The most popular items in the store are hiking guidebooks and trail maps. Steve loves exploring the mountains in all seasons both on and off the trail; many of these treks now appear on the “Mountain Wandering” blog. Steve always enjoys talking hiking with store customers, and can provide suggestions for trips suitable for any ambition level.

He has climbed New Hampshire’s 4000-Footers in summer and winter and has “bagged” the New England Hundred Highest. He is a longtime member of the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee and has been a member of Pemigewasset Valley Search & Rescue Team. He is currently the trail adopter for the west section of the UNH Trail on Hedgehog Mountain, and, through the 4000-Footer Committee, the Passaconaway Cutoff. Steve lives in Lincoln, NH with his wife Carol, a recently retired school librarian and 4000-footer hiker.

BRENDA and PRESTON CONKLIN: Brenda and Preston have lived in Waterville Valley for 20 years. They are avid hikers, snowshoers, local historians, and trail maintainers with the WVAIA. Their hiking addiction has taken them to the 67 New England High Peaks and to the Appalachian Trail over three years in 2010-2012. Brenda’s latest challenge is the 52 with a View. Brenda was instrumental in the creation of the new Waterville Valley Pathfinder 70 Hiking Patch.

DAN NEWTON: I am the father of two children who aren’t really children anymore, but who remain close to me in both spirit and place. When I was a child, my winter weekends were spent in Waterville Valley skiing with the WVBBTS ski club. In the late 90’s I left my position as a Show Manager for a trade show company in Boston, which had me flying all over the country for work, and settled down in the mountains of my youth. I have not looked back.

I have worked in many capacities within Waterville Valley, my primary job being an English teacher at Waterville Valley Academy. Additionally, I led many hiking and fishing programs over the years for the Waterville Valley Recreation Department and have recently returned working as a year-round hike leader. I also ran the Literary Discussion Group at the Curious George Cottage for 14 years, and have recently returned to that as well. For much of my time in this town I have been the President of the Waterville Valley Athletic and Improvement Association (WVAIA), and for many years have worked for Off the Beaten Path, a professional trail building company, maintaining our historic trail system. 

I am passionate about the outdoors, particularly the Waterville Valley outdoors. I am a ski fanatic. I am addicted to hiking. I’m a passionate fly-fisherman. I am a devout mushroom enthusiast, as well as wildflowers, lichens, mosses, trees—and any other phenomena I come across in my sylvan rambles.