By Bob Proudman and B.T. Fitzgerald
As 2012 comes to an end, we want to thank all of you who work to preserve, protect, maintain, and manage the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
We appreciate the dedication of our colleagues in the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and state and local agencies, especially as they work within limited budgets in an uncertain economy.
We particularly recognize and commend the 6,033 A.T. volunteers who reported a record 239,109 hours this year – a tremendous amount of work for the benefit of the Trail and its protected corridor lands and its natural and cultural resources. Your work enables an estimated two to three million people each year to use the Trail and experience its pleasures and challenges.
Whether working or hiking, we hope you are able to get out and enjoy the Trail safely this winter. We look forward to working with you in 2013.
Bob Proudman is director of conservation operations
B.T. Fitzgerald is chair of the stewardship council
Pam Underhill Honored
Retiring Appalachian Trail Park Manager Pam Underhill has been honored by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) with its Stephen T. Mather conservation award. Joy Oakes of the NPCA said “Pam has fought tirelessly to preserve the integrity of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail corridor," and described her as "a forceful and fearless voice for preservation of the natural and cultural resources surrounding the trail…
Pam was unable to attend the presentation ceremony, but expressed her appreciation in a video that can be seen here
The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail
When the weather outside is frightful, you can stay inside and still enjoy the A.T.! This 332-page hardcover book (with 300 photos) by ATC's Brian King (with a forward by Bill Bryson) documents the history, beauty, and significance of the country's most iconic trail. Available online at the Ultimate A.T. Store
or by calling 888-287-8673.
Volunteer Now for the ATC Cullowhee Biennial
Volunteers worked to build the Trail, and they have kept it thriving for 75 years.
Continuing that tradition of service, we seek volunteers to make the ATC Cullowhee Biennial (July 19–26, 2013) a rewarding experience for everyone. Volunteers are needed to lead hikes, greet and register guests, assist with logistics, provide information on activities, and more.
Find out how you can help at appalachiantrail.org/2013Biennial
The ATC boundary staff is looking forward to working with several Virginia Trail clubs in 2013 to improve the protection of the Trail corridor. We hope the enthusiasm exhibited at a summer boundary-training session by members of the Roanoke A.T. Club, Outdoor Club at Virginia Tech, Piedmont A.T. Hikers, and Natural Bridge A.T. Club will help revitalize the program in the region.
In October, ATC staff met with a surveyor from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests regarding stewardship of the lands the National Park Service acquired to protect the A.T. that were then administratively transferred to the Forest. The lands are primarily located in the Trail’s valley crossings in southwestern Virginia, ranging discontinuously from near Dragon’s Tooth in the Roanoke A.T. Club’s section to the town of Damascus and the Virginia/Tennessee state line. It was determined that the narrow A.T. corridor would be best protected if ATC and the Trail-maintaining clubs monitor and maintain the surveyed boundaries of those lands (just as they do other A.T. corridor lands) as the Forest no longer has the capacity to do so.
More than Monuments
ATC will be hiring a second boundary person in 2013!
In pursuit of greater efficiency and less travel time, the boundary program is moving to a regional model. I will be relocating to New Hampshire and working out of the New England regional office, and the new person will work in the Mid-Atlantic region. Look for a job announcement on ATC's website and in The Register
. Until the new boundary person is hired and oriented, please continue to direct all boundary matters to my attention.
Annual corridor monitoring reports from clubs with boundary assignments are due to ATC by February 1, 2013 - make sure your club's A.T. corridor monitor coordinator has your monitoring reports! The current report form can be downloaded from the Boundary Resources page
in the Volunteer Toolkit (www.appalachiantrail.org/volunteer_toolkit
) section of ATC's website.