Jim LaTorre

January 2021

After retiring from his thirty-nine year career as a partner of the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jim LaTorre was pleased to bring both his professional expertise and his previous experiences having served on the boards of various other non-profit organizations to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as a member of the Board of Directors. For the past three years now, LaTorre has been volunteering hundreds of hours each year as the board’s Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee.

Through his term on the board, LaTorre became more acquainted with all the ways in which volunteers from Maine to Georgia directly contribute to maintaining and preserving the nation’s first National Scenic Trail on the ground. LaTorre explains that even before becoming a board member, “I always knew that the mountain trails, meadow walks, and creek crossings did not appear out of thin air.  Like-minded people put in the sweat equity to ensure all could enjoy them.”

Ever since becoming a volunteer trail maintainer with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club in 2019, LaTorre spends mostly every Thursday working alongside fellow maintainers to ensure that not only the Trail’s draining structures remain clear of debris to help in preventing erosion, but he also participates in corridor monitoring excursions. LaTorre explains, “Using GPS coordinates, the goal is to find the boundary monuments that mark the perimeter of the conserved land that the Appalachian Trail runs through and ensuring that there are no encroachments. Several crew members will bushwack through thickets looking for monuments, while others will be tasked with freshening the paint that marks the witness trees.” LaTorre goes on to explain that he was certainly unsure of what all of that meant before his first boundary monitoring but he quickly caught on thanks to the leadership of more experienced corridor monitoring volunteers.

Next year, LaTorre hopes to finish his thru-hike of the A.T. which he had started in 2020 but had cut short due to the pandemic. He explains, “It was the hardest decision that I ever had to make. I was caught up in the adventure of a lifetime and it all felt like a mental bubble. You could not see a pandemic or a germ but by the time I got to Hot Springs, NC my bubble burst. I came face to face with the reality of the situation after asking a young hiker what her plans were and she responded by saying ‘I’m leaving the trail today. It is the right thing to do.’”  When asked if LaTorre had any words of advice for future thru-hikers he stated, “Hike smart. The pandemic is not behind us, we all have a responsibility to the people that we come into contact with and it is in all of our best interests to listen to what ATC, as well as state and federal agencies, have to tell us. It is all good medicine. It will not remove the joy of the Trail because that will always be there but it will make the Trail a little safer for us all.”