Looking Forward by Looking Back cover cover mockup
THE WINTER ISSUE OF A.T. Journeys arrived, and I greatly appreciate the continued emphasis on hooking young people and on increasing diversity among those who use the Trail. My three grandsons are bi-racial, and my extended family is from a diverse background as well. My grandsons are the most important people in the world to me, so everything we can do to make the world better for them matters to me.
Tom McKone
Montpelier, Vermont
THANK YOU FOR THE BEST issue ever! Usually a pleasant skim, mostly for the photographs, A.T. Journeys sits on my iPad until an unoccupied half hour comes my way. But the Winter issue was very different. Every article was interesting and thought-provoking. Articles that needed to be written and read. I was two hours into this issue and went back and re-read Shilletha Curtis’ moving article (“Preparing for the Trail”). I hope we hear from her again, further into her hike.
Linton Holsenbeck
Hardwick, Georgia
I ENJOY READING YOUR magazine, but I do not appreciate the social engineering that has invaded your publication (Winter 2021). Thanks for listening; kind regards.
Randy Cline
Harrisonburg, Virginia
I’M AN ATC MONTHLY DONOR, thru-hiker (’05) and director of advancement at Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) in North Carolina. I absolutely loved the “Looking Forward by Looking Back” Winter 2021 issue. It is an incredibly important and timely issue that places JEDI work where it should be — right up front. Thank you!
Christine Wilson
Cary, North Carolina
THE WINTER ISSUE JUST showed up today and I can’t put it down. I’ve been a lifetime member of the ATC for over 40 years (thanks Dad!), and this is easily the most important and timely issue I’ve ever read. Thank you for tackling so many challenging and thoughtful topics all at once. Let’s keep talking about the difficult past so that we can build a present where the Trail feels welcoming to everyone.
Richard Thomason
Berkeley, California
IT HURT TO LEARN ABOUT Shalin Desai’s experience with racism in the town where I live (“Acknowledgement” Winter 2021). While it happens everywhere, I’m so sorry it happened here. As a member of Franklin’s A. T. Community Council — a group that works hard to welcome all people that the A.T. leads to us — I know there’s more to do. We need to talk with our friends, family, and colleagues who don’t welcome people from other places with different histories. It’s hard work and it might be easier to place blame and responsibility on others and say we’re already doing our best, but my hope is that this article motivates us to work a little harder to make sure everyone is welcome.
Kristina Lynn Moe,
Franklin, North Carolina
I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE the Winter issue, with articles about Native Americans and People of Color relating to the Trail.  However, there is one error in the article on the American Chestnut, to “Indigenous people and European-Americans.” African Americans should have been included there.
Nancy Moore
Madison, Wisconsin
GLAD TO SEE THE WOMEN recognized who helped to move the organization forward, along with the men (“We Were There, Too” Winter 2021). I started section-hiking the Trail in 1973, finishing in ‘85. I’m 91 now, but I remember each of those women…and still enjoy a hike, if not more than five or six miles.
Earl High
Cary, North Carolina
THE WINTER MAGAZINE, Looking Forward by Looking Back, was truly a wonderful read and I want to thank you, the staff, and leadership for relating the ATC to important discussions about racism that have to happen in our nation. From the President’s Letter to the end, I found the issue deeply engaging. As Mills Kelly writes, “If hikers, Trail clubs, and the ATC take ownership of the entire history of the Trail’s past, rather than a partial understanding…then the possibility of change becomes real.” The Native Land Territories Along the A.T. map made a particularly strong impression on me as a visual guide to Indigenous territories.
Leslie Mullin
San Francisco, California
opened A.T. Journey's magazine
THANK YOU FOR THE WINTER issue’s focus on BIPOC hikers. I “met” Shilletha Curtis (“Preparing for the Trail”), who shared her experiences with your readers, on Facebook near the inception of her enthusiasm for hiking and her desire to hike the A.T. I told her not to worry; that most hikers, especially thru-hikers, were cool and that the only encounters with racists or homophobes would be in town … because that was my experience. But as Shalin Desai pointed out in his excellent article (“Acknowledgement”) not everyone will have the same experience when they hike. Because I (a white cisgender hetero male) didn’t notice any racism or homophobia on the Trail, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. We like to imagine people we interact with in a positive way think similarly to us, and that they would never say the presumptuous and downright rude things that people like Shalin and Shilletha experienced — and that is a product of our privilege. We assume that allies exist everywhere when they do not. As a yearly section hiker chipping away at 100 miles of the A.T. at a time, I hope during the decades I spend hiking I will notice a profound change in not only the people who feel comfortable and welcome hiking on the Trail, but also in the attitudes and decency of those they encounter.
Daniel “Beercan” Brooks
Lithia, Florida
I CONGRATULATE ATC ON ITS work at recognizing its past (Winter 2021), which was not inviting to nonwhite groups and even women. Without looking at this past, the ATC can’t go forward very authentically. I am so glad that the ATC is developing programs to get more people from more backgrounds out on the Trail and into nature. The more human beings love nature, the more of us will work to foster a world that preserves it. We are facing such danger from climate change. Nature needs every human’s support.
Lisa Sammet
Craftsbury, Vermont
A.T. Journeys welcomes your comments.
The editors are committed to providing balanced and objective perspectives. Not all letters received may be published. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.
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Trail Talk
I am happy to see the ATC’s latest issue of A.T. Journeys includes some really great writing on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) issues on the A.T.
— Jacob Wildfire
My daughter and I love the Ed-Venture series!
— Charissa Beeler Hipp
The last issue of A.T. Journeys was fantastic. I know issues of racism and diversity are hard to talk about, but it’s so important to start the conversation. I’m really happy you guys have the courage to make this a priority
ATC is always there for the communities near the A.T. Local people are the best advocates.
— John J. Donahue
Volunteers MAKE the A.T. what it is. If you hike you should also try volunteering on a local trail. Thank You Volunteers!
Some of my best times have been on the A.T. It’s such a treasure. Get out and enjoy!
— Marty Fletcher
I am reading A.T. Journeys cover to cover currently (Winter 2021). Typically, after reading, I then clip a few articles and dispose of the rest. This morning I decided I was keeping this issue intact! Nice job!