Bill Murdoch volunteers with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC) and was recognized as their Maintainer of the Year in 2017. Murdoch first visited the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in 1970 with his now-wife, Adair, while they were both college students. Upon graduating with a Chemical Engineering degree in 1973, Murdoch joined Eastman Kodak at their Tennessee Eastman site in Kingsport and became a member of the groups’ Recreation Hiking Club as well as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). Murdoch continued his education while working and went on to earn an MS in Engineering Administration from the University of Tennessee.
By 1980, Murdoch had begun participating in a trail maintenance crew on the A.T. section that runs between Deep Gap and Iron Mountain Gap. He began leading that crew in 1984.
From 1999 until his summit of Katahdin in September 2016, Murdoch was section-hiking large portions of the A.T. in his journey to complete the entire Trail. Murdoch has also regularly participated with the TEHCC’s “Thursday Regulars” crew, which is a standard group of trail maintainers who perform projects such as installing rock cribbing, removing large blowdowns near popular attractions, and repairing trail bridges along the TEHCC’s assigned 134 miles of the Trail. Murdoch’s contributions of his time, funds, and unique talents have impacted the TEHCC in multiple ways.
Amongst the maintainers, he is known as “MacGyver” because of his resourcefulness and rigging capabilities. When a heavy load such as a tree, log, rock, or bridge beam needs to be moved, Murdoch has plans to make it happen. He has also been instrumental in making bridges along the TEHCC section of Trail slip-resistant and his contributions to methods for accomplishing tasks as mundane as removal of graffiti have been of great help. His ingenuity coupled with a drive to engage college-age and younger students in Trail stewardship makes Murdoch’s impacts to the Trail everlasting.
Murdoch retired from Eastman Chemical four years after the TEHCC began tracking volunteer hours in 2000. In the past twenty-one years, Murdoch has contributed 2,247 hours to the Trail and continues to contribute to the Trail in invaluable ways.