Support the Trail You Love
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail — ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.
A.T. – Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
Photo by Raymond Salani III
ATC Senior Staff

Ronald J. Tipton / President & CEO
Stacey J. Marshall / Vice President of Finance & Administration
Tiffany Lawrence / Vice President of Membership & Development
Laura Belleville / Vice President of Conservation & Trail Programs
Brian B. King / Publisher
Javier Folgar / Director of Marketing & Communications

A.T. Journeys

Wendy K. Probst / Managing Editor
Traci Anfuso-Young / Graphic Designer


Laurie Potteiger / Information Services Manager
Brittany Jennings / Proofreader

Board of Directors

Sandra Marra / Chair
Greg Winchester / Vice Chair
Elizabeth (Betsy) Pierce Thompson / Secretary
Mary Higley / Treasurer
Colin Beasley
Beth Critton
Shalin Desai
Norman P. Findley
Edward R. Guyot
Daniel A. Howe
Robert Hutchinson
Colleen Peterson
Jennifer Pharr Davis
Rubén Rosales
Nathaniel Stoddard

Advisory Circle

Hon. C. Stewart Verdery, Jr. / Chair
Shooter Starr / Vice Chair
Donald Ayer
Sonja Carlborg
Kathi Cramer
Constance I. DuHamel
Lisa Koteen Gerchick
Destry Jarvis
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan
R. Michael Leonard
Robert Rich
Sara Hazelwood Yanes


For membership questions or to become a member, call: (304) 885-0460

[email protected]


A.T. Journeys is published four times per year. Advertising revenues directly support the publication and production of the magazine, and help meet Appalachian Trail Conservancy objectives. For more information and advertising rates, visit:

The staff of A.T. Journeys welcomes editorial inquiries, suggestions, and comments. Email: [email protected]

Observations, conclusions, opinions, and product endorsements expressed in A.T. Journeys are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of members of the board or staff of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

A.T. Journeys is published on Somerset matte paper manufactured by Sappi North America mills and distributors that follow responsible forestry practices. It is printed with Soy Seal certified ink in the U.S.A. by Sheridan NH in Hanover, New Hampshire.

A.T. Journeys ( ISSN 1556-2751) is published quarterly for $15 a year by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, (304) 535-6331. Bulk-rate postage paid at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and other offices. Postmaster: Send change-of-address Form 3575 to A.T. Journeys, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.

© 2017 Appalachian Trail Conservancy. All rights reserved.
Download the PDF Version of the Magazine
Tribute Garden
The Future of the Biennial
I know that many of you

attended the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Biennial at Colby College in Waterville, Maine in August. More than 800 ATC and Trail club members, volunteer leaders, government and non-profit partners, and outdoor recreation industry representatives came together for this unique event — the largest regular gathering of hikers in this country and maybe anywhere. We were motivated, inspired, and entertained in the many workshops, meetings, hikes, excursions, and entertainment events. The more than 250 volunteers from the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club were outstanding hosts for the Biennial.

The first ATC general meeting was held in Washington, D.C., in 1928, three years after our founding meeting. My initial Biennial experience was in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in 1977, when this event reverted to every two years after 35 years of longer stretches between gatherings.

Over the years, the ATC Biennial has offered many different experiences to the A.T. community. It has been a forum for great debates on Trail management and protection and a place for the Trail clubs, government partners, and ATC staff to come together in an informal setting. Many important strategies and decisions and inspiring discussions about the future of the Trail experience happened at Biennial business meetings, as well as in informal conversations. We charted the progress every two years toward the ultimate goal of a completely publicly owned and permanently protected A.T. corridor.

Ron with his wife Rita Molyneaux

Follow Ron on Twitter at:
However, we have decided to use a different model for the future of the Biennial. It is logical to ask why this is happening, given the success and popularity of the event over the past 86 years.

There are several reasons. First, the ATC is now required, by a recent change in the laws governing non-profits incorporated in Washington, D.C., to have a meeting of its members every year. Secondly, organizing each Biennial is a hugely challenging and time consuming two-year project for both the host Trail clubs and ATC staff. It is also increasingly difficult to find a venue for each Biennial. And there is a great deal of uncertainty and considerable financial risk in staging an event of this size.

A working group representing A.T. clubs and chaired by former ATC Board member Marcia Fairweather has spent the past two years looking at future options for the Biennial. They have recommended a new approach called A.T. Vista to begin in 2020 and happen every two years thereafter. The Vista is envisioned as a four-day event that includes hikes, workshops, excursions, and fun and will be organized by some combination of Trail clubs and local partners. The New York/New Jersey Trail Conference has agreed to take the lead on planning the 2020 Vista.

At the same time, the ATC will begin in 2018 to host an annual meeting open to all of our members. This will be a one-day event in or near a major metropolitan area and will include feature speakers, discussion of important Trail issues, and a town hall forum. The first ATC Membership meeting will be held next August in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

This is clearly a major change from the traditional Biennial. We hope and expect A.T. Vista and the ATC Membership meeting to combine the best elements of the Biennial format and offer some new and different experiences for the A.T. community.

Ronald J. Tipton / President & CEO
Go Paperless
Contents / Fall 2017

Summit Seekers gather at a September event at Anacostia Park in Maryland.
Photo by Julie Judkins

A pilot program focused on bridging the gaps of race, class, gender, and generations takes a growing group on a shared adventure to find and tell their own unique story on the Trail and in the outdoors.
At the core of the A.T. Landscape Partnership is an approach that helps preserve the essence of the A.T. experience — and the vitality of communities along it.
Broad-winged hawks migrate, live, and nest along the same corridor that A.T. hikers travel — although their route takes them as far south as Peru and back again.
Plans are in action to build an A.T Visitor Center in “Trail Town USA” in 2018.
For the Boy Scouts of America and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, inspiring young people to be involved in conservation and outdoor activities is a natural collaboration.
A first-time backpacking trip in the Smokies inspires a young photographer to find out, and be a part of, what draws hikers of all types and backgrounds to hiking and the Trail.
The Grandma Gatewood Story; New ATC Board Members; Bipartisan Support for the Trail
Scott Zimmerman finds peace and restoration through Trail crew work, hiking, and generously donating time and funds to the A.T. to ensure its future.
Growing up near the Trail provides a sense of home on any stretch of it for a life-long section hiker and devoted maintainer in Maryland.
A fiercely positive attitude and a compulsion to move to the Trailside town of Abingdon, Virginia provides a beautiful hiatus for Doug and Stacey Levin.
Season 2 Coming This November
Of Men and Mountains

Thanks for an illuminating

article about Percival Baxter and Myron Avery (“Of Men and Mountains,” Summer 2017). I too am a graduate of Bowdoin College, and had the pleasure of visiting Maine’s greatest mountain in the ’60s and ’70s. Bowdoin’s Outing Club had the responsibility of maintaining a section of the A.T. back in those days. The highlight of our year was always an October trip up to Baxter State Park, just before things closed down for the winter. Until reading this article, I had no idea that Avery was also a Bowdoin graduate. And I was not aware that Governor Baxter lived until 1969. One year later, I was living in a large “frat house” on the Bowdoin campus. Years later, I learned that it had been built by the Baxter family. Bowdoin subsequently renamed it Baxter House, and it still stands today. The Baxters were very philanthropic. Without Governor Baxter’s land donation, the A.T. would have ended much farther south.

Eric Weis Wayne

New Jersey
Practical Magic

I am feeling conflicted after

reading “Practical Magic” (Summer 2017).You see for the last 22 years I have been doing Trail magic for thru-hikers. I had no idea that it was frowned upon. For the first 19 years I was set up in a parking lot in a nearly waterless section of New York (the Elk Pen in Harriman State Park). I gave away soda, water, candy bars, stove fuel, fruit, and a few other goodies. Over the years, I also brought chairs and since I worked for an outdoor retailer I managed to bring donated hiker food — I was also able to give away a free pair of socks to each [hiker] that came by. And in recent years, I have recharged many a phone. Even though I left no garbage, took garbage from the [hikers], and often picked up the garbage from the area I was parked, I did concentrate a few hikers in one area. I thought the only trace I left was the happy faces of the hikers I helped. I only started doing it because, on a long section hike, I received so much help, water, beer, pizza and more that I decided to give back. So I am sorry I have apparently contributed to the degradation of the A.T. experience.

Roger “Tentman” Williamson

West Milford, New Jersey
Appalachian Trail Plates
Next Generation Membership
Once again, I find the most

important message I must share with you all is about change. We are changing how we will gather, with the 2017 Maine Membership Meeting being the last of one we will hold following our traditional format. We are changing the leadership of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as we move forward with our search for a new president/CEO. The volunteers, I think, feel we are often changing the way we want them to do their jobs. We are changing (or maybe for the first time creating) rules for our hikers. Our partners, in dealing with their own changes, require us to adapt as well.

I’ve been spending some time recently refreshing myself with the history of the A.T. I’ve found many of Benton MacKaye’s statements and reasons for envisioning the Trail are possibly even more applicable to the world we live in today than the one that existed in 1921. But I also have been thinking about Myron Avery. While MacKaye spoke of the wilderness utopia, Avery went to work to build an actual trail for “tramping, camping, and outdoor recreation.” MacKaye and Avery — visionary versus realist; architect versus builder. We needed both aspects to create this treasure and I believe we still need both to take care of it now and for the future.

Sunrise – Riga Shelter, Connecticut
Photo by W.M. Hinsch
For those of us who are entrusted with its care and protection, we must embrace both our visionary and our realist sides.
We need to keep working on our vision for the Trail. We must spend time exploring how we can protect our users’ experiences, protect the Trail’s wilderness and remoteness, and ensure the idea of the Trail is one that resonates with all people. But we must also tend to the practical. We must make sure our volunteers have the training and capacity to keep the treadway open and manage the Trail and its corridor. We must make sure our hikers understand and follow Leave No Trace Principals and respect the rules and regulations of all the lands the Trail traverses. We must find new ways to bring our membership and partners together to share best practices, best Trail stories, and take a hike together.

I’ve said that the Trail never changes — but changes absolutely those who walk it. For those of us who are entrusted with its care and protection, we must embrace both our visionary and our realist sides. We must hold fast to our past and work together to move into the future, adapting and changing when needed — always with what is best for the Trail in our hearts.

Sandra Marra / Chair
ATC Events
Penn Homes
Senior Hiker Magazine
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Videos
Clockwise from top right: Summit Seeker ambassador Yodit Seyoum; Outdoor Afro ambassador Victor Omoniyi; SCA ambassador Darryl Fullwood; Groundwork D.C. ambassador Ramona Davis.
Photos by Julie Judkins;
Center: The group takes a hike at the first Summit Seeker event in Anacostia
photo by McKenzie Grant-Gordon;
People of color don’t hike, don’t scuba dive, and we don’t care about the environment. It sounds absurd to put these ill-informed myths in writing but there they were; written on flip charts and pasted on the walls as Summit Seekers tossed out ideas and stereotypes each of us had been exposed to in our lives outdoors.

Among us were people from many walks and ethnicities, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Queer…most of us identified as “other” than what might be considered the norm on the Trail, tacitly defined by whiteness, affluence, or hetero-sexuality. Are these race, class, and gender definitions relevant to a bunch of folks who just want to get outdoors? Summit Seekers found this initial ice breaker exercise one of several ways we built a shared knowledge, experience, and sense of reality.

Grandma Gatewood Story
FilmAffects and Eden Valley Enterprises are excited to announce that their film Trail Magic, the Grandma Gatewood Story was officially nominated last spring for a Regional National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Emmy Award in the “Best Documentary, Historical” category. Directed by Peter Huston of FilmAffects, the story of Emma Gatewood’s solo thru-hike on the A.T. in 1955 at the age of 67 still resonates with hikers across the country. The film captures Emma Gatewood’s challenging life that led to her historic hike on the Trail. Her hike and the subsequent publicity spurred interest in Trail hiking across America. According to director Huston, Emma’s story propelled boomers in the late ’60s and ’70s to get out in nature and many chose to attempt the A.T. The film explores the idea of “Grandma’s on the Trail” and how that changed the way we look at personal fitness and outdoor adventure. The film, which features Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) president/CEO Ron Tipton and several other ATC staff, first aired in Ohio on PBS TV stations WVIZ and WOUB in 2016. Since then, it has been distributed to PBS stations across the country by the National Education Television Association.
For more information visit: or purchase the DVD from the Ultimate A.T. Store at:
To view a clip from the video visit:
Three Decades
of Devotion to the Trail
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has a number of dedicated staff who have given a good chunk of their working lives to our organization. Every now and then, one of these remarkable staff chooses to hang up their phones and turn off the computer, wishing the rest of us farewell to enjoy retirement.

Twenty-eight years ago, when the ATC had a handful of staff, Susan Daniels joined the crew to help with the growing amount of administrative assignments. As her early supervisor noted: “Hiring Sue was one of the best decisions I made.” Many, many staff and volunteers couldn’t agree more. With Susan’s retirement from her position as conservation coordinator, the ATC will say a fond and deeply appreciative farewell to an unassuming, dedicated, prolific contributor to the success of our organization and the stewardship of the Trail.

Susan Daniels devoted 28 years to the ATC before retiring this year
Hurricane Irma Damage
The massive, category five hurricane that caused widespread damage across the state of Florida in early September also significantly impacted the southern end of the A.T. Hundreds of trees fell across the Trail in Georgia and the southernmost portion of North Carolina, with pockets of damage in the Smokies and north into Tennessee. Volunteers from the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and the Nantahala Hiking Club worked diligently to remove blowdowns. Their work was aided significantly by Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and U.S. Forest Service staff, particularly in the 50 or so miles of A.T. in federally designated wilderness areas, where chainsaws are prohibited and hand tools must be used. The Trail is expected to be cleared by mid-October. “Widow-makers” and other hazards from damaged or unstable trees will remain a concern along affected sections of the A.T. beyond the 2018 northbound thru-hiking season.  A.T. campers need to be extremely vigilant about inspecting overnight sites for trees and limbs around and above them that could fall — even in completely still conditions — throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and much of Tennessee.
For more information and other Trail updates visit:
ATC 2017 Conference in Maine
The 2017 Appalachian Trail Conservancy 41st Conference in Maine, hosted by the Maine A.T. Club this past summer was a successful, festive, and busy event. See more highlights from the event at:
Bill Park, Josh Silverman and Susie McNeely pose before embarking on one of the conference’s hikes — a 12-mile traverse across Lone, Spaulding, and Sugarloaf mountains, which celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Trail in this section — the A.T. was completed in Carrabassett Valley, Maine on August 13, 1937
Members of Congress Unite to Support the Appalachian Trail
By Lynn Davis
From left: Congressman Don Beyer and Congressman Phil Roe (right) on the A.T.
Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) and Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) co-chair the newly organized Appalachian National Scenic Trail Caucus. The bipartisan caucus is organized to unite members in the U.S. House of Representatives in working together for the sustained protection and conservation of the A.T.

Both Congressmen are experienced A.T. hikers. A longtime section hiker, Congressman Beyer recently completed the A.T.’s rugged and challenging treadway through the White Mountains in New Hampshire. And Congressman Roe frequently hikes the A.T. for its beauty and as part of his physical conditioning to summit one or two 14,000-foot mountaintops each year in the western United States.

National Trails System 50th Anniversary Celebration:
Appalachian Trail Conservancy & Pacific Crest Trail Association
In 2018, the U.S. will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the creation of the first two national scenic trails. Commemorative opportunities are being planned around the country. In order to celebrate the creation of both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, an event is being planned by a joint committee comprised of representatives from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). With the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968, America was given a gift — the creation and protection of some of Americans’ favorite places to discover the great outdoors. Trails that celebrate outdoor adventure and recreational opportunities are paramount to helping individuals live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives. The joint event will help showcase the commitment to this gift and engage the public through a variety of opportunities on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. An event plan featuring education, awareness, fundraising and entertainment will be shared through social media, email, and online marketing. The public will learn more about the creation of both the ATC and the PCTA and be able to support the work of both.
Stay tuned for more information and get ready to celebrate with us.
Bruce hiking the Overland Track in Tasmania in 2015
RTK Challenge
After attending a presentation by Trail Legend Warren Doyle about his record-setting journey on the Appalachian Trail, Bruce Matson made a personal commitment to hike the A.T., “some day.”  And while Bruce listened to Doyle talk in 1974, he will finally begin his effort to fulfill that commitment made over 40 years ago when he steps off of Springer Mountain on February 25, 2018, and begins his trek: “Returning to Katahdin.” As Bruce insists, “its never too late to chase your dreams.” Having been born and raised in the north and having guided canoe trips in the North Maine Woods (including day trips to Katahdin), in a very real sense, Bruce is using his thru-hike to reflect about how life has gone as he physically moves toward the land of his youth. Most significantly to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Bruce is also using his hike to try to raise money for the ATC’s efforts at preserving the A.T. hiking experience. In fact, with a campaign known as “RTK’s A.T. Challenge,” like the many recent thru-hike records set, Bruce is targeting a record fundraising effort (in excess of $250,000). “I think I would not have had the sense of gratitude and the corresponding desire to give back if I had attempted a thru-hike in my youth,” says Bruce who is looking forward to starting his hike.
Stay tuned for an update on Bruce’s hike in 2018 by visiting:
New ATC Board members
From left: New ATC Board members Shalin Desai and Colin Beasley
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy welcomes two new members to the Board of Directors this fall: Colin Beasley and Shalin Desai. Colin will be familiar to many as a recent member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) Advisory Circle. An accomplished businessman, Colin spent most of his professional life at Verizon, ultimately working his way up to and retiring from an executive level position. He brings his entrepreneurial skills to the ATC as well as his gifts for building and harnessing synergy to our ongoing Strategic Plan. When he is not acting as a “captain of industry” he enjoys the wilds of the A.T. in New Hampshire. Shalin is a passionate long-distance hiker. In the last two years, he not only thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, but had also completed the Pacific Crest Trail and Vermont’s Long Trail. (When we reached out to him in September for this article, he was in the middle of hiking the Continental Divide Trail.) Shalin channels the joy and energy he finds in the natural world into his work as a sales manager and strategist for the likes of TripAdvisor, Jetsetter, and Regenerative Resorts. He has a gift for thinking outside the box and for reaching out to new communities, which will be particularly helpful in expanding the ATC’s Broader Relevancy initiative. Colin and Shalin will be serving with returning Board members Sandra Marra (Chair), Gregory Winchester (Vice Chair), Elizabeth Thompson (Secretary), Mary Higley (Treasurer), Beth Critton, Jennifer Pharr Davis, Norman Findley III, Edward Guyot, Daniel Howe, Robert Hutchinson, Jr., Rubén Rosales, and Nathaniel Stoddard. We are delighted to add these men to our already talented and dedicated team and expect to see great advancements from our Board in 2018.
A.T. Vista: A View of Future Gatherings for A.T. Enthusiasts
Since 1925, people who cherish the A.T. have gathered to build the Trail, hike, and attend workshops on topics of common interest. Perhaps the greatest reward of these events is the opportunity to connect with other kindred spirits. At a “View from The Maine Woods,” the recent Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Conference held in August 2017 in Waterville, Maine, an ATC task force presented the concept of “A.T. Vista” to attendees as the recognized program forum for activity on and near the Appalachian Trail. The task force, including representatives from A.T. Clubs, A.T. Communities, ATC staff, and ATC members, has been engaged during the last several months to develop a new model for an event that highlights the ways the Trail brings A.T. Communities, clubs, and hikers together while streamlining activities and rethinking the distribution of event planning responsibility. The change to the A.T. Vista comes as the ATC begins to schedule annual public board and membership meetings beginning in 2018 to comply with new rules for non-profits organized in the District of Columbia. A.T. Vista is envisioned as a four-day weekend event that retains celebrated activities such as hikes and workshops, while broadening the engagement in hosting and participation from local A.T. communities and other nearby partners. Organizers also anticipate planning activities that will increase attendance from younger and more diverse participants. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference will host the first A.T. Vista during the summer of 2020 at Ramapo College in New Jersey. The event coincides with the conference’s centennial and offers the opportunity to pilot implement this new A.T. event. Looking forward, A.T. Vistas will likely occur every two years, with a rotational cycle that seeks host sites south and north of the Delaware Water Gap. The ATC is currently establishing the 2020 Steering Committee that will plan and produce the inaugural A.T. Vista program. In the meantime, the A.T. Vista Task Force will continue to develop the program as a special feature of the Appalachian Trail experience, and obtain feedback from others interested in being involved with the event.
For more information visit:
Black Bear Awareness
Due to an increasing number of serious human/bear interactions at many locations along the A.T. the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) continues to strongly recommend use of a bear canister by anyone staying overnight on the A.T.

Please check the Trail Updates page on the ATC’s website. The ATC recommends canisters approved by the partners of SierraWild, a joint U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and BLM program to manage multiple wilderness areas in the Sierras.

For more information visit: and
Hunting Season Safety
Hunting regulations vary widely along the Appalachian Trail. Although the A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, it traverses a patchwork quilt of public lands managed for many different purposes. Hunting is permitted within close proximity of some parts of the A.T. in every Trail state. Many segments of the A.T. in Pennsylvania north of the Cumberland Valley and a few miles of the A.T. through the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management area in northern Virginia are game lands managed primarily for hunting. Both hikers and hunters are advised to “know before you go.”

  • Consult a current official A.T. map to learn which agencies own and regulate the land
  • Know local hunting seasons
  • Wear a blaze-orange hat, clothing, or gear visible from 360 degrees
  • Avoid deer firearm season (usually October through January) by hiking in one of these national parks: C & O Canal National Historical Park, Maryland; Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia; Shenandoah National Park, Virginia; Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia; Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
For more information and to see ATC’s “2017-2018 Hunting Season Guide by State” visit:
Len Foote Hike Inn
“Above the Grid” Project
Lisa Graves shows her daughters, Kristen and Addie the “Above the Grid” panels — and explains the benefits of solar power
Photo by Eric Graves
Brighter days are ahead for the Len Foote Hike Inn, an environmentally sustainable wilderness lodge — 4.4 Trail miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia — thanks to a 53.72 KW solar photovoltaic array. The inn’s “Above the Grid” solar project supplies nearly 70 percent of the lodge’s electricity and provides a lesson in environmental sustainability for thousands of visitors. A unit of the Georgia State Parks, the Hike Inn is operated by nonprofit Len Foote Hike Inn, Inc. For 18 years, the facility, accessible for guests who hike five miles from Amicalola Falls State Park, has encouraged environmental education and wilderness recreation. The solar project was funded by a grant from All Points North Foundation (APNF) and a low-interest loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA). Radiance Solar installed the equipment. “We are using the sun to provide power, reduce our carbon footprint, and educate guests about alternative energy,” said Hike Inn executive director Eric Graves.
ATC Trail Store
illustration katie eberts
To grasp the impact of a successful large-scale

landscape partnership approach that helps preserve the essence of the A.T. experience — its view shed, access to the Trail, and the vitality of communities along it — there is no better place to examine than Maine’s North Woods. “Cooperating with multiple partners to preserve large landscapes is the future of protecting the Trail experience,” says the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) president and CEO Ron Tipton. “This of course is not limited to Maine, but all the way to Georgia too.” He explains that this isn’t about protecting the footpath, which is already protected. It’s about the larger landscape. “When you’re looking at a really large area with the potential to protect thousands of acres it will almost always involve working with numerous private and public partners,” he says. “It will never be the ATC by ourselves.”

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
By Karen Lutz and Laurie Goodrich
southbound thru-hikers make their way down the Appalachian Mountain chain this fall, few may be aware that their efforts are joined — and dwarfed — by a medium-size hawk weighing less than a pound. Dr. Laurie Goodrich at Pennsylvania’s Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has launched a multi-year research project that has yielded fascinating data about this species that depends on the very same large landscape that Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and our conservation partners are diligently working to protect.
Visitor Center
coming to trail town usa
By Catherine Van Noy

The A.T. runs through Mount Rogers and directly through Damascus — which is surrounded by many other outdoor recreational trails and spaces.
Photo by Stephen Outten

The Appalachian Trail’s roles are as diverse as the

many hikers who venture out: a walk in the woods, a lab for discovery, a vehicle for conservation, a connecting thread for communities. The new Appalachian Trail Center in Damascus, Virginia, will likewise meet many needs.

The approximately 2,500-square-foot building slated for completion in 2019 is a collaborative project with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the Town of Damascus, and the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation. The project represents a significant investment in an ongoing effort to expand economic opportunities through outdoor recreation across Southwest Virginia.

The center will support visitor information, exhibits, details about neighboring trails and assets, and training seminars for a range of groups including volunteers who help maintain the A.T. Programming and design will commence this fall. The facility, when completed, is also likely to assist the work of known recreational and conservation partners in the region along with adding new collaborators to the mix.

The official entrance to the 2017 Jamboree where the ATC was featured as an event sponsor alongside organizations such as Leave No Trace, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service

in partnership
by Leanna Joyner & Brenna Irrer
The Appalachian Trail is as American

as Scouting or apple pie. These iconic fixtures in the United States, Scouting and the A.T., have a long overlapping history, where many young people gain their first introduction to the outdoors — where the beauty, challenge, and rewards are found in the exercise, strengthened friendships, and scenery of the endeavor.

The Trail has often served as the destination for Boy Scouts within a day’s drive, with ambitions of ticking off a 50-mile backpack, to hike to a scenic spot they heard about, or to be among the volunteers who have the audacity to build and maintain this long-distance Trail so that others can come to confirm, “yes, this Trail can lead me all the way to Maine, or the other direction, to Georgia.”

To that end, the A.T. captured the imagination of two Eagle Scouts, Randy Wright and Charlie Timberlake, who set out in 2011 to hike following their respective college graduations. Meeting at age six through Scouts and being exposed to backpacking through Troop 304 in Atlanta, their connection to Scouting is so deep that even as 29-year-olds with no children of their own in Scouting, they have returned as assistant Scout Masters with an emphasis in backpacking.

Culture Immersion
Alex Perkins is a travel and adventure enthusiast based in Nashville, Tennessee. “A few years back, a friend of mine invited me to join her on a camping trip in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. This led me to a healthy passion for backpacking, and I have really enjoyed learning the culture,” he explains. “I am lucky to live very close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which contains 900 miles of wonderful, winding trails through the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. If you are visiting the park, the 70-mile strip of the Appalachian Trail is particularly interesting because of the various types of hikers you will surely encounter.” On his most recent backpacking trip in the Smokies, Alex traveled 30 miles, sticking primarily to the Trail, where he wanted to document the hikers and their culture. “I wanted to hear their stories, and immerse myself in their lifestyle,” he says.

During his hike, Alex met thru, section, and day-hikers and found that there is a wonderful camaraderie present among all of the hikers he came across. “It is as though they share a common understanding between themselves that they are each out here because they choose to be,” he says. “They share a mutual affinity for being outdoors and getting away from the stresses of everyday life. Friendships seem to flourish on the Trail — an element that I find extremely compelling in this backpacking community.” Alex hopes to get back on the Trail someday soon so he can continue to document some of the people, places, and things that inspire him the most.
Watch Alex talk about hiking, photography, and the sense of peace and camaraderie he found on the Trail at:

Lookout tower on the summit of Mount Cammerer in the Smokies (half a mile off the Trail) — built as a fire watch tower in the 1930s and manned by a fire ranger for 30 years

Outdoor Restoration
By Beth Griffin

Scott with his dog Bleu at his home in North Carolina

Scott Zimmerman enjoyed a

childhood filled with the joys of summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina where he paddled, fished, sailed, camped, and hiked the long days away. He loved being outside with friends and recalls the fun they had “before the internet.” He was an ambitious young man, an accomplished undergraduate, and law student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ultimately, he became a successful corporate litigator for almost 20 years in North Carolina. Scott was on a path that seemed to be a good one.

At some point along the way, however, Scott took a detour onto a dangerous trail. It wasn’t marked with the white blaze of the A.T.’s adventure, nor was it blazed blue, leading to rest and camp. It was a trail of addiction and alcoholism. Ten years ago, Scott hit his bottom and asked for help. With the help of others, he stepped off that darkly-blazed trail onto a life-long path of recovery. A huge part of his recovery is nature in general and the white-blazed A.T. in particular.

Help others experience the amazing moments, breathtaking beauty, 360 views, and become one with the A.T. Send us your Trail videos
Video submitted by
Tim Bloemendaal

Appalachian Trail thru-hike: Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. February 20 to July 4, 2016. A 2,189.1 mile journey.

– Radical Face: Mountains
– M83: Outro

Trail Stories
Growing Up A.T.
Living close to the Trail ensures a lifetime of short treks and big memories
By Dave Kirkwood

The author at Washington Monument State Park in 1958

Upon reading an article, in the

Fall 2016 issue of A.T. Journeys, about a family who drove nine hours to walk a 1.3-mile section of the Appalachian Trail, I became introspective. I and thousands of others with the A.T. in their proverbial back yards don’t know how lucky we are. Hikers come from hundreds or even thousands of miles, from across the U.S. and foreign countries, to seek the famous Trail while those of us who live relatively close at hand, or should I say foot, often take it for granted. I grew up and spent my entire life in close proximity to the Trail with very little thought about how special a place it really was. The article made me stop and think how much of my life has been influenced by — so much more than just a trail ­— the A.T.

My association with the A.T. began as far back as I can remember when my parents would take me picnicking, from our row-house in Baltimore, to places like Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Washington Monument State Park in Maryland. Near Harpers Ferry, we would picnic at tables right along the road on the Virginia side of the Route 340 bridge over the Potomac River. At that time, the Trail crossed that same bridge and passed right in front of the picnic area before ascending Loudoun Heights on its way south. Neither the picnic tables nor the Trail are still present in that spot today.

Trail Giving

Tiffany hiking at the ATC 2017 Conference in Maine

“Opportunity Makers,” although

not a commonly used term, are those individuals who see opportunities for positive change and grab the brass ring to make things happen. At the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) we are so fortunate to have “Opportunity Makers” all around us. They are those individuals who donate their time, talent, and treasure to make our organization run smoothly all while protecting and maintaining the almost 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Our thousands of members, donors, and volunteers embody this mission as they come together to do something much bigger than any individual.

So, as we head into the autumn and early winter months, I ask you to consider what kind of Opportunity Maker are you, or will you become? This premise is much more than wealth, or titles, or lots of contacts—although we appreciate those things too. Creating opportunity is our capacity to connect around each other’s better side to bring out our charitable efforts. As I recently stepped into a new role as the ATC’s vice president of Membership and Development, I hope to further foster those behaviors that so many of you already do — to reimagine our fundraising so that we are constantly utilizing our best talents, resources, and time to accomplish even greater things together.

Little Rock Pond, Vermont Photo by Chris DAmbrosio
Individual Gifts
$100,000 – $499,000
Bruce Matson
$50,000 – $99,999
The Estate of Carl Thompson
Greg* & Jan Winchester
$25,000 – $49,999
Rubén* & Valerie Rosales
$10,000 – $24,999
Norman* & Adrienne Findley
Mary Higley* & Kyran Kennedy
Robert* & Catherine Hutchinson
Betsy* & Bob Thompson
$5,000 – $9,999
David W. Appel
Beth Bryan Critton*
Rich & Catharine Daileader
Arthur* & Denise Foley
Robert Hutchins
Sandra Marra* & Chris Brunton
Ann Satterthwaite
Nathaniel C. Stoddard*
$1,000 – $4,999
Donald^ & Anne Ayer
Greg & Ann Beckham
Hon. Donald & Megan Beyer
Ralph & Jennifer Blumenthal
Marilynn Borkowski
Lt. Col. Ann H. Bransford
Ron & Cathy Butler
John & Cecilia Carey
Plus Many More
Annual Fund
Awards Gala
Hiking Partners

About to be 77-years-young A.T. section hiker seeking other senior(s) who prefer slack packing or limited backpacking to hike in Pennsylvania and Vermont over the next two years. We used the two-car system.  I’ve completed eight states and 1,475 AT miles. Let’s compare goals. Contact: [email protected].

Lost and Found

Found:  GPS system on Bigelow Mountain in Maine in early August.  The finder will be glad to make arrangements to send to you if you contact me and identify it.  Please contact:  [email protected].

Found: Military watch at Bobblets Gap shelter in Virginia in September. Contact: (828) 883-9278 to identify.

For Sale

AT Café in Millinocket, Maine. Successful restaurant located in the Trail town closest to the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Millinocket is the gateway to Baxter State Park and the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The opportunities for outdoor recreation are abundant in this spectacular outdoor recreational area. Featured in Backpacker and Downeast magazines including other noted publications. Building housing the restaurant includes three apartments for rental income/owner housing. All equipment included. Work 6 months and travel or operate year round. Please direct inquiries to: Jay Peavey Team, Realty of Maine; (207) 478-0084; [email protected].

For sale: prosperous hiker hostel located on the A.T. in Damascus, Virginia. Well-equipped and established. For information call Chuck at: (406) 407-1272 or [email protected].

Black Bear Resort, Hampton, Tennessee for sale – 4/10 of a mile off MM 418.5 – 2 Bunk houses, cabins, and cottages – 23 acres in mountains $599,000. Contact: (423) 725-5988; or [email protected].

For Your Information

Steve Johnson, aka “Fob,” has published Volume 2 of his book Sir Fob W. Pot’s Journey to Katahdin, detailing his 2016 A.T. thru-hike. It’s now available on Amazon. See his “Author Steve Johnson” Facebook page for photos, interviews, and more details.

Public Notices may be edited for clarity and length.

[email protected]

Public Notices
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807

As I See It

Doug and Stacey at Acadia National Park in Main

During the 15 years after my

wife, soulmate, and best friend Stacey was first diagnosed with cancer, we never asked about the prognosis. We focused only on the diagnosis, our treatment options, and additional steps to improve overall health. As a result, when we had the rare chance to move where we wished four years after Stacey’s breast cancer had first spread to her liver and lungs, (Stage four) we had no idea that based on the numbers, her survival at that moment was already unlikely. Bound by the averages, we may have never seized the opportunity to find a simpler and more active life.

It started innocently enough, with the Google search: “Where should I move?” followed by an anonymous survey that narrowed the choice to 25 towns. We already knew the region where we hoped to settle and after visiting about a half-dozen towns on the list found only one of interest. That town was Abingdon, Virginia. While this was happening, Stacey had two people from entirely different social circles recommend the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I don’t think she had ever received even one book recommendation from anyone, let alone two in one week for the same book. She read it and then excitedly told me to read it too. In short, the book describes the simpler life we sought, and at the very end the author thanks everyone at the Abingdon Farmers Market. We were never strong believers in faith or fate but as far as we were concerned, all roads led to Abingdon.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Support the Trail You Love
Thanks for reading this issue!