Every year, A.T. volunteer John Tatara dedicates several weeks to the Appalachian Trail. He has great credentials: he has thru-hiked twice, in ’94 and ’97, and is just 468 miles from completing the Trail for a third time as a section hiker.
His A.T. experience is of great value in the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center. Since 1998, he has been on hand for a month each summer – the peak time for thru-hikers – assisting Trail visitors. “John brings exceptional breadth of A.T. experience to his volunteer work,” says Laurie Potteiger, ATC’s Information Services Manager. Whether giving directions to someone planning a day trip or counseling thru hikers, “his multi-faceted A.T. background enables him to provide information and advice about any part of the A.T.”
In addition to his month at the Visitor Center, John spends a few weeks a year helping to maintain and rebuild the Trail. As a volunteer for the Konnarock Trail Crew since 1992, John works on major projects such as trail relocations and bridge/shelter construction. He also oversees several volunteer maintainers for the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.
It takes energy and dedication to complete the A.T. (almost) 3 times; John brings those same qualities to his volunteer work. He sees time given to the A.T. as a way to help others just as he was helped. “Though it may sound like a cliché,” he says, “I want to give back” to the A.T. community and “build a more sustainable trail for generations to come.”