Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Sidehill - Volunteer Vitality 

B.T. Fitzgerald and Bob Proudman

By Bob Proudman and B.T. Fitzgerald

It’s spring and the Trail maintaining clubs and ATC are at it again, maintaining and protecting our great Appalachian Trail as we have done continuously now for 75 years!
We commend the 5,427 volunteers who dedicated 230,575 hours of their time to the Trail in 2011— the highest number of hours since ATC began making these reports to our federal agency partners. That vital work keeps the Trail open for hikers and protects natural resources and public lands. The number of volunteers was the seventh highest, meaning fewer people did more work. While numbers vary from year to year, recruiting volunteers, particularly future maintainers and club leaders, is crucial to sustaining the Trail for the next 75 years and beyond. 
We look forward to dialogue on this and other issues facing the Trail and our organizations at the volunteer leadership meeting August 10–12. Information has been shared with Trail club leaders—we hope all A.T. clubs will participate.
We also want to commend some of the experts among you: the 432 volunteers currently certified to use chain-saws or crosscut saws on the Appalachian Trail, 143 of whom were certified or recertified in 2011. Make sure your certification is current before using a saw on the Trail. If you need training, want to recertify, or want to advance your skills, see Information for A.T. Sawyers. The certification program, based on a U.S. Forest Service curriculum, provides classroom and field training and teaches best management practices for safe sawing.
For an excellent overview of a club perspective on saw training, check out the article on page 7 of The MAINEtainer entitled “Lester explains MATC Chainsaw Safety Certification requirements.” Those requirements were adopted by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club"s executive committee and endorsed by the club’s Trail overseers for their maintainers. We applaud MATC for its mindfulness of the risks of dealing with saws and timber and for making these club requirements, not simply something imposed from outside.
Stay sharp and saw safe this season.

Bob Proudman is director of conservation operations
B.T. Fitzgerald is chair of the stewardship council

L.L.Bean Grants to A.T. Clubs

ATC is excited to award $23,521 in grants to fifteen Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs this year. The grant program supports the Trail clubs and their volunteers in the vital work of maintaining and preserving the Appalachian Trail.  Primary funding for this program has been provided by outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, Inc., since the late 1980s. The earnings of several ATC endowment funds provide additional grant funds. Grants are awarded by a committee that includes a representative from each ATC regional partnership committee and each regional office. 

A complete list of 2012 projects can be found here


More Ticks in 2012? 

Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis)2012 may be a bumper year for ticks, with an increased risk of contracting Lyme disease and other serious tick-borne illnesses. The mild winter in most of the eastern U.S. may have allowed more ticks than usual to survive the winter. A large crop of acorns in fall 2011 means a corresponding rise in the population of mice and deer that act as hosts for ticks and also provide a reservoir for the organisms that cause illness.

Take precautions to protect yourself: Use the insecticide Permethrin on clothing and insect repellant containing DEET on exposed skin; watch for symptoms;and seek treatment immediately if you develop sypmtoms even if you are not aware of having been bit. The Centers for Disease Control has more information.

Boundary Blurb

Ranger Eric Barron of the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office has provided this flow chart for handling various types of encroachments on National Park Service-Appalachian Trail corridor lands. He also wrote the article below on dealing with unauthorized trails across those lands. Encroachments should be reported to your Trail club's monitor coordinator, ATC (see below), and the Appalachian Trail Park Office. Ranger Barron can be reached at or 304-535-5093.  

Dealing with Unauthorized Trail Encroachments
By Eric Barron, NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office
Unauthorized trails can be a challenge to deal with. Whether they are created for ATVs, mountain bikes, dirt bikes, or foot travel, they all can be treated with similar tactics, though some are easier to address than others. When an unauthorized/illegal trail is discovered, there are a few steps volunteers can take to deal with them:
  • First, note the location and report the encroachment to your Trail club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy land protection staff, and the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office. Check to see if there is any history on the encroachment.
  • Determine whose land the trail is located on and work with the appropriate agency..
(Read full article here.)

Alison ScheidererATC Land Protection Associate Alison Scheiderer
Land Protection Associate    
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


Volunteer Leadership Meeting

August 10-12, 2012
Appalachian Trail maintaining club leaders are invited to attend the Volunteer Leadership Meeting at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. 
Rocky Top Crew

Trail Crew Volunteers Needed

ATC is recruiting. Crew season is underway! Apply now for to join one of our volunteer trail crews
Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia all have A.T. license tags. Show your appreciation for the Trail and support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy by ordering specialty plates.  
High Fire Danger
Spring Fire Season -  recent precipitation has decreased fire danger to moderate along much of the Trail, but A.T. volunteers should check for improperly extinguished fires at shelters and campsites. Inform hikers of any burn restrictions and recommend the use of backpacking stoves instead of open fires.
The Great Girl Scout Hike - 100 Years of Girl Scouting

The Great Girl Scout Hike

The Girl Scouts are hiking the A.T. in bits and pieces this year. Find out more or get your A.T. club involved at

Philip Royer - April 2012 Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

Philip Royer, ATC Stewardship Council member and Deep South Regional Partnership Committee chair, was introduced to the A.T. by his younger brother. “He and I started backpacking in the Smokies in the early 1970s, and I recall the feeling of wonder reading the A.T. trail sign at Newfound Gap about a trail that went all the way from Georgia to Maine.” (Read more about Phil here)

Upcoming Meetings

ATC Board of Directors 
May 19
Shepherdstown, WV

Stewardship Council 
August 9-10
Shepherdstown, WV

Volunteer Leadership Meeting
August 10-12
Shepherdstown, WV
The Register  is published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for the volunteers of the Appalachian Trail, their agency partners, and others interested in the stewardship of the Trail.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trailensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. To become a member, volunteer, or learn more, visit
Our mailing address is:
ATC Headquarters
799 Washington St, PO Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Copyright © 2011  |  All rights reserved.