Moe Lemire, trail name “Storm”, completed a northbound thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2016. He explains “The amount of kindness I experienced on the Trail … helped me to reinstate my faith in humanity.” Lemire summited Katahdin on September 21 and by October 15 he was volunteering as the Chair for the Appalachian Trail in Orange and Rockland County in southern New York stating that he felt ethically responsible to help protect and preserve the Trail for future generations of hikers.
Each year, during peak hiker season Lemire “thru-hikes” the 37.5 miles of Trail that he oversees. During these hikes he encourages the passing class of thru-hikers to become volunteer stewards by giving them the opportunity to paint their first white blaze or by handing them a pair of loppers and teaching them to trim back overgrown vegetation on the sides of the Trail. Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Natural Resource and Land Stewardship Manager, Ryan Seltzer states that “ If you spend a day with Moe in the field, you will walk away feeling empowered and will share in his enthusiasm.”
Lemire is passionate about providing inclusive opportunities. Lemire explains “Inclusion is very important to me. As a gay man I felt that I was never an athlete or very good at sports. I was told that because of who I was I could not or should not do these things. Hiking all 2,189 miles of the AT in 2016 I now call myself an athlete. I strive to tell anyone who wants to hike that they should hike regardless of what others or society tells us.” He enjoys sharing his contagious enthusiasm for the protection of the Trail and its valuable resources with people from all walks of life. Lemire is currently advocating a safer hiker crossing of the Palisades Parkway and working with partners to address encroaching ATV use within the Appalachian Trail corridor and on the footpath itself.
Lemire has also been attending the annual Trail Day Festival in Damascus, VA educating hikers on the spirit of the Appalachian Trails cooperative management system and the important impacts of volunteering. Lemire goes on to explain that the key strength of the Trail lies in its volunteers. He encourages those interested in volunteering and reading this to share your ideas on how you would like to become involved, because the Trail needs you.