Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Thank You, Maintainers! 

Beth Critton (far right) and friends on Siler Bald - 2013 Biennial

Beth Critton (far right) and friends on Siler Bald - 2013 Biennial

It's hard to believe that a month has passed since the biennial conference at Cullowhee, NC. Although I had a chance to thank Lenny Bernstein (who chaired the conference steering committee) and some other volunteers in person, I was not able to thank all of the many maintainers who participated in the biennial or who made an extra effort to be sure that trails were shipshape for the many hikes offered. The sections of A.T. from Winding Stair Gap to Fontana Dam that I hiked were in superb condition, with freshly cut blowdowns, recently trimmed vegetation, and other signs of ongoing care.

On one hike, our group was fortunate to have as our leaders the maintainers of a portion of the section we were hiking. Their pride and dedication were inspiring. While there was much to celebrate on the hike, we saw several signs that had been vandalized by graffiti and shared the maintainers’ frustration and outrage at this form of apparently increasing (and pointless) narcissism. We also traversed a section of the Trail that currently has no assigned maintainer. Although still beautiful and passable, nettles were aggressively invading the footpath, making clear that the task of maintenance is never finished. Maintainers are truly the stewards of the A.T. in a most immediate and tangible sense.
As Stewardship Council chair, in the months ahead I hope to continue the excellent work of B.T. Fitzgerald and previous Council chairs and members to listen to your ideas and respond to your issues and concerns.
In addition, Bob Proudman and I want to make The Register more responsive to, and reflective of, your interests. We would like to tap into The Register’s potential for sharing what works and what doesn’t work in the field, and for finding answers to your questions. Please send any thoughts you have about The Register to
Beth Critton is Chair of the Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations

Inspect Your Hardhat

Hardhats have a useful life of two to five years, and the suspension system may need to be replaced after only a year or two of service.
The shell should be routinely inspected for dents, cracks, nicks, and gouges. It should not be used if it shows signs of wear or damage, or if the shell material becomes stiff, brittle, faded, appears dull or chalky, or shows signs of flaking.
Perform this simple inspection to make sure yours is still up to its vital job – protecting your head from falling objects:
  • Remove and clean the suspension system and headband.
  • Inspect the suspension system closely for cracks, cut or frayed straps, torn headband or size adjustment slots, loss of pliability, or other signs of wear. Remove and replace any suspension system that is damaged.
  • Clean the shell as needed with mild soap and warm water. Do not use solvents or abrasives.
  • Compress the shell from both sides about one inch with your hands and then release the pressure. The shell should return to its original shape quickly, exhibiting elasticity. Compare the elasticity with that of a new shell. If the shell being tested does not have as much elasticity as the new shell, or if the shell cracks, it should be replaced immediately.
Information on storing, maintaining, and inspecting hardhats can be found in ATC's Trail Maintainers Library by clicking the Reference Materials button on ATC's Volunteer Toolkit page:
"Empowered. Excited. Energized. This is how I feel after attending the TTEC summer institute."
"The TTEC program has given me the insight and ability to teach from my heart again."
"This was the best professional development opportunity in my ten years of teaching."

Those comments were made by teachers who attended a week-long summer institute held in July at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. Developed by ATC, NPS, and USFS staff, the institute focused on curriculum development, using the A.T. as a method for engaging students in service-learning. There were also  opportunities for backpacking, grant-writing, and natural-world observation.
The teachers, all part of this year's cohort in the Trail To Every Classroom program, participate in a series of three workshops throughout the year. They develop curricula tailored to their disciplines and student age levels, receive guidance regarding common core standards in education, and become actively engaged in understanding the connections the Trail brings to their schools and their communities. 
Check out the TTEC blog to hear more from the teachers.
Boundary Blurb 
Several workshops for both new and experienced corridor monitors have been scheduled this fall. They will provide training for volunteers in boundary monitoring, maintenance, and encroachment mitigation and will cover questions on survey map interpretation, compass navigation, and protocol.

Saturday, August 31: ATC and the Roanoke A.T. Club will host a corridor training workshop in Catawba, VA
Saturday, October 19: the AMC-Connecticut A.T. Committee will host an advanced  maintenance and monitoring workshop.

Saturday, November 9: the Mountain Club of Maryland will host a workshop in Carlisle, PA. 
Contact your club corridor monitor coordinator for more information about the trainings listed above. If your club is not on this schedule, contact us to set up a training, refresher, or advanced corridor workshop in your area!
ATC Land Protection Associate Alison Scheiderer
Alison Scheiderer
Land Protection Associate
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
New England Regional Office

ATC Biennial Conference
Shenandoah 2015

Planning is underway for the next ATC Biennial Conference to be held at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. 

If you would like to conduct a workshop, give a presentation, or suggest a speaker or topic, please visit this link to fill out a very short form:


ATC Membership Drive
Join us for our 2013 Membership Drive and help protect the Appalachian Trail!

Watch the inspiring film Appalachian Impressions, receive a one-year membership and have the opportunity to hear from people who have hiked the Trail and those who volunteer to protect and maintain it.

Prizes such as water bottles, hats, and an ATC ENO Hammock will be awarded. Click here for more information.

Family Hiking Day

On Saturday, September 28 (National Public Lands Day),  ATC invites families to take a hike on the Appalachian Trail!

Guidance on planning family-friendly hikes, games and activities, and more can be found at

A.T. clubs who want to host family friendly hikes on their Trail sections can post hike information there as well. 

Volunteer Toolkit

A.T. club leaders, Trail volunteers, and others interested in Trail management will find a wealth of information at

You'll find tips for maintainers, resources for club leaders, ATC policies, guidance on local management planning, sawyer certification workshops, corridor boundary resources,  and more.

Information on inspecting and caring for hardhats has been posted in the Trail Maintainers' Library - click the Reference Materials button in the Volunteer Toolkit.

Fall Trail Crews

Fall is a great time to join an ATC crew. 

The Rocky Top Crew (based in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) and the Mid-Atlantic Trail Crew (based near Carlisle, PA) run through mid-October and are looking for volunteers.

Check them out and apply online at

Volunteer of the Month

Norman Sykora has served the Natural Bridge A.T. Club and the Trail for more than 25 years. A certified chain-saw and crosscut sawyer, Norman has plenty of opportunities to showcase his Trail-clearing skills, especially after severe weather events such as last year's derecho.

He and his wife Jinx maintain a section of the Trail over Cold Mountain in central Virginia, enjoying and keeping open the expansive views where livestock once grazed.

Read more about Norman here.


2013 Meetings

Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee
October 26
Linglestown, PA

Central/Southwest Virginia Regional Partnership Committee
October 26
Buena Vista, VA

Southern Regional Partnership Committee
October 26
Asheville, NC

ATC Stewardship Council
October 31 - November 1
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Board of Directors
November 1-2
Shepherdstown, WV

New England Regional Partnership Committee
November 23
Location TBD

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 © 2013  |  All rights reserved.