The Register

Stewardship Newsletter of the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy

2019: A Banner Year for Boots on the Ground

A.T. Clubs undertook a number of superior accomplishments in 2019, here’s a look at significant achievements by A.T. clubs in 2019. 


Trail Club Success in Retention and Recruitment

A.T. maintaining clubs are engines of civic engagement along the eastern seaboard. Their work doesn’t begin and end with digging in the dirt; it extends to project planning and the ever-essential aspects of volunteer coordination, centered in sociology and human resource management. What exactly motivates volunteers to join a work trip, and how do club leaders encourage those new attendees to return?


Tips for Volunteer Recognition

Sometimes a simple thank you does not seem like enough, but small recognitions of appreciation can make big differences. Read more here.

Advocacy Update

Obstacles arise everyday that threaten the Appalachian Trail. Join ATC’s Director of Federal Policy and Legislation, Brendan Mysliwiec for an online webinar about actions to protect the Trail, its resources, and surrounding landscape. Register for this webinar and visit the ATC Advocacy page for advanced information.

Trail Safe! Challenge 2020

Trail Safe! offers practical lessons in field leadership for A.T. volunteers, and the start of 2020 begins with competition! Volunteers who are among the first 25 to complete all 8 videos will receive a special gift along with their course completion pin and card. Read more...

Guthook App Free Download for Volunteers

Thank you for all you do for the Appalachian Trail! Our friends at Atlas Guides (who produce the Guthook mobile phone application for the A.T.) would like to provide their app free of charge to the stewards of the Trail. Eligible volunteers are individuals who have volunteered at least an equivalent of 4-days (~20 hours) on the A.T. in 2019.  Apply for your copy by February 14 , 2020. 

Volunteer Spotlights


Jan Onan: Jan received the Distinguished Service Award by Carolina Mountain Club (CMC) at the club’s membership dinner in October 2019. Read her story here.


Russ Waldie: Waldie has been a volunteer steward of the Appalachian Trail with the Appalachian Mountain Club's- Connecticut Chapter, A.T. Committee for twenty-seven years. Read his story here.

Planning Volunteer Events for 2020

A.T. Clubs and Communities are encouraged to team-up now to capitalize on special events centered on service in 2020. Centering activities around these dates help catalyze greater impact because they leverage expanded promotional networks. 
  • Earth Day 50th Anniversary: On or around April 22
  • National Volunteer Week: April 19-25
  • National Trails Day: June 6
  • National Public Lands Day: Sept. 26
  • Opt-Outside and Opt-to-Act: Nov. 27
View recent training on planning and promoting events. 

A.T. Management Through Regional Hubs

There are four Regional Partnership Committees (RPCs) organized by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, clustered by geography that draw A.T. maintaining clubs and some participation from A.T. Communities, as well. The RPCs serve as communication links between clubs, ATC and agency partners, and the forum serves as a means of advising ATC staff and Stewardship Council on Trail management issues and policies. For instance, recent fall RPC discussions included: backcountry food storage, human waste disposal, and volunteer training, among other things. 

Monica Aguilar from AMC-Berkshire joined an RPC meeting for the first time in Oct. 2019.  She explained her experience this way, “Meeting with other organizations allowed me to learn about the common issues faced on the A.T. as well as the unique ways of addressing the issues. I felt empowered to take ideas and advice that I had learned during the New England RPC and apply it to the Berkshire Maintainers Committee. I also enjoyed seeing more younger members there advocating for preserving and maintaining the Appalachian Trail.”

Here’s a quick decision tool designed to help you see if attending a Regional Partnership Committee session is right for you.

Trail-Focused Events and Trainings

February 19 at 7:00 PM: Hot Springs: an A.T. Community Story Web Panel with the Community Research Coordinator for ATC's Southern Region

February 27 at 12:00 PM: A.T. Cooperative Management Call with ATC/APPA

March 4 at 12:00 PM: Advocacy Lunch and Learn with ATC's Director of Federal Policy and Legislation

March 14: NERO-RPC | Hanover, NH 

March 14-15: Southern Partnership Meeting | Marion, VA 

March 20-22: MA-RPC and A.T. Community Summit | Newton, NJ 

A.T. Vista 2021

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference hosts the first-ever A.T. Vista at SUNY- New Paltz August 6-9, 2021. This 4-day weekend event celebrates the 100th anniversary of Benton MacKaye's 1921 article, “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning”and the host’s centennial. Offer to help out or find out more about 2021 at the official website: AT Vista. Interested in hosting a future VISTA? There are resources on this page.

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