Mike Bowman began volunteering with the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club (CVATC) in 2015 as a participant of their weekly boundary maintenance work days that were led by the club’s long standing corridor monitoring extraordinaire, Gini Maus. Around this same time, Maus was in need of reducing her commitment and Bowman decided to take his responsibilities even further by stepping up to help Maus with the coordination of CVATC’s A.T. Boundary Monitoring Program.
Bowman’s work ethic of being organized, hard working, and thorough makes him well suited for quickly wrapping his head around the complexities of the A.T. corridor in the Cumberland Valley. More importantly, his cordial nature makes him a natural at creating important relationships with neighbors, an important task when handling encroachment issues on a section of the Trail that traverses through highly dense population areas.
In order to properly ensure the protection of the Trails boundaries from the threats of external encroachments and due to extreme pressures from invasive plant species, CVATC volunteers must hike and maintain their designated thirty-eight miles of boundary each year. Bowman continues to host CVATCs weekly boundary work days, and has a dedicated group of volunteers that join him each time – including Maus.
Bowman was also eager to embrace and study a newly piloted online boundary monitoring report program that helped to locate boundary monuments as well as streamline data collection. ATC’s Natural Resource & Land Stewardship Manager, Ryan Seltzer explains “[Bowman] is the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it!”. Bowman now also serves as a representative for the CVATC on ATC’s Regional Partnership Committee and is retired from the US Army.
In addition to his work with corridor monitoring, this year Bowman has also taken on the responsibility of mowing the entire CVATC Trail section – using a walk-behind mower! Seltzer explains that in order to keep the grasses and vegetation from overtaking the footpath, the Trail needs to be maintained on a routine basis and it is a very demanding task. Seltzer also mentions that “[Bowman] is always up for the challenge. Everytime I see him, even if it is after mowing three-miles in 99 degree weather, he has a smile on his face!” When Bowman is not out on the Trail or monitoring its corridor, he can be found running a weekly auction or traveling across the country for his next hiking adventure.