Kim Simpson at 2006 Earth Day
Kim Simpson Receives Pepper Award
June 13, 2006 - WCLT is proud to present Kim Simpson with the 2006 Jack and Ellie Pepper Award. This Pepper Award recognizes an individual in the community who has done outstanding work in land conservation and preservation and advances the WCLT mission.
Hiking is Kim Simpson’s passion, and volunteer efforts to create and protect trails in New England—and across the country—have claimed his talents for nearly 30 years. To advance this goal, he has held leadership positions with the Green Mountain Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Mid-state Trails Committee, and most recently with the American Hiking Society.
A native of West Springfield, Kim grew up fishing in the Holyoke Reservoir system. His love for outdoors evolved into a 37-year career working with the Division of Water Pollution Control and then the Division of Environmental Protection to improve water quality in Massachusetts. With a degree in civil engineering from Lehigh University and a master’s from UMass, Kim was one of the first generation of environmental engineers working a new area: building wastewater treatment plants under the Clean Water Act.
“I always enjoyed working in the field and oversaw the construction of the first wastewater treatment plants in many communities across the state,” says Kim. “I made a logical progression, from overseeing the planning of wastewater treatment plants to their construction to training the people who operated them.”
Kim’s recreation hours were spent in the deep woods, often in the Green Mountains. For nearly 30 years, Kim and the Worcester Section of the Green Mountain Club have annually maintained a portion of the Appalachian Trail around Stratton Pond in Vermont. Kim has served the Green Mountain Club as its president, treasurer, and since 1983, as board member and trail maintainer. As chair of the Long Trail Protection Committee since 1985, Kim has worked to protect about 70 acres of the Long Trail. “Though land acquisition with money raised equally from private donors and the state government, we’ve protected 24,000 acres in the state,” he notes.
In 1999 the American Hiking Society (AHS), a national umbrella organization, tapped Kim’s expertise. He became an AHS director and currently serves as the Society’s treasurer. “The American Hiking Society goal is to have a trail within a few miles of where people live, and this goal is reflected perfectly in Westborough’s Charm Bracelet,” says Kim, who has worked on Westborough’s trail network since its inception.
According to Don Burn, WCLT Stewardship Chair, “Kim is always ready to do the hard work in clearing trails on the Charm Bracelet. He also has been a leader in our negotiations with state agencies to get an agreement to allow public hiking trails on the more than 1,000 acres of state property in Westborough. Kim acts as the Charm Bracelet's national spokesperson: telling of our plans and accomplishments with the trail, and bringing in representatives from larger hiking groups for hikes on the trail."
Kim Simpson believes that the benefit of hiking is that it is “something everyone can do. We hope to build more handicapped accessible trails. Hiking is wonderful, relaxing exercise that gets people outdoors at different times of the year.”
And Kim Simpson is making sure there will be plenty of trails to hike in every season.