Matt Lembo

June 2020

Matt Lembo lives near the Appalachian Trail, and last year when he noticed that the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) users within his community were putting a prevailing strain on the A.T. corridor he decided to do something about it. Lembo contacted the volunteers at the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC) and began the process of working alongside Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) staff to help ensure that the Trail, and its surrounding landscape, remain protected and true to the Trail’s purpose as a hiking-only footpath.

From there, Lembo became hooked on A.T. volunteerism. He has gone on to become a section maintainer, to which he frequently hikes a relatively remote 1.2 mile section of the Appalachian Trail ensuring the path remains clear of overgrown vegetation. He also works alongside other NYNJTC volunteers during regular corridor monitoring worktrips, where volunteers repair and walk the boundary lines in search of the (sometimes hard to find) survey monuments that mark the boundaries of the A.T. corridor. Lembo explains, “It’s important to know where the land of the A.T. corridor ends so that others are also aware and are able to do the right thing.”

Lembo loves the A.T. for many reasons but if he had to choose one, it would be the connections that the Trail provides; connections to people and connections to the land. He encourages others to get involved because the A.T. needs you. As a young volunteer, Lembo had shown that all a volunteer needs is passion. Garrett Fondoules, ATC Corridor Stewardship GIS Data and Field Technician explains, “It’s refreshing to have a willing and enthusiastic teenage volunteer.”