Appalachian Trail Conservancy


By B.T. Fitzgerald and Bob ProudmanB.T. Fitzgerald and Bob Proudman

Trail Care 201
Compliance with Environmental Laws and Regulations

Among the federal laws that we rely on to help protect the Appalachian Trail are the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). These laws are triggered by projects that occur on federal lands, involve federal funding, or require a federal permit. So, they not only apply to development projects that may threaten the Trail, but to many Trail projects undertaken by ATC, the Trail clubs, and agency partners. A.T. sections located on state lands may have similar requirements under state laws.

Digging sidehill along approved flagline (Konnarock Crew)Any activity with the potential to affect or change the natural environment or historic and cultural resources (even undiscovered resources) must be addressed. Activities requiring prior review include digging a new side trail or relocation, constructing a new shelter, privy, or campsite, or installing a new bridge. Basically, anything that changes the “footprint” of an existing facility or will cut into undisturbed soils should be reviewed.

ATC has tailored its policy on management plans and project approvals to aid clubs and regional partnership committees (RPCs) with this planning. Check with your ATC regional office for guidance; Conservancy staff has been trained in these laws and compliance obligations and will assist your club with project planning.

Brent Allen with the NPS Appalachian Trail Park Office and Bob Proudman have prepared this helpful Draft Trail Maintenance and Compliance Table. Comments are welcome—please send them to

Programmatic exclusions for trail and corridor-boundary maintenance that won’t require administrative review are being developed. Project planning instructions and a form to facilitate project approvals also are under development.

B.T. Fitzgerald is Chair of the ATC Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations

 Trail Management Policies

In May of this year, three revised policies were recommended by the ATC Stewardship Council and adopted by the Board of Directors: Review and Approval of Management Plans and Policies, Stream Crossings and Bridges, and Invasive Exotic Species. ATC's Local Management Planning Guide - a cornerstone of the cooperative management system - is being updated to include these revisions and will be posted online soon.

Be Seen - Be Safe

Wear blaze orange anytime you are out working or hiking on the Trail during hunting season. See ATC's 2011 Hunting Season Guide, with summaries of hunting Hiker wearing blaze orange hatseasons for the 14 Appalachian Trail states and links to regulations for each state. On state game lands in Pennsylvania, hunters and nonhunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15–Dec.15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).

More information for hikers and hunters is found on ATC's Health and Safety page.

ATC Tells Families to Take a Hike!

Family HIking DayATC hosted its first Family Hiking Day this fall. Family hikes are an easy way for families to experience the A.T. and for Trail clubs to engage youth. Held on National Public Lands Day and coordinating with the Let’s Move initiative, the next Family Hiking Day will be on September 29, 2012.

Is your Trail club interested in promoting hiking to families? Contact

To help plan family hikes, ATC has provided:
A list of hikes (including easy to moderate hikes suitable for families)
Guidelines for planning a family hike
Games and activities

Boundary Blurb

Land Protection Update
 Carlen Emanuel, Alison Scheiderer, Ralph Protano, Stefan Shapiro, and crews from Frostburg State University and the American Hiking Society spent three weeks on boundaries in Maine this summer, getting rained on, slipping, sliding, and collecting bruises and scrapes, but all worthwhile because 15 miles of boundary were recovered. Alison, Ralph, and Stefan worked much of July and August training volunteers in New England and recovering boundaries in New Hampshire and Vermont. Carlen monitored easements and fee lands in Maryland and worked on a large encroachment on an ATC easement in Virginia.

Intern Scott Justice began developing a geodatabase for ATC-owned lands in Virginia, while intern Austin Keach drafted stewardship plans for two tracts of ATC lands in Virginia. The interns monitored two Virginia fee parcels and resolved an ownership issue through extensive courthouse research.
Stefan in blaze orange on the boundary
In September, Ralph and Stefan worked on boundary recovery with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. More recovery work with Trail clubs in the mid-Atlantic region continued in October.

More than Monuments

Alison facilitated a good collaboration for the NPS corridor lands program (a.k.a. the Boundary Program), working with one A.T. club having eager young volunteers, but no boundary, and another A.T. club that has boundary, but no eager young volunteers.

Monitoring Musings
ATC and the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office are collaborating on National Environmental Protection Act requirements for boundary maintenance and defining boundary maintenance standards. We are working to develop programmatic exclusions for boundary work, streamlining the compliance process while protecting Trail corridor lands.

ATC Land Protection Manager Carlen EmanuelCarlen Emanuel, Land Protection Manager       
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

304-535-6331 ext. 102

A.T. License Plates

230,575 Hours!

5,427  volunteers worked a record 230,575 hours for the A.T. during the 2011 federal fiscal year - equal to more than 110 fulltime employees. Their work included trail maintenance, shelter repairs, removing invasive plants, corridor boundary monitoring,  outreach to students and Trail communities, organizing ATC's biennial conference, leading workshops and hikes, and much more. What an accomplishment!

Policies, Planning,
and the Volunteer

Managing the A.T. through 14 states, 8 national forests, and 6 national parks requires a cooperative effort by ATC, agency partners, and Trail club volunteers. ATC's Volunteer Toolkit has  conservation and Trail-management policies, local management planning guidance,  and other tools for Trail managers. 

Margaret Drummond - 50 years of service

25- and 50-Year
Service Awards

ATC and the National Park Service recognized a special group of volunteers at ATC's biennial conference, including former ATC Board Chair Margaret Drummond (pictured above). We thank them for their hard work and long-term dedication to the Appalachian Trail.

Meet the Stewardship Council

New members have been appointed to the ATC Stewardship Council, which held its first meeting of the term at the end of October. The council, under the continued leadership of B.T. Fitzgerald, advises the ATC on conservation programs and develops Trail management policies. We will have updates on their work in the next issue.
H. Dean Clark - Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

H. Dean Clark had heard of the Appalachian Trail as a young man, but it was reading Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods that really piqued his interest, eventually leading him to volunteer his skills as a photographer. 
More about Dean
Digging sidehill along approved flagline (Konnarock Crew)

Upcoming Events

ATC Open House December 3, from 9 to 5
The ATC Visitor Center; 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 

Great Girl Scout Hike
Hiking the A.T. in "bits and pieces"
beginning March 12, 2012
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 © 2011  |  All rights reserved.