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. – Carter Dome in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Photo by Erin Paul Donovan

ATC Senior Staff

Suzanne Dixon / 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
Arthur Foley
Edward R. Guyot
Daniel A. Howe
Robert Hutchinson
Colleen Peterson
Jennifer Pharr Davis
Rubén Rosales
Nathaniel Stoddard

President’s Advisory Circle

Hon. C. Stewart Verdery, Jr. / Chair
Shooter Starr / Vice Chair
Donald Ayer
Kathi Cramer
Constance I. DuHamel
Lisa Koteen Gerchick
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan
R. Michael Leonard
Stephanie Martz
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.

© 2018 Appalachian Trail Conservancy. All rights reserved.

Download the PDF Version of the Magazine

Tribute Garden


The Last Word

My dear friends and fellow

hikers: When you read this column, I will have moved on to the next phase of my life. After more than 40 years of personal involvement with the Appalachian Trail, I retired from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) at the end of December.

For me, it has been a wonderful and often magical relationship with the A.T. I signed up with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for my first work trip in 1974 to help reconstruct the Trail up to Weverton Cliffs in Maryland from the C&O Canal. I joined the organization that year, became a life member soon thereafter, and served over the next 25 years as an A.T. maintainer, chair ovf the Land Management and Conservation Committees, and on the Governing Council. I was privileged to serve on the ATC Board of Managers from 1981 to 85. In 1983, I was one of a very distinguished group of passionate A.T. supporters who founded the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association.

And I hiked the entire Trail in 1978 – one of about 100 who completed the Trail that year. I have so many happy memories of that journey and was reminded of my hike recently in a couple of unique ways. As part of the ATC Biennial in Maine this past summer, I did a group hike south on the A.T. from the Kennebec River to Pierce Pond. At the camp restaurant near the

Ron with his wife Rita Molyneaux

Follow Ron on Twitter at:

pond, I saw my name in the hiker register where I signed in 38 years ago. More recently, I listened to a digitized version of a 1982 CBS radio interview in which I answered Charles Kuralt’s question about my feelings as I climbed Katahdin by saying: “It was the most rewarding and emotional moment of my life.” My dear wife and life partner Rita suggested our wedding date ranked higher.

But this is not just about me. My four-plus years as the head of the ATC has been the greatest privilege and honor of my life. I called it my “dream job” when I was hired and I still feel that way. Part of the reason is that our board, staff, partners, members, and donors and especially our 31 Trail clubs and 6,000-plus volunteers have worked together to address some very big and important challenges:

❚  The growing number of long distance, weekend, and day hikers that expect a high quality A.T. experience
❚  The historic opportunity to protect high-priority sections of the A.T. landscape through conservation strategies and key land purchase while also addressing threats to the Trail by proposed major residential and resort developments, natural gas pipelines, transmission line corridors, illegal timber cutting, and other activities along the Trail
❚  Creating an overall strategy with the the ATC’s partners to reach youth and urban and diverse populations to give them the opportunity to join more than three million hikers already coming to the A.T. annually.
But the most important thing I take with me into the next phase of my life is the reality that I want to remain an active part of this wonderful Trail community that has given me joy, tears, challenges, rewards, and many lifelong friendships. Now I get to return to the wonderful world of being an A.T. volunteer.
My final thought is this: I am delighted that my long-time friend and former colleague Suzanne Dixon is now your new president and CEO. She brings great passion, leadership skills, and a proven track record of success in helping protect a variety of national parks during her 18 years with the National Parks Conservation Association. I have no doubt she will take the ATC to a new level of accomplishment and, more importantly, make the Appalachian Trail experience better than ever.

Ronald J. Tipton / President & CEO

Go Paperless

Contents / Winter 2018

A.T. hiker Jim “Shivers’ Dad” Baker stands at the entrance of Trailside Museums and Zoo in Bear Mountain State Park, New York — just one of many places that can be visited during the 14 State Challenge.
Photo by Anne Baker

Contents / Winter 2018

A.T. hiker Jim “Shivers’ Dad” Baker stands at the entrance of Trailside Museums and Zoo in Bear Mountain State Park, New York — just one of many places that can be visited during the 14 State Challenge.
Photo by Anne Baker

Experience some of the A.T.’s most accessible places in small, manageable ways.
The tiny, voracious emerald ash borer threatens to significantly change the forest composition on many parts of the Trail — as well as approximately 60 percent of the continental U.S. — where ash trees range.
The Children’s Forest Network encourages underrepresented — often urban — youth to explore the forests in their backyards and empower them with new experiences in nature.

How to make your stay at a shelter restful and enjoyable for you and your fellow A.T. hikers.

Adjusting to life after a long-distance trek can be tricky but fulfilling if you channel lessons learned and inspiration gained from your hike.
Erin Paul Donovan finds the vast scenery in the White Mountains of New Hampshire a photographer’s paradise.
New ATC President & CEO; Large Landscape Conservation Initiative; Mountain Valley Pipeline Update; Volgenau Foundation Grant
Stewart Verdery donates his time, talent, and a unique skill set to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Reluctance after a hard day hike turns to determination, love, and understanding of the gravity of the A.T.
The Trail provides a special kind of therapy to the bodies, souls, and minds of a mother and her five children.
My AT Story


I spent more than 10 years of my

career in the Marine Corps overseas. My boys speak multiple languages and have lived all over. For most of their lives, they have been raised abroad. My goal in hiking the Trail was for them to experience the best of our own culture; a sense of true Americana. The fellow hikers we met on the Trail as well as the community of people around the Trail renewed my sense of the human spirit and helped deliver to my impressionable children a positively formative experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Scott E. Pierce

Brussels, Belgium
I started hiking as a substitute

for running when I developed arthritis. [Then I] joined the Chester County Trail Club and started section hiking in 2005 at James River bridge heading north. I know I can climb a rock wall on my hands and knees. I can walk 12 hours in the freezing rain or in blistering heat. I can go without a comb or a mirror for two weeks at a time. I can sleep with strangers and wake up with friends. I can forget the fact that these new friends could be my grandchildren – and they can forget that too.

Leslie Spangler

West Chester, Pennsylvania
Flip Flop Festival
Appalachian Trail Passport
ATC Trail Store


I’m writing this column as

2017 draws to a close. It is a time, I think, to look back to where we have been this past year and look forward to what lies ahead.

The farewell note you see in this issue, from our retiring president and CEO, Ron Tipton, touches on his lifetime commitment to the Trail as well as some of the accomplishments the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has achieved under his leadership. Of specific note is the A.T. Large Landscape Conservation initiative and our youth and diversity outreach efforts to ensure the A.T. remains relevant to future generations.

U.S. Forest Service and Greening Youth Foundation employees stand alongside young East Atlanta YMCA campers during the Children’s Forest Network’s first urban campout last October at the Lake Winfield Scott Recreation area in Blairsville, Georgia.
Photo by Steve Bekkerus

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.

Our efforts to support our Broader Relevancy strategic goal have also seen success in the past year. The Fall 2017 issue of A.T. Journeys highlighted the Summit Seekers project, a collaboration between Outdoor Afro, Latino Outdoors, Groundwork USA, the Student Conservation Association, and the ATC. Looking forward, in this issue, you’ll learn about the Children’s Forest Network project and our Next Generation Advisory Council program. These programs and projects highlight how we are working to build affinity groups and cohorts who will find their own ways to support and enjoy the A.T. now and in the future.

Moving from Ron’s farewell, we now say hello to our new president and CEO, Suzanne Dixon. You’ll find a brief introduction to Suzanne in this issue. The process for finding Ron’s replacement was kicked off in early May. We used the search firm, ThinkingAhead, to support the effort. After gathering information from a wide variety of stakeholders, we developed our search criteria. ThinkingAhead reached out to close to 300 individuals and conducted well over 40 initial interviews. Nine candidates were submitted to the Selection Committee, seven were invited for first round interviews and four were asked to return for in-person, second round interviews. Three of those four were selected as finalist candidates. We made an offer to Suzanne in mid-October and her first day of work was December 11.

Suzanne comes to us from the National Parks Conservation Association, where she has spent the last 18 years. Her most recent position was senior director of Regional Programs with a focus on programming in Texas and Florida. She is skilled in coalition and partnership building, community engagement, and brings demonstrated fund-raising expertise. In the coming year, you will have the opportunity to get to know Suzanne. We are very excited to have her in this leadership role as we move the ATC into its future.

As in hiking the Trail, going from one year to the next can be full of challenges and surprises. Even with the best laid plans, maps, and guides, we never can know for sure what lies beyond the next bend or over the distant summit. What we can do is make sure we prepare as best we can for all types of weather and terrain, reach out to others for ideas and support, and know that all any of us can do is just keep putting one foot in front of another. The ATC has and will continue, one step at a time, to protect, enhance and promote the Appalachian Trail. I hope you will continue along with us on this journey.

Sandra Marra / Chair

Trail Plates
Penn Homes
Devils Backbone Brewing Company

illustration rick sealock

THE ATC and Partners Work to Protect Ash Trees from the Destructive Emerald Ash Borer

silent and destructive killer is lurking in eastern forests, including along the Appalachian Trail corridor. Its damage threatens to significantly change the forest composition on many parts of the Trail — as well as approximately 60 percent of the continental U.S., where ash trees (trees in the Fraxinus genus) range. The culprit is the emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis), an invasive exotic insect from Asia that made its way to the United States through infested solid wood packing material sometime around the middle 1990s in Michigan. EAB larvae kill ash trees by creating serpentine feeding galleries beneath the bark of the trees, disrupting the flow of nutrients and water. This effectively girdles and kills the tree. EAB infested ash trees lose most of their canopy within two years of infestation and die within three to four years.

Support Ron Tipton’s Passion
Protect Our Large Landscapes
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is seeking to raise $625,000 for their A.T. Landscape Conservation Initiative. This initiative is designed to leverage the commitment of those who hike the Trail, the public and private partners who manage the Trail, and surrounding communities to form an effective coalition to protect high-priority A.T. landscapes. “When Benton MacKaye developed the idea for the Appalachian Trail, his vision was far grander than just a footpath. He imagined the Trail would become a network of natural and cultural landscapes providing a barrier to the forces of Metropolitan development,” explains retiring ATC president and CEO Ron Tipton. Ron is passionate about the ATC’s Landscape Conservation Initiative, a concerted effort to protect valuable natural and cultural landscapes along the length of the A.T. They connect the Trail with surrounding geography, acreages, communities, and even political jurisdictions. These special landscapes go deeply into our shared experience and need our collective financial support to protect them. Communities within the more than 80 counties that feature the A.T. corridor as part of their neighborhood share an equally strong sense of place, whether it be serving hikers through local businesses or as part of a long-term commitment to protecting the landscape. Donations will support the A.T. Landscape Conservation Initiative and all the great programs of the ATC including, education, outreach, conservation, and overall protection of the Trail.
Find out more, take in some stunning views, and hear personal testimonials from Ron, ATC staff, and others at:

The ATC’s new president & CEO Suzanne Dixon

President & CEO

Suzanne Dixon

Suzanne Dixon, former senior director of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), has been selected as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) new president and CEO. Beginning in mid-December, Dixon now leads the organization in its mission to maintain, protect, and celebrate the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

“Suzanne has the extraordinary talent and drive that is necessary to be the leading voice for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy,” says Sandra Marra, chair of the ATC’s board of directors. “Her success in protecting the values of the National Parks, along with her expertise in fundraising, advocacy, and programmatic growth, will be a great asset for the ATC and the greater Appalachian Trail community.”

Mountain Valley
Pipeline Update

Mountain Valley
Pipeline Update

By Laura Belleville

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is proposed to carry fracked natural gas for over 300 miles through the Virginia and West Virginia countryside, crossing over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and breaching the A.T. corridor. The pipeline would run parallel to the Trail for over 90 miles and carve ugly gashes in the landscape that could be seen from 20 miles away. On October 13, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

At the same time, the U.S. Forest Service issued a Draft Record of Decision. These decisions were despite clear and vocal concern expressed by state and federal elected officials on both sides of the aisle, despite unanimous resolutions by county and city entities, and despite the dissenting opinion of federal regulator Cheryl LaFleur, who said the need for these pipelines has not been proven. But the pipeline cannot begin construction until necessary water quality permits are issued by the states, and final Section 106 review is complete.

Nominations Open for ATC Board of Directors
Nominations are now open for the positions of secretary and four directors who would serve on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) governing body after elections that will be certified at this year’s annual membership meeting August 12 at the National Conservation Training Center near Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Under the ATC’s bylaws, membership meetings are now held each year, rather than every other year, and the elected leadership serves staggered terms, with one third of the positions coming open each year. A slate of nominees will be selected by a committee chaired by outgoing Secretary Betsy Thompson of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and including directors Norm Findley of Atlanta and Rubén Rosales of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Photo by Ben Benvie

Bear Canisters and
Black Bear Awareness

Bear Canisters and
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 for current information about bear activity and bear canister requirements along the A.T.

The ATC recommends the use of canisters approved by the partners of SierraWild, a joint U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management program to manage multiple wilderness areas in the Sierras (which have lots of black bears and human visitors). Use of a bear canister “is the single most effective thing you can do as a wilderness (or A.T.) visitor to protect bears,” explains SierraWild.

For more information visit: and

the ATC Opposes Legislation
to Allow Bikes in Wilderness Areas

the ATC Opposes
Legislation to
Allow Bikes in
Wilderness Areas

By Lynn Davis

The A.T. in Shenandoah National Park is part of a federally designated wilderness area
Photo by Ken Miller

Federal legislation to amend the Wilderness Act to allow mountain bikes and other forms of mechanized transport in designated wilderness areas is — at press time — before the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1349 would overturn the original intent of the 1964 Wilderness Act, which protects and preserves primitive conditions.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) joins with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, the Partnership for the National Trails System, several A.T. clubs, and more than 100 other conservation organizations in opposing H.R. 1349. Approximately 150 miles of the A.T. pass through 25 federally designated wilderness areas including wilderness in Shenandoah National Park.

Peer to Peer
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Coming January 2018

Volgenau Foundation

Grant a Win for A.T.

Landscape Protection

View from the Pinnacle on the A.T. in Pennsylvania – part of 10 Priority Focus Areas within the A.T. Landscape Photo by Raymond Salini III

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) landscape conservation program was given a significant boost with the announcement that the Volgenau Foundation has awarded the ATC its largest ever foundation grant. The Virginia-based Foundation has pledged $3 million to the ATC over the next three years to support the A.T. Landscape Partnership campaign. Half of the grant will cover campaign expenses, and the other $1.5 million will help to fund land purchases along the A.T. in our Priority Focus Areas. “This is by far the largest funding commitment from one donor in the ATC’s history,” says retiring president and CEO, Ron Tipton. “A successful program to advance conservation of this national treasure for future generations requires both targeted land acquisition and a sustainable campaign. The Volgenau Foundation grant just moved us one giant step closer to achieving our goals.”

Baxter State Park Director Retires

Baxter State Park Director Jensen Bissell retired at the end of 2017 after 30 years working for park administration and 12 years as park director. The park is managed by the Baxter State Park Authority, a three-person team consisting of the attorney general of the State of Maine, the director of the Maine Forest Service and the commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The Authority operates Baxter State Park through the park director and administrative staff, which consists of a chief ranger, park naturalist, business manager and resource manager. In addition, the park currently employs 22 year-round and 39 seasonal employees. Bissell started working at Baxter State Park in 1987 as resource manager for the park’s 29,537-acre Scientific Forest Management Area. In 2005, he was selected by the Baxter State Park Authority to become park director. During his tenure, Bissel improved plans to sustainably maintain the park’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, culverts, campgrounds and 215 miles of trails. “Baxter State Park has thrived under his leadership,” said Aaron Megquier, executive director of the nonprofit organization Friends of Baxter State Park. “He’s done an exceptional job of stewarding the park and staying true to its forever wild mission.” The park was pieced together, parcel by parcel, by former Maine Governer Percival Baxter between 1931 and 1962, and gifted to the State of Maine with the condition that it be kept forever wild. Conserving some of the most mountainous terrain in the state, including the state’s tallest mountain, Katahdin, the park now totals more than 209,644 acres. In his retirement, among other things, Bissel plans to explore Maine’s 281 miles of Appalachian Trail, as well as trails along the Bold Coast in eastern Maine and the Mahoosucs in western Maine.

Information courtesy The Bangor Daily News

Top to bottom: Campers at the October campout sing along to one of Natti Lovejoys’ favorite Bob Marley songs; East Atlanta YMCA Youth enjoy the Children’s Forests campout at Lake Winfield Scott Recreation area in Blairsville, Georgia
Photos by Steve Bekkerus

When awe and amazement drive you, there’s no telling where you might find yourself. But wherever it is, you can bet it’s satisfying, and almost certainly it’s inspiring.

I have always had an infectious sense of wonder and a passion for sharing my new findings. As the partnership coordinator for the Children’s Forest Network of the Georgia Mountains, I have spent the past 18 months connecting land managers, communities and non-profits to a wide-range of innovative programs that help stimulate an interest in the outdoors for young people across north Georgia. I joined an impressive crew of partners who were successfully engaging kids through a variety of individual efforts in partnership with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. The Children’s Forest Network (CFN) brought them all together with a particular focus on addressing cultural and financial obstacles that prevent underrepresented youth from becoming engaged in outdoor experiences — by providing opportunities to explore the forests in their backyards, empowering teachers to connect with the outdoors and lead their students into the forest for meaningful, place-based learning experiences, and helping ensure the long-term health of our national forests by fostering an ethic of stewardship among young people.

A.T. Connecticut

chatting with a few friends the other night when our conversation shifted to my time on the Appalachian Trail this year. The questions I heard ranged from typical to downright silly, and almost without thinking, I gave well-rehearsed, hasty replies to those I had been asked over and over: “Yes, I actually went to the bathroom in the woods every day,” “I lived primarily off of protein bars and Ramen,” and, my favorite, “No, I didn’t carry bear spray — and let me tell you about the guy who got his Trail name after accidentally using his inside a hostel, causing an ill-timed evacuation.”

But then I was asked one question I hadn’t heard before: “Do you believe the A.T. is a single trail?” I hesitated. The obvious answer was, “Yes, of course. That’s the whole point,” but then my mind began racing back to those moments on the Trail when I would cross a state line. Each time I left one state behind and entered another, I was left in suspense; I was heading away from something familiar to step into the unknown. Those who have experienced the different regions of the Trail know what I mean: Maryland, for example, certainly doesn’t feel like Maine.

As the A.T. winds its way through the Appalachian Mountains, it traverses 14 states. Every state is unique, and the insightful hiker will notice things like landscape, terrain, and land management practices contribute to a diverse user experience. So yes, while the A.T. is continuous, there are often times when the footpath seems to change before your eyes. That’s part of the beauty of the Trail — it always keeps hikers guessing.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

illustration by alex hedworth

By Lauralee Bliss

many of us have backpacked on a rainy day? Gear and clothing get soaked. Chills set in. Spirits are in need of a boost. The weather drives you to finish the day in a nice dry location like one of the many Trailside shelters that offer a refuge from the storm.

many of us have backpacked on a rainy day? Gear and clothing get soaked. Chills set in. Spirits are in need of a boost. The weather drives you to finish the day in a nice dry location like one of the many Trailside shelters that offer a refuge from the storm.

Shelter life, however, can quickly turn from a place of peace to one of distress. Case in point. I trudged in solid rain all day on the A.T. in southern Virginia on a section hike one summer week. My original camping destination quickly changed to the safety of a shelter that would provide a place to stay without having to set up a tent in the rain. After 18 miles, I arrived at the shelter. Ziploc bags of food greeted me from the small built-in area reserved for the shelter register. Garbage and remnants of burned trash lay strewn about the firepit. Soon after, two hikers came in. One hiker proceeded to string up a hammock that took over half the shelter. I didn’t make a big deal out of it as there were only three of us — until well after 10 PM as I lay snug in my sleeping bag when three soaking wet hikers came stomping in, looking for room. The hammocker stayed put, forcing the latecomers to set up right beside me. The hikers talked quite loudly while shining bright beams of white light across my face. I slept little with the hiker snoring beside me. The next morning, I noticed the hikers had left their food bags on the shelter floor. I wondered how many of those bags had holes in them from the mice. Exhausted by it all, I gathered my gear and left. Not a restful experience.

Shalin on Katahdin at the completion of his A.T. thru-hike

few months before I headed to Springer Mountain, a friend suggested I reach out to former thru-hikers to help prepare for my own journey. It seemed like a great idea: the web offered a lot of advice but I found it difficult to wade through all the information. Luckily, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) keeps an online directory of thru-hiker alumni organized into groups with shared interests and identities. As a queer, South Asian male, I tapped into the LGBT and South Asian directories and copied all of the email addresses into a single email. I sent out a list of 15 questions to approximately 30 people and expected almost no one to respond. I assumed they were too far from the Trail either in terms of time or distance; but, the next morning, I woke up to about 20 responses containing advice on gear, resupply, budgeting, and a whole host of other Trail topics. Over the span of a week everyone replied. It was my first insight into the singularity and generosity of the thru-hiking community and A.T. community in general.

Grand Landscape

Since 1998, Erin Paul Donovan has been creating unique and inspirational images that showcase New England’s landscape. He approaches photography from a realist’s point of view and is passionate about creating awareness for land conservation and historic preservation. “As a photographer, I love the variety of photo subjects along the New Hampshire portion of the A.T.,” says Erin. “The peaceful forest scenes, the inspiring waterfalls, and the grand landscape of the Presidential Range, the subject matter is endless. It is an outdoor photographer’s paradise. And the history attached to the A.T. is just as amazing as the scenery.” On a personal level, Erin enjoys meeting other hikers on the Trail in New Hampshire. “Everyone on the A.T. has a unique story. And because I am a local to the White Mountains, I also get to see all the hard work that goes into maintaining the New Hampshire A.T. corridor,” he says. “The creation and the upkeep of the Trail is an impressive accomplishment that inspires me. But what I love most about it is that it brings people from all ages and backgrounds together to enjoy nature.”

Some of Erin’s work is highlighted in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s coffee table book: The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail. In his free time from operating his company, ScenicNH Photography, he explores the White Mountain National Forest.

Dawn in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains; Inset: Self photo of Erin at work

Grand Landscape

Since 1998, Erin Paul Donovan has been creating unique and inspirational images that showcase New England’s landscape. He approaches photography from a realist’s point of view and is passionate about creating awareness for land conservation and historic preservation. “As a photographer, I love the variety of photo subjects along the New Hampshire portion of the A.T.,” says Erin. “The peaceful forest scenes, the inspiring waterfalls, and the grand landscape of the Presidential Range, the subject matter is endless. It is an outdoor photographer’s paradise. And the history attached to the A.T. is just as amazing as the scenery.” On a personal level, Erin enjoys meeting other hikers on the Trail in New Hampshire. “Everyone on the A.T. has a unique story. And because I am a local to the White Mountains, I also get to see all the hard work that goes into maintaining the New Hampshire A.T. corridor,” he says. “The creation and the upkeep of the Trail is an impressive accomplishment that inspires me. But what I love most about it is that it brings people from all ages and backgrounds together to enjoy nature.”

Some of Erin’s work is highlighted in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s coffee table book: The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail. In his free time from operating his company, ScenicNH Photography, he explores the White Mountain National Forest.

Dawn in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains; Inset: Self photo of Erin at work


Time and Talent

By Beth Griffin

“Time, talent, and treasure” is a

phrase that is often used in churches, charities, and non-profit organizations such as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) to promote sacrificial giving and acts of service. As an organization of over 6,000 volunteers, 42,000-plus members and donors, and thousands of men and women who came before and upon whose work we continue to build, the ATC truly embodies the ideals of these three simple words.

We have the opportunity to profile just a few of the people whose work combines all the ideals of the words: time, talent, and treasure. Beyond financial support, board, committee, and club service are among the more obvious ways volunteers connect to the ATC. And then there are the unique talents that Stewart Verdery brings our organization.

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A.T. Journeys Video
Thru Hiker Registration

trail stories

The Reluctant Hiker

A determined woman’s grasp on the gravity of the Trail

By Lena Edwards

Lena and Steve with their daughter Trillium, and infant son Silas at Max Patch this past September

My feet were leaden stubs that

dragged my aching carcass one quaking step at a time down the paved half-mile trail that leads from the summit of Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park back to the parking lot. I never felt so tired in my life; and if I looked like I felt, I must have appeared to those around me as Death himself. I remember a chipper, non-perspiring tourist standing somewhere near the visitor center caught my attention. With a sympathetic grin he asked, “Did you just come from the top?” While I may have felt nearly dead, my pride was anything but. “No.” I gasped, “I just came from Siler’s Bald.”

Siler’s Bald is about 5.25 miles down the Appalachian Trail from Clingmans Dome, roughly ten and a half miles as an in-and-out hike. It is also my least-favorite type of in-and-out hike because all the elevation loss occurs during the first half of it. On the return, hikers must summit Mount Buckley before beginning the ascent to Clingmans Dome. Mount Buckley is where I finally broke down. Steve, my loving husband of just nine months at the time and the reason I found myself in this predicament, decided he could no longer walk at such a slow pace and told me he’d meet me back at the car.

Trail Giving

Creating a Lasting Legacy

Tiffany Lawrence and Chris Blosser, director of corporate & foundation relations, accept a recent donation from corporate partner, Northwest Federal Credit Union on behalf of the ATC, from Northwest Federal Credit Union’s “70 Acts of WE” Campaign

As the temperatures turn

colder and the days get shorter, the bright spots in our work at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) come from the countless individuals, companies, and organizations who dig a little deeper each year to help protect the A.T. experience. For thousands of people every season who enjoy the “people’s trail,” our donors play a special role. Whether it’s through a gift to the ATC in the form of an annual membership, a major gift from an individual, or a large corporate contribution, each person and business helps to create something much bigger than themselves. By protecting the mission of the ATC, these special contributors are helping to ensure the protection of the iconic Appalachian Trail for generations to come.

So, as New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, I ask you: What will you be known for when you leave this earth? The most influential people are often noted as the ones who leave behind impactful legacies that live on in the hearts of the people and places they touch with their gifts. As we pass on, physically, we may no longer be part of our communities or the greater society, but our principles, our achievements, our philosophies, and our support of organizations will and can live on—from generation to generation.

So, in 2018, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has made a special commitment to expand our Planned Giving program. We aim to provide more opportunities for our members and supporters to easily incorporate the ATC into their existing or to-be-created legacy and estate planning. With the use of simple documents and access to Planned Giving experts, individuals may wish to think of the ATC in a bigger way. Our Membership and Development team is standing by to help answer questions and assist in this capacity. Bryce, a recent Planned Giving donor, completed a thru-hike in 1996 after his college graduation. This past year, in 2017, after the start of a successful career, he chose to make a gift that will live beyond his lifetime. He chose to include the ATC in his estate plan. We celebrate Bryce and the many others who have chosen to make this commitment. Our organizational endowment, created by these donations, will help to safeguard the future of our organization. To learn more visit:

Tiffany Lawrence / Vice President of Membership & Development

Hudson River from Bear Mountain, New York Photo by Christopher D’Ambrosio

Individual Gifts

$100,000 – $499,000
Estate of Mary K. Gall

$50,000 – $99,999
Rubén* & Valerie Rosales
Greg* & Jan Winchester

$25,000 – $49,999
Samuel Ferguson
Peter R. & Cynthia Kellogg

$10,000 – $24,999
Colin* & Liz Beasley
Norman* & Adrienne Findley
Mary Higley* & Kyran Kennedy
Robert* & Catherine Hutchinson
Nathaniel C. Stoddard*
Betsy* & Bob Thompson
Dudley & Barbara White

$5,000 – $9,999
Kristin Bargmann
Robert W. Becker
Beth Bryan Critton*
Courtney A. Daragan
Glenn S. Harman
Helen J. Hauser
Sandra Marra* & Chris Brunton
Shalom Nickel
Craig MacPherson
The Moxley Family Foundation
David Raymond
Richard & Anna Reller
Thomas Rosato
Mary E. Szpanka

$1,000 – $4,999
Anonymous (2)
Jennifer Adler
Bill & Liz Armstrong
Holly Bevan
Joan Bingham
Susan Brookreson
Walter M. Burnett
Thomas Cary
Kevin Click
Jennifer Pharr Davis*
Lauren Dowling
Suzanne Dunn
Ronald Duwell
Plus Many More

Annual Fund
AT Camp
Next Gen Membership

Trying to locate Ohio section hikers whom I met October 7 in PA (Rtes. 325 to 443 hike NB) for future (spring) PA section hikes. This is Mike from Maine. Your group of 7 included Brian and Eric who I hiked and had lunch with. You may remember my arm injury and the snake eating the mouse. I can help with shuttling and expenses. If you guys are out there you can contact me at: [email protected].

Looking for hiking partner for A.T., PCT, CDT, or Camino or other long trail for leisure thru-hike. Contact Michelle at: [email protected].


Live so close to the A.T. you can smell it, taste, and touch it. Hike on the A.T. minutes from your backdoor in this awe-inspiring mountainside cabin on Burnett Field Mountain between Woody Gap and Jarrard Gap in Suches, GA (the Valley Above the Clouds). Cozy furnished home with 3BR, 2B, located at 3,100-feet elevation for cool summers. Picturesque .79 wooded lot surrounded by USNF. The area is a natural paradise for hikers, bicyclists, hunters, fishermen, and motorcyclists $158,000. Call Flatfeet at: 970-615-7450


Summer 2018 Caretakers Needed for Blackburn Trail Center. Owned and operated by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Blackburn Trail Center is located on the A.T. 12 miles south of Harpers Ferry. Blackburn is a premier stop for A.T. thru-hikers and day hikers alike. It is also used for Trail club meetings, crew work trips, training workshops, and large group rentals. The caretaker’s duties will include: maintaining the Trail Center, Hiker’s Hostel, and campground. Should have experience in offering comfort and company to weary A.T. hikers. Flexibility and ability to get along with wide variety of people a must! Prefer couple with knowledge of the A.T. and hiker’s needs. Stipend offered along with a fabulous summer experience. Dates runs from April 1 through October 31 though there is possibility of growing into full-time position. If interested, send a letter of application, resume, and professional/personal references to: Chris Brunton, P.O. Box 169 Harpers Ferry WV 25425 or email: [email protected]. If you have questions call Chris at: (703) 967-2226.

The ATC is seeking volunteers to help answer Trail information calls at our headquarters office in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. If you are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about hiking and backpacking along the A.T., especially in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Harpers Ferry, we are interested in your help. We are looking for dedicated volunteers to help answer Trail information phone calls (and provide other administrative support) on weekdays. If you are interested contact Jeff Metzger at: [email protected].

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is recruiting for several internship positions for the spring of 2018 including: Public Relations, Social Media, Development Database, Development Events, and Lands Steward. Interns work on a wide variety of projects and tasks including everything from membership and development to conservation. An internship at the ATC is an excellent way to gain a hands-on, work-learn experience in a specific area of interest or field of study. For more information and to apply visit:

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

From left to right: Songbird, Three Ties, Steel foot, Blossom, and Wooly Bear on the Trail in Pennsylvania


sneak out behind a voluminous white cloud as we crest the hill. As our eyes look ahead gasps of wonder escape our mouths. The Trail crosses over a lush green field, which is welcome relief to our tired legs but the beauty of this scene fills us with awe. Naturally, our breathing slows, our steps are lighter and our souls lift and soar. This is what I call “nature therapy.”

As a mom of seven children, it’s no wonder I need therapy of any kind. Currently, I still have five children at home. These five fill my days with strengths and struggles. Four out of the five have special needs that challenge them and myself. Most of the things that I take for granted are very difficult for them. My daughter, (autistic, partial deafness, semi-verbal), struggles with flexibility in her joints but she hikes the Trail and over the rocks and roots like a pro. Yes, she’s fallen down quite a bit, but she gets right back up and continues to push forward bellowing out a song as she goes. That’s why her Trail name is “Songbird.” Although she goes to therapy each week, I believe this is one of the best therapies she can have because when we finally reach our car, not only has she worked her joints, but she’s worked her confidence muscle and the pride she feels at having completed another section shines on her face.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Support the Trail You Love

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