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

Susan’s work grew to take on many tasks over the course of her tenure with the ATC. She became chief go-to for all staff in the conservation department and certainly for many newly hired staff who were seeking a kind soul to help point them in the right direction. The entire staff grew to rely on Sue’s deep knowledge of the organization. As many recognized: “she’s like Google for the ATC.” Ask Sue.

Others beyond staff asked Sue for assistance every day. “Sue always answered all of the questions volunteers had,” says Ned Kuhns, former president of the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club and Stewardship Council member. “She was incredibly helpful and supportive of volunteers.” Surely many agree, as Susan was presented an award at the 2017 Biennial meeting for her contributions. This recognition was received with a standing ovation.

Many of us, including executive leadership, turned to Susan to edit and refine major documents and communications. Her editorial skills are sharp and her ability to navigate complex text is impressive. Her attention to detail and support of the Stewardship Council was instrumental in the development of numerous Trail management policies today. “Susan is not only a wise and valued source of institutional knowledge, she has also been instrumental in assuring that the Stewardship Council functions effectively,” says Beth Critton, current chair of the Stewardship Council. Among her many other responsibilities for the council, she has coordinated meetings, helped update the handbook, recorded notes, and assured that policies developed by the council and adopted by the board find their way onto the ATC website. Beyond her work on behalf of the council, she has compiled and reported hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours and has been the motivating force behind both the content and editorial quality of The Register newsletter. Happy Trails, Susan — you will be missed!