Appalachian Trail Conservancy Launches Search for Next President/CEO

Date Published: Jun 23, 2017

UPDATE: On November 6, 2017, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy named Suzanne Dixon as president and CEO of the organization. Read the full announcement here.

Ron Tipton, President and CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

HARPERS FERRY, W.V. (June 23, 2017) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) Board of Directors has launched a national search for the next President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after Ron Tipton announced his retirement for the end of 2017. ThinkingAhead Executive Search, which specializes in nonprofit leadership recruitment, has been retained to assist in this search process. 

Tipton was instrumental in advancing the organization in a number of significant ways since joining the ATC in 2013, such as leading the development of the organization’s five-year strategic plan. This plan, approved by the ATC’s Board in 2014, provides a critical framework for Appalachian Trail management & protection, fundraising, budget priorities and staffing decisions.

During Tipton’s four years at ATC, the organization has expanded its role in managing the 2,190 mile Trail to address the growing number of long-distance, weekend and day hikers in order to protect the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hiker experience. Other important initiatives include protecting high-priority large landscapes along the Trail and broadening the relevancy of the A.T. to attract young and diverse populations.

 “Identifying the next President and CEO to lead this organization into the future is of the utmost importance to the Board of Directors,” stated Sandra Marra, chair of the ATC’s Board of Directors. “Through Ron’s leadership and guidance, we have both a strong and stable foundation as well as the potential for significant growth and effective change.”

Tipton leaves the ATC in a very strong position. Since 2013, the ATC’s operating budget has increased by 50% to $9.6 million and has grown a full-time staff base from 45 to 60. The ATC also has a membership of over 45,000 members and a vast network of over 6,500 volunteers who contributed 256,000 hours of volunteer time during 2016.

“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve as chief executive of the ATC,” said Tipton. “The Appalachian Trail Conservancy continues to be a strong guardian of the Appalachian Trail with a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. I look forward to remaining involved with the Appalachian Trail and the A.T. community.”

As a volunteer-based organization whose mission is “to preserve and manage the Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come,” the ATC is the only organization dedicated solely to protecting and promoting the world’s most famous long-distance hiking Trail. The ATC provides outdoor recreation and educational opportunities for an estimated three million A.T. visitors each year.

Applicants interested in the President and CEO position should submit a cover letter and resume to ThinkingAhead Executive Search at [email protected] and [email protected]. The deadline for applications is August 15, 2017.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,190 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit  

Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: [email protected]

Leave a comment