Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Volunteer Leadership Meeting

In August, 85 people, most of them volunteers from 28 of the 31 Trail-maintaining clubs, attended the Appalachian Trail Volunteer Leadership Meeting. Cosponsored by ATC and the National Park Service–Appalachian National Scenic Trail office, the meeting was held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. 

Presentations and workshops included “Cooperative Management 101,” safety and operational awareness, volunteer service agreements (required for volunteers on federal lands), managing visitor use, working with youth, and volunteer retention and development. The meeting also featured a plenary session on developing agreements to spell out the responsibilities that each Trail club has accepted for its Trail section. An MOU template has been developed by the Partner Communications and Resource Committee of the ATC Stewardship Council and ATC staff to serve as a starting point for discussions about those roles and responsibilities.

Attendees at leadership workshop
Volunteer leadership workshopFive members of ATC’s Next Generation Advisory Council brought energy and thoughtful insights on inviting and encouraging young people and underserved populations to become Trail users and future volunteers and supporters. Gayle Hazelwood, Senior Urban Program Manager for the National Park Service, was the keynote speaker on Saturday evening and participated on a Broader Relevancy panel discussion with Next Generation members.

Newer Trail club leaders were particularly encouraged to attend to learn more about the management of the Appalachian Trail and the resources available to the clubs and their volunteers. Many of the new and returning volunteers expressed appreciation for the information they received and for the opportunity to interact with their peers and other Trail managers.

We look forward to another gathering of volunteer leaders in 2018 and will incorporate suggestions from this year's participants.

Volunteer Effort - By the Numbers

6,488 volunteers
256,689 hours

ATC has tabulated its annual report of volunteer hours for the federal fiscal year that ended September 30. The numbers above are the third highest number of volunteers and the second highest numbers of hours we have received since we began compiling these reports.

The work reported includes time spent working on the Trail and its corridor lands, inventorying Trail assets, managing invasive species, providing education and outreach to hikers, and off-Trail work, such as Trail-club management, working with schools and local communities, planning and leading hikes and events, responding to threats to the Trail, traveling to and from work sites, and much more.

The time contributed by A.T. volunteers is equal to about 124 full-time workers. Using the average value of volunteer time of $23.56 from Independent Sector (, their work could be valued at $6,047,593.

The substantial contributions of volunteers to the maintenance, management, and preservation of the Trail are gratefully acknowledged!

ATC Launches #myATstory Video Series
ATC recently released the first video in the #myATstory series, a campaign aimed at documenting personal stories that capture the A.T. experience. The first video, "Trail Brothers," features the story of Derick, who quit his NYC life to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and later shares the experience with his brother Carlos.

As part of the #myATstory campaign, ATC is reaching out to individuals who have their own A.T. story to share. Entries can be submitted in a number of formats (audio, video, written material, physical works, photography, painting, artworks). And, there are prizes! 

For more information and to enter your story in the contest, see our website.

Hunting Season Safety

As you head out for fall work trips, be aware of hunting seasons for your location. Seasons vary by the type of game being hunted and the method for hunting them. 

On state game lands in Pennsylvania, all hunters and non-hunters 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 to Dec. 15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).

Wearing blaze orange, and making your presence known by talking, singing, or whistling are recommended. Take the opportunity to speak to hikers who may be unfamiliar with hunting and unaware of local regulations and seasons. 

High Fire Danger and Fire Bans

Extended drought combined with recently fallen leaves and pine needles create high fire danger.  In Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, campfires along the A.T. have spread out of control and required firefighters to extinguish them.

Due to extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast, campfire ​bans are in place until further notice in the following locations:
Chattahoochee National Forest (A.T. in Georgia)
Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests (A.T. in North Carolina)
Cherokee National Forest (A.T. in Tennessee)

Restrictions on the use of portable stoves exist in some areas; check the links above for specific details. Where backpacking stoves are allowed, use extreme caution. 

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy strongly recommends no campfires along the entire Appalachian Trail and at A.T. campsites or shelters from Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia, north to Damascus, Virginia. 

Toolkit for Trail Clubs

A.T. club managers and volunteers - this web page is for you! 

From back issues of The Register  to a maintainer reference library, ATC policies, local management planning, information on managing volunteers, and more—the Toolkit is the best place to find resources quickly.

Share the Wealth...

...of information found in The Register. 

The Register is intended for Trail volunteers and managers. It began as a printed newsletter, then moved online, and is now emailed monthly. The image above is from the April 1978 inaugural issue. Email issues are posted in the Trail Club Toolkit and can be found here.

Please forward this issue to Trail maintainers and anyone interested in the stewardship of the Trail and encourage them to subscribe by sending their first and last names and email address to


See the first video in ATC's series documenting personal stories that capture the A.T. experience.

For more information or to submit your story, click here

Volunteer of the Month

Jim Fetig is a man with a mission—to do everything he can to protect and preserve the Appalachian Trail.

As a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club volunteer, he oversees a Trail section in Shenandoah National Park, works with the Hoodlums trail crew, coordinates the club’s ridgerunner program, serves as public affairs chair, and helps with fundraising. 

Jim also volunteers at the ATC visitor center in Harpers Ferry and does presentations and workshops on various aspects of hiking.  

(Read more about Jim here

2017 ATC Meetings

Southern Regional Partnership Committee
March 10-12
Black Mountain, NC
New England Regional Partnership Committee
March 18
Hanover, NH

Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee

ATC Stewardship Council
May 4-5
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Board of Directors
May 5-6

Maine 2017 Biennial Conference
August 4-11
Waterville, ME

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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