2012 Budget, Overnight Limits-of-Stay, and Trail Reassignments
By B.T. Fitzgerald and Bob Proudman
At its first meeting in late October, the 2011–2013 Stewardship Council tackled a host of issues, some of which are highlighted here. The council report has information on these and other discussions.
Conservation Director Laura Belleville gave a sobering overview of the Conservancy’s 2012 budget. While there are no plans to reduce staff, some vacant and proposed positions will not be filled. Further, the council is planning to hold a single meeting in 2012, instead of its usual two, to cut costs. The work of the council's committees will continue via conference calls and electronic communications.
One of the council’s four committees—Regional Partnerships and Volunteer Development—is proposing a club leadership meeting, similar to the meetings of A.T. club presidents that were held from1985 to 2002. The RPC representatives to the council are working with clubs and others to organize a gathering in 2012.
The council unanimously endorsed a maximum-stay-limit of four nights at A.T. shelters and designated campsites. The issue was discussed at three of four Regional Partnership Committee meetings and supported by the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office. The purpose would be to reduce vagrancy, panhandling, and potential crimes at overnight sites along the Trail. ATC staff will work with NPS-ATPO to urge agency partners, particularly the U.S. Forest Service, to establish such stay limits.
The Trail and Camping Committee discussed a reservation and permit plan proposed by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and agreed with ATC Southern Regional Director Morgan Sommerville’s recommendation that ATC should oppose the plan. ATC later submitted comments to the Park stating its objections.
New England Regional Director Hawk Metheny reported that a 22-mile section of the A.T. in eastern Vermont has been reassigned from the Dartmouth College Outing Club (DOC) to the Green Mountain Club (GMC). This reassignment, worked out by the two affected clubs, gives GMC responsibility for all of the Trail in Vermont and allows DOC to focus its Trail management efforts on the section between the Dartmouth campus in Hanover and the college’s property on Mt. Moosilauke. In a related matter, the council adopted some minor amendments to its policy on assignment of A.T. Club Maintenance Responsibilities, which will be posted on the ATC Website.
B.T. Fitzgerald is Chair of the ATC Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations
Remembering Thurston Griggs
Founding editor of The Register, Appalachian Trail ridgerunner (until age 90), and staunch advocate and defender of the Trail, Thurston Griggs passed away in October at 94. Among his many contributions to the Trail, he served on ATC's Board and as an officer of the Mountain Club of Maryland, a representative to the Maryland A.T. Committee, and a Trail maintainer for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, as well as doing ground work to help the state of Maryland protect Trail lands.
A few weeks ago, I participated in a hike in celebration of Thurston's life, hosted by his son Pierce, on the Thurston Griggs Trail, an A.T. side trail in Maryland that he was instrumental in creating. His impact on the Trail will long be felt.
More on Thurston is on ATC's In Memoriam web page and will be in the January/February issue of Appalachian Trail Journeys magazine.
Apply now - L.L.Bean Grants to A.T. Clubs
This year, ATC awarded Appalachian Trail clubs more than $27,000 for projects that included installing a bear box, purchasing maintenance tools, and rehabilitating privies and shelters, including re-siding the Thomas Knob Shelter (photo courtesy of the Mount Rogers A.T. Club). L.L.Bean, Inc. has been the primary sponsor of ATC's grant program since the late 1980s. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request a 2012 application form. The deadline is February 15.
Nominate a Volunteer
Most Appalachian Trail volunteer managers know about the volunteer recognition programs that provide awards for hours and years of service. ATC has other ways to highlight the achievements of extraordinary A.T. volunteers, including our volunteer of the month profile—honoring volunteers who have gone above and beyond for the A.T. Many of those profiled are club leaders and long-time maintainers, but some have provided other services for the Trail—including editors, photographers, or A.T. ambassadors. Volunteer profiles are permanently archived on ATC’s website. If you’d like to nominate a great volunteer (or volunteers!), e-mail email@example.com. To see some of the ways ATC recognizes volunteers, go to http://www.appalachiantrail.org/get-involved/volunteer and check out the links under the "Volunteer" tab on the left.
Land Protection Update
Carlen has been travelling to New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia monitoring ATC easements and maintaining ATC fee lands. She continues to work to resolve several encroachments on ATC Lands.
Ralph and Stefan have assisted the Wilmington Trail Club with boundary maintenance and worked on an encroachment with the AMC–Connecticut Chapter. They have been compiling field information and entering data into the program’s digital management system. Alison has been recording and analyzing monitoring and encroachment data and working with the NPS-A.T. Park Office (ATPO) to develop program protocols. The boundary program held a field workshop and boundary orientation program for ATPO staff in early December.
More than Monuments
For the second year, ATC sponsored a children’s story hour for the Harpers Ferry’s Merchants Association’s Old Tyme Christmas. ATC employees read holiday stories to as many as 50 enchanted children and adults at a time. The event is held inside the restored Victorian train station in Harpers Ferry.
revised encroachment flow chart was approved by the Boundary Task Force and will be distributed to Appalachian Trail Club boundary managers. The encroachment reporting methodology will be finalized in early 2012.
Carlen Emanuel, Land Protection Manager
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
304-535-6331 ext. 102