2015 CDT Montana Volunteer of the Year
Dan (Disco) Fenn keeps the party going
On the Trail, Featured
Dan Fenn earned the trail name "Disco" while thru-hiking the Appalachain Trail in 2001. It proved to be a fitting moniker. Since embarking on his first long distance adventure, Disco has kept the party going. He completed the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 and then earned his Triple Crown with his northbound hike of the Continental Divide Trail in 2010. Once the long trails had been hiked, it was time to get to work.
Along the 7,900 miles of Triple Crown Trails, Disco developed a great appreciation for the work that goes into keeping a trail hikeable--clearing downed trees, fixing muck pits, signing junctions, trimming back brush and branches. Every trail can use a little love, but to Disco it was “mighty apparent” that “of the three trails, the CDT needs the most help.” That fact, coupled with his belief that the CDT is the “most awesome of Triple Crown Trails,” inspired him to leave his home in Coxsaxie, New York to volunteer for a week long project installing water bars along the CDT in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. It would be his first of nine volunteer projects.
Disco joined CDT Montana this summer for projects in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Helena National Forest. Over the course of these three projects, Disco worked 14.5 days, meaning he spent a total of 116 hours this summer digging dirt and moving earth. That’s some serious work! Since he began volunteering in 2011, Disco has volunteered over 400 hours and contributed over $9,000 in volunteer labor to the CDT. Safe to say, Dan Fenn has been an All Star Volunteer. If you have hiked the CDT in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Big Hole, the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, Yellowstone or Glacier, there is a pretty good chance you owe the guy a high five.
All of Disco’s fellow volunteers would attest he is a blessing to have on the crew. He is always working hard on the trail, pitching in back at camp, and spreading joy throughout the crew. Getting along with everyone of course comes natural to Disco.
"The people I meet on the projects are just a special bunch of folks," he says. "Sure, you have a few odd balls here and there (no doubt I've been considered one by others), but boy are they a good group of like-minded individuals.”
Dan Fenn (left) and crew as they enter the Bob Marshall Wilderness for a trip to install drain dips along the Chinese Wall.
His enthusiasm for the work, people, and places that highlight our trips is captured through his excellent photography. After the dirt has settled on the trail, Disco reaches out to everyone from the crew (even the oddballs) to share his photos.
It is with great pleasure to declare Dan “Disco” Fenn the 2015 CDT Montana Volunteer of the Year! Your generosity, spirit and good humor is representative of all that is great about our volunteer program. Thanks for everything. You da man!
- Sonny Mazzullo, CDT Montana field coordinator
Who will be the 2016 CDT Montana Volunteer of the Year? It could be YOU. Make sure to check this page in March to sign up for next summer's projects.