Saturday, July 31, 2021

NFCT to Auction Two Birchbark Canoes

birchbark canoe built by craftspeople of the maniwaki reserve in quebec

WAITSFIELD, Vt. — The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) will auction off two birchbark canoes this summer: one built by Henri Vaillancourt and the other by the craftspeople of the Maniwaki Reserve in Quebec.

birchbark canoe built by henri vaillancourt

The auction will be live starting on Aug. 5 and ends on Aug. 15; proceeds will support stewardship and access projects across the Northeast. To see photos, videos and more information about the two boats, visit

The canoes were gifted to the NFCT separately by Jim Henry and Bob and Donna Stafford, who wanted to see them auctioned to benefit the Northern Forest Canoe Trail that extends 740 miles from Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine.

“These are two beautiful, hand-built canoes with historical connections to the earliest means of Indigenous travel along the waters of the Northern Forest,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “We’re beyond grateful to Jim and the Staffords for their generosity in trusting us to auction them for a great cause.”

Jim Henry, the celebrated Mad River Canoe boat designer, donated one of only 120 boats built by Henri Vaillancourt: a 14-foot Malecite type canoe, built in the St. Lawrence tradition. The second boat, gifted by Bob and Donna Stafford, is a 14-foot birchbark canoe built on the Maniwaki Reserve in Quebec for the 350th Celebration of Lake Champlain. It was originally given to Stafford’s grandfather, William Preston, who was an advocate for the lake and its environmental and cultural importance in the region.

Anyone interested in viewing the boats at the NFCT office in Waitsfield, Vt., can contact Karrie Thomas to make an appointment:

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