Before her 2007 A.T. thru-hike, Judy McGuire only knew of ATC as the source of hiking maps. After her hike, she began volunteering, putting together map and guidebook sets. She then began working in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Harpers Ferry visitor center, where she enjoys meeting “kindred spirits,” as well as introducing people to the A.T. and helping them find the right hike.
Judy says she has the ideal volunteer job: “I’m working for a cause I’m passionate about, for an organization I respect and support, doing work I love, and working with terrific people.”
Judy volunteers weekly at the visitor center and is a trail maintainer for the Potomac A.T. Club. She is a hiking book editor, gives talks at local REI stores, works on A.T. events, and also is section-hiking the Trail. She served on ATC’s Stewardship Council for seven years and chaired the Landscape and Resource Protection Committee.
“While trail maintenance is satisfying and I love turning people on to the A.T. in the Visitor Center, the most interesting part of my volunteer work has been on the Stewardship Council.” A committee of the Board, it “grapples with substantive problems affecting the Trail. During my time, we have worked on policies on wind turbines, oil and gas pipelines, group and commercial use of the Trail, visitor-use management, climate change, and land stewardship. We also help ATC develop responses to threats to the Trail. Much of my time on the Council has been devoted to working with staff to help ATC meet Land Trust Alliance standards of best practice in managing the thousands of acres of lands it owns outright or holds in easement. Most of the work of the Stewardship Council is totally invisible to the public and often even to the Trail clubs, yet it is vital to preserving and protecting the Trail.”
Stewardship Council Chair Beth Critton says: “Judy has made significant contributions to ATC and the Trail. As chair of the Landscape and Resource Protection Committee, she was a strong and effective leader in developing informed, strategic responses to external threats, and has been a champion for the formulation and implementation of guidelines and protocols for stewardship of ATC land interests. Her hard work and insightful comments have enriched the Council and, through it, the wider A.T. community.