In 2016, shortly after becoming a member of the Carolina Mountain Club (CMC), Paul Curtin assumed his role as CMC’s Appalachian Trail Supervisor. Almost immediately Curtin put his boots on the Trail and took it upon himself to hike the club’s entire 93-mile section of the A.T.. From there, Curtin became involved as a leader of the club’s Asheville Friday Crew; a crew of volunteers who mostly work on trail rehabilitation projects.
For the last two years Curtin has also been instrumental in managing National Trails Day (NTD) events at Max Patch where nearly one-hundred volunteers from three neighboring states have gathered in stewarding a beloved section of the A.T.. A large majority of the volunteers who participated in these NTD events were new to trail maintenance. Curtins exemplary trail work ethic and empathetic group leadership skills are helping to shape and inspire new volunteers to continue their work.
Ron Navik, CMC Trail Maintenance Director explains “Paul sets an excellent example for all the people who are working on projects with him. He is willing to help out on any task and is always checking in with everyone on the crew to see how they are doing and how he can assist”. To further those impacts, Curtin established the Remote Overnight Crew (ROC) where volunteers of all ages and experiences can spend the weekend working on Trail projects that are located in places that may be challenging to reach in a single day. This initiative supports the Trail in seeing more remote locations get greater care while offering new people a unique experience of their own (an overnight on the A.T.) along with their contributions to care for it!
ATC’s program director for volunteer relations Leanna Joyner says, “I love that Paul was recruited by his friend Tom Weaver for this role that is so well suited to him. Paul came on the scene as A.T. Supervisor with a great deal of commitment, and keeps the needs of the A.T. high among the working crews of CMC’s maintenance committee. He offers regular communication with A.T. section maintainers, and has been visionary in trying new ways to engage people in stewardship.”
Curtin does an outstanding job of recruiting, as well as training incoming section maintainers, and he also maintains a section of the A.T. himself. Beyond the Appalachian Trail, Curtin contributes a great amount of his time toward improving the other trails that CMC maintains.
His passion clearly does not stop at the tread of the Trail. Curtin has applied for and received a variety of grants to help with the financing of events and tool purchasing. Curtin is also Vice Chair of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Southern Regional Partnership Committee, which positions him to be Chair of that committee next.