Nomination of the A.T. to the National Historic Register - Progress Report
By Bob Proudman and Beth Critton
Appalachian Trail clubs in Maine, Ma
ssachusetts, and Pennsylvania have engaged with historians and archaeologists recently to document the nomination of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to the National Register of Historic Places. The draft documentation form—a requirement of the process—was completed in December with 111-pages of A.T.-centered historical scholarship! The National Park Service is now embarked on documenting the state-by-state significance of the Trail.
In 1989, ATC adopted a Policy on Cultural Resources, recognizing cultural resources as an "integral part of the Trail environment." ATC has long known that the A.T. is eligible for the National Register, and encourages NPS and clubs to move forward. Work has been slowly advancing, with technicians from NPS contractor Public Archaeology Laboratory, known as PAL (www.palinc.com
), visiting those three states and working with club experts.
We are impressed by and proud of the knowledgeable guidance the Maine A.T. Club, the A.T. Committee of the Berkshire Chapter of AMC, the Allentown Hiking Club, the Potomac A.T. Club, and the Keystone Trail Association have provided so far to PAL. Other clubs will be invited to participate as the work progresses.
Programmatic Agreements with each state historic preservation office will be negotiated to ensure compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act while allowing for A.T.-maintaining club discretion in traditional management of the ANST. This could be coupled with renewals of state memorandums of understanding that are on-deck in a number of the 14 Trail states.
A host of interesting discoveries about the history of the Trail continue to be refined or made! Here is a challenging quiz for our knowledgeable Trail managers. The answers are found at the end of this issue. Please send any comments or corrections to Bob Proudman.
A.T. HISTORY QUIZ
1. Benton MacKaye’s original proposal was for a 1,700-mile trail connecting Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to which of the following destinations in the South?
a) Signal Mountain in Tennessee
b) Mt. Oglethorpe in Georgia
c) Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina
d) Cohutta Mountain in Georgia
e) Birmingham, Alabama
2. At the first Appalachian Trail Conference at the Raleigh Hotel in Washington, DC, in March,1925, MacKaye predicted that the creation of the Trail could be completed:
a) Within five years
b) Within 15 months
c) Within 12 years
d) Within 15 years
3. The very first six miles of the A.T. building in 1922 between Fingerboard Mountain and Bear Mountain in New York was laid out and installed by the:
a) Appalachian Mountain Club
b) Adirondack Mountain Club
c) New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
d) Mountain-Harriman State Park
4. A number of little-known clubs have been found to have contributed to the construction and maintenance of the A.T. Which of the following are among them?
a) Mt. Greylock Ski Club
b) American Nessmuk Society
c) Maine Alpine Club
d) Metawampe Club
Beth Critton is Chair of the Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations
ATC Adopts Pipeline and Drone Policies
At its May 8 meeting, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Board of Directors adopted two policies that had been developed and recommended by the Stewardship Council:
The Policy on Pipeline Crossings of the Appalachian Trail
states that "ATC will participate, and encourage A.T.-maintaining clubs, individual members, agency partners, and natural resource conservation organizations to participate, in public-review procedures for all pipelines proposed to cross the A.T. landscape" and that ATC will oppose such crossings unless they meet six specific criteria detailed in the policy.
The Policy on Unmanned Aircraft
states that "Except where necessary for approved administrative, scientific, or emergency uses, as authorized by the land managing agency, ATC opposes the use of
unmanned aircraft launched from, or operating over, lands or waters within the boundaries of the
NPS Appalachian Trail corridor or other lands that are administered for the Appalachian Trail."
Leave No Trace Master Educator Course
Blackburn Trail Center
Round Hill, VA
On September 14–18, ATC will run a Leave No Trace Master Educator course exclusively for A.T. clubs and
agency partners. The Master course provides participants with a comprehensive training in Leave No Trace skills and ethics through practical application in a field-based setting.
Over the course of five days, participants will have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the "why" behind the seven principles of Leave No Trace, practice effective and engaging methods of teaching the principles, and explore their personal backcountry ethics among fellow outdoor professionals and A.T. stewards. All graduates of the course will be trained as Leave No Trace Master Educators, qualified to lead Leave No Trace Trainer Courses and Awareness Workshops.
The course will begin and conclude at the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s Blackburn Trail Center, and will include three nights of camping along the Appalachian Trail in scenic northern Virginia. The course will be led by ATC New England Regional Director Hawk Metheny and ATC Northern Resource Manager Marian Orlousky.
How Did You Do?
1. MacKaye’s original proposed destination was c) Mt. Mitchell in NC. However, Signal Mountain, Cohutta Mountain, and Birmingham, AL, were all suggested as “Extensions” or “Branch Lines” at the original March 1925 ATC meeting. At the 1934 meeting of the ATC, the southern terminus was reset to extend about 50 miles further south from Cohutta Mountain to Mt. Oglethorpe, later abandoned in the 1960s due to extensive chicken farming. At that same meeting, Katahdin was set as the northern terminus and the A.T. was initially completed three years later in August 1937.
2. b) Within 15 months. MacKaye may have been deliberately (and strategically) underestimating the time to establish the Trail, so that these groups wouldn’t get discouraged. His goal was to build interest and engagement from the represented organizations and agencies at the conference. It actually took 12 years to complete the initial A.T. with help from the CCC in Maine (August 1937).
3. b) The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), which had been newly established “for the purpose of constructing and maintaining hiking trails in New York’s state park system” and began by cutting the first six miles of the A.T. just west of the Hudson River. Unusual, as the Adirondacks are several hundred miles removed from Bear Mountain.
4. All four Trail clubs were involved in either building or maintaining A.T. sections over the decades:
a. The Mt. Greylock Ski Club maintained the northern stretch of the A.T. in Massachusetts until April 1979 when all of the Mass. section was assigned to the AMC Berkshire Chapter.
b. The American Nessmuk Society maintained 3.5 miles of the A.T. in the vicinity of Applebee Cabin on today’s Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club (BMECC) section. Named after “Nessmuk,” the pen name of George Washington Sears who was a legendary 19th century outdoorsman and outdoor writer. A Narragansett Indian named Nessmuk in Massachusetts taught Sears outdoor skills of fishing, hunting, and camping during his youth. Sears later (1880) commissioned the first lightweight “Nessmuk” canoe—weighing only 17 pounds—out of white cedar so he could explore rivers and lakes alone, a then-unheard of outdoor practice. Sears died in Wellsboro, PA, in 1890, inspiring a generation of outdoorsmen and women who later followed him.
BMECC’s rent for the Applebee Cabin site to a local landowner, who granted the club a 99-year lease, was 12 acorns per year.
c. According to PAL, the Maine Alpine Club built a trail to Goose Eye Mountain in western Maine in the Mahoosucs in 1936. The AMC’s Mahoosuc Range Trail became a part of the A.T. in the 1930s.
d. The Metawampe Club was a faculty outing club at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, later renamed the University of Massachusetts. “Metawampe” was the legendary chief of the Nanotuck Indians who sold land to settlers in nearby Hadley and Mt. Toby. The Metawampe [outing club] maintained the A.T. through central Massachusetts from early 1930s to 1979 when—along with the Mt. Greylock Ski Club—it turned over its central Massachusetts A.T. section to AMC.
Volunteer of the Month
"Leave your other life at home, relax, and enjoy the hardest work you will ever do!” says A.T. crew and club volunteer Sylvia Swain.
“Do not be afraid of the work, no one will expect you to do anything that you can’t do, and it will change your life forever.”
Read more about Sylvia here
2015 ATC Meetings
ATC Biennial Conference
ATC Stewardship Council
ATC Board of Directors