The Tenth Class of the A.T. Hall of Fame includes Chris Brunton of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; the late Thurston Griggs of Baltimore, Maryland; Warren Doyle of Mountain City, Tennessee; and the late Jim Stoltz of Helena, Montana.
Soon after emigrating from England, Chris Brunton joined the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). Chris has been a dominant force in Trail construction and maintenance for PATC ever since. Known to most as “Trail Boss,” Chris has served for decades as district manager for an A.T. section in West Virginia and Virginia, including three miles that he personally maintains. Among his many achievements, Chris is known for helping to acquire the land and then build the “rollercoaster” section of the A.T. in northern Virginia, as well as renovating and then managing the Blackburn Trail Center with his wife — and current Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) president/CEO — Sandi Marra.
In his spare time away from teaching at the University of Maryland, Thurston Griggs worked to preserve the A.T., joining the Mountain Club of Maryland in 1959 and serving two terms as its president. He served as the first editor of ATC’s newsletter The Register, and a member of its Board of Directors, including vice-chair. He expedited the purchase of the Bagtown Road parcel, on which was later built the Thurston Griggs Trail, a side trail to the A.T. Shortly before his death in 2011, the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office awarded him the Golden Service Award for 50 years of service and the A.T. Museum gave him its initial Lifetime Achievement Award.
Warren Doyle ranks high on the list of those who have inspired others to attempt a hike of the A.T. His personal hiking exploits include setting an informal record by traversing the A.T. a record eighteen times, including nine thru-hikes. Warren also played a leading role in founding the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA). Founded in 1983, ALDHA is devoted to encouraging long distance hiking and promoting the interests of hikers. Through his Appalachian Trail Institute, Warren educates prospective hikers on the proper strategies to successfully hike the A.T. and other trails. He covers not only physical conditioning and proper gear, but also the emotional and psychological aspects necessary for a successful thru-hike. Scores of thru-hikers credit Warren with inspiring and guiding them to complete their lifelong goal.
Over his 45-year career, Jim Stoltz, universally known as “Walkin’ Jim,” was a musician, author, photographer, artist, and environmental activist. His long-distance trips totaled over 28,000 miles, including a thru-hike of the A.T. in 1974. Between treks, Jim would create, produce, and perform original shows of his travels with photography and music, always incorporating his keen sense of environmental awareness and justice for all things wild. Jim produced eight musical albums, one music video for children, and a book of poetry. In a front-page story, The Wall Street Journal called him the “Music Man of The Wilderness.” Walkin’ Jim passed away in 2010.