Jim Foster

August 2012

Jim Foster “caught a bad case of the hiking and backpacking bug” and left his job to thru-hike the A.T.in 2007. He had begun volunteering for the Cumberland Valley A.T. Club in 2005 and became club president in 2009. He maintains a one-mile section of the Trail and leads hiking and backpacking trips. 

ATC Landscape Protection Coordinator Kim Williams says, “He has passionately served not just as a leader for the club, but as a conservation and trails leader for the region. Jim is extremely innovative in his approach to new projects and outreach associated with the Appalachian Trail.” 

The club recently installed a new Trailhead that replaced an unofficial parking spot and mud pit on A.T. land. Jim orchestrated in-kind donations, local community grants, and a dedication event in May that included hikes for children and a hike led by a local official. 

Jim also volunteers with the A.T. Museum in Pine Grove Furnace State Park and helped develop the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame. He chairs the Hall of Fame and banquet committees, and maintains the computers that hold the hiker photo database, hiker videos, and multi-media presentations. 

“Volunteering unites people of different ages and backgrounds under the common purpose of preserving the Trail that we all love,” Jim says. “Probably the biggest challenge for all trail organizations is how to recruit and keep the interest of younger volunteers…. Social networking sites are one of the best ways to reach them. We need to enhance our websites and use tools like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Meetup groups.”   

Focus on those outreach tools is paying off—Jim says the club’s partnership with a Meetup.com hiking group has resulted in many new club members and volunteers, particularly young people.