Rita Hennessy began hiking the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) as a teenager in Connecticut and later served as an A.T. Ridgerunner for three years. She is an ATC life member and has completed the 14 State Challenge. She held a 30-year career with the National Park Service, where she served as Recreation Specialist and then Assistant Superintendent of the A.T. for 18 years. Rita completed her career as the National Park Service Program Lead of the National Trails System and Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Rita currently serves as the Vice President of Jefferson Growers, Artisans and Producers Coalition with a focus on sustainable food systems, the creation of a local food hub, and USDA farm-to-school initiatives. She is a Master Gardener and an instructor for the West Virginia Master Naturalist program.
Rita holds a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Resource Management from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in Community Change and Civic Leadership from Antioch University. She lives with her husband, Sean, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.