Appalachian Trail Conservancy

SidehillBeth Critton and Bob Proudman
Keep the A.T. Fee Free

By Bob Proudman and Beth Critton

Despite ATC’s strong objections, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park implemented a backcountry reservation and permit system in February 2013 that requires all overnight visitors in the backcountry to pay a permit fee of $4 per night. A.T. thruhikers are charged $28 for up to eight nights as they traverse the park. ATC was joined by the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, the American Hiking Society, and others in the opposing this action by the National Park Service.
Concerned that federal and state land managers will continue to impose fees and require permits that risk diminishing the longstanding A.T. traditions that emphasize volunteer efforts and the A.T. backpacking experience, ATC’s Board of Directors adopted a recreational user fees policy in November. The policy was developed by the Stewardship Council’s trail and camping committee, reviewed and endorsed by the four Regional Partnership Committees, and recommended to the Board by the Council.
Now, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park has proposed comprehensive recreation fees for visitors and is asking for public comment through February 22 (see more here). The A.T. traverses 2.2 miles of the C&O Canal towpath.
Some state agencies are following suit, looking for ways to manage state lands without burdening state taxpayers. In 2012, the Virginia Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife instituted a $4 daily fee (or $20 annual pass) for visitors to state wildlife management areas who do not have current state hunting, trapping, freshwater fishing, or boat licenses. About eight miles of the A.T. pass through a popular flower-viewing area of the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in northern Virginia. Hikers passing through that area and Potomac A.T. Club maintainers would be exempt, but not day-hikers parking there.
Approximately one hundred miles of the A.T. cross game lands managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), which has been considering a host of proposals, including requiring permits for nonhunters and closing game lands to nonhunters during peak spring and fall hunting seasons. As we were finalizing this issue of The Register, we learned from the Susquehanna A.T. Club that the permit discussion had been removed from the agenda of the January PGC meeting, due to the volume of messages they had received from individuals and hiking organizations regarding the proposal. The commission’s recent press release can be found here.
Your services as Trail maintainers and land managers are invaluable. And, as indicated above, your voices matter! A.T. volunteers and supporters must speak up and be heard by the land managers.  Please get informed and participate in public processes on issues that affect the Trail and Trail users. We all need to work to support fee-free access to trails.
ATC will transmit its recreational fee policy to state and federal land managers and encourage ongoing consultation with ATC, NPS-APPA, and club advocates for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail—our national park even within other parks—one that is often older, that comes with its own managers and users, and one that has important and inspiring traditions.
Beth Critton is Chair of the Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations

NPS to Recognize Volunteers with 25 and 50 Years of Service
The National Park Service-Appalachian National Scenic Trail Office is seeking the names of volunteers who have actively worked on the Appalachian Trail for 25 years or more (Silver Service award) and 50 years or more (Golden Service award). They will be honored in July at the 2015 ATC biennial conference in Winchester, VA. Since 2001, long-time A.T. volunteers have been recognized by NPS at the biennial conference.

“Active volunteer service" includes all time and effort contributed by an individual for the benefit of the Trail, regardless of the location, not just on NPS-acquired lands. It includes Trail work, boundary monitoring, overnight-site management, local management planning, resource monitoring, Trail assessments, club administration, publications, public service such as leading hikes, ridgerunning, outreach, and more.
Club leaders should submit names.and a brief paragraph about the accomplishments of 50-year awardees. For 25-year awards, only the name needs to be submitted. Nominations should be sent to Angela Walters at by April 3, 2015. Contact Angela by e-mail or at or 304-535-6278 if you need more information on the awards.

Volunteers who have already received gold and silver awards are listed on ATC's Website at
Blistering and swelling caused by frostbite

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. It causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas and most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. It may be superficial, treatable in the field by careful warming, or tissue may be frozen to the extent of causing permanent damage or requiring amputation.
The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures. A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out, because the frozen tissues are numb.
Preventing Frostbite
Keep your face, fingers, toes, and ears protected from cold and wind in frigid temperatures. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Keep dry, dress in layers that can be removed as needed to reduce perspiration, change into dry socks if your feet become wet. Move your face muscles and wiggle fingers and toes as you walk. Use your hands to gently warm cheeks and ears. Moving muscles both improves circulation and lets you know if they are becoming numb.

Recognizing Frostbite
At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:
  • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
  • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • numbness 
What to Do
If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. If immediate medical care is not available, proceed as follows:
  • Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it. This can cause more damage.
  • Warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.
  • Get into a warm place as soon as possible.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.
  • Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
  • Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned. 
Taking preventive action is your best defense. By preparing in advance for winter emergencies, and by observing safety precautions during times of extremely cold weather, you can reduce the risk of weather-related health problems. 
Boundary Blurb
Need to refresh your compass skills? Contact your ATC 
regional staff to schedule a training event for your club!

Happy New Year! Thank you for all that you did to protect the Trail's corridor lands in 2014.

As the Trail clubs are submitting annual boundary report summaries, it is a great time to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of 2014 and to begin planning for the 2015 field season. As you plan the work that your club  would like to accomplish this year, be sure to communicate with your regional corridor stewardship staff so as to best take advantage of the resources that they can provide.
One of the goals for the Mid-Atlantic region is to help provide corridor workshops for all the clubs in 2015, be it to train new volunteers or discuss in-depth issues among seasoned monitors. Please contact me to see when we can plan one.

Ryan Seltzer
Land Protection Associate
ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office

Trail to Every Classroom

Do you know a great teacher who loves the A.T.? Registration is now open for the Trail to Every Classroom 2015 program!

Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) is a unique professional development opportunity for K–12 teachers who want to connect their students with the natural environment and their community, while teaching a rigorous and memorable curriculum that uses the Appalachian Trail as a living classroom. 

TTEC is a program of ATC in partnership with the National Park Service. Click here to download the 2015 application!

Want to hear what TTEC can accomplish? Join us on Feb. 19th at 4:00 pm EST for a Webinar with Janet Steinert, AKA Slow n' Steady. Janet spent 40 years as an educator and administrator before beginning her lifetime dream of thru-hiking the A.T. She will tell her incredible story of how ATC's Trail To Every Classroom program inspired her, how she began the Wilderness Adventures at Whitefield Elementary School in New Hampshire, and how her students were able to follow her during her journey along the Trail.  

To register for the Webinar, e-mail

Hiking through History
2015 ATC Biennial

The 2015 Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Biennial Conference, "Hiking through History," cohosted by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Mountain Club of Maryland will be held July 17-24, 2015 at the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. (Click here to view a video.)

We are seeking volunteers to help with leading hikes and excursions, to help with registration, and many other needs. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete and return this form.
Do You Work with Volunteers? 
Check out ATC's Volunteer Toolkit for advice on recruiting, working with, and recognizing A.T. volunteers.  

Just click on the Volunteer Management button on the toolkit page 

Subscribe to The Register

First published in April 1978, The Register is intended for Appalachian Trail volunteers, their agency partners, and others interested in the stewardship of the Trail. 

Subscribe to The Register (and other ATC newsletters) at  or send a message to with "subscribe" in the subject line and with your first and last name and e-mail address in the body of the message. 

Please forward this issue or provide this information to anyone who might be interested in subscribing. 

Volunteer of the Month

Tom Banks fell in love with the physical beauty of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the A.T. as a Boy Scout.

Being bitten by the “mountain bug” had a stronger impact than being bitten by the swarms of black flies, and within a few years Tom had summited all of the 48 "4,000-footers" in NH.

(Read more about Tom and his work on ATC's Leave No Trace efforts and the Stewardship Council here)


2015 ATC Meetings

Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee
March 20–21
Bowmanstown, PA

New England Regional Partnership Committee
March 21
Hanover, NH

Southern Partnership Meeting
March 2729
Arden, NC

ATC Stewardship Council
May 7
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Board of Directors
May 89
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Biennial Conference
July 17–24
Winchester, VA
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

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