Tom Banks fell in love with the physical beauty of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the A.T. as a Boy Scout. Being bitten by the “mountain bug” had a stronger impact than being bitten by the swarms of black flies, and within a few years Tom had summited all of the states 48 “4,000-footers.” His section-hike of the A.T. began with a week-long trip in the Great Smokies in 1985, and he completed the Trail in 2013.
Since 2011, Tom has volunteered on ATC’s Stewardship Council. He has worked to improve backcountry management along the A.T., minimize human impacts, and train hikers and volunteers in Leave No Trace practices.
Council Chair Beth Critton says, “As chair of the Council’s trail and camping committee, Tom has been an intrepid leader in the development of policies critical to the preservation of the A.T.” Those efforts include the recently adopted policy on Recreational User Fees and ongoing efforts on updating ATC’s group use policy.
A Leave No Trace Master Educator, Tom also coordinated development of Leave No Trace signs and brochures specific to the Appalachian Trail (see downloadable resources at https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/plan-and-prepare/leave-no-trace/).
Tom advises Trail enthusiasts not to wait to be asked to volunteer or wait for someone else to solve problems they identify. “Jump in enthusiastically with both feet. The ATC and the Trail will benefit from your energy.” He says, “It is an honor to contribute something to this iconic National Scenic Trail, beloved by so many.”
Tom has spent more than 30 summers as a ranger with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state parks. He is a board member of the Association of National Park Rangers. A hiking and travel enthusiast, Tom also enjoys rock climbing, lake kayaking, botanizing, and photography.