Ron Dobra joined the Maine A.T. Club (MATC) in 1989 after thru-hiking the A.T. He has maintained a section of the Trail on Barren Mountain since 1994 and last year took on additional responsibilities when he was elected overseer of the Whitecap District, which includes 60 miles of the Trail in the “100 Mile Wilderness” and seven miles of side trails. Ron walks the district annually, reviews and compiles work-trip reports from the 33 current section and shelter maintainers, tallies volunteer hours, and works with other MATC committees to determine structure-repair needs and erosion-control projects.
ATC and the Trail clubs are responsible to the National Park Service for assessing the Trail and its facilities on a five-year cycle. This year, Ron hosted and assisted ATC’s Conservation Resources Manager Matt Stevens and GIS Specialist Paul Mitchell, who came armed with GPS units and other tools to record the status of the treadway, shelters, privies, and bridges. Paul says, “During our assessments of the Whitecap District, Ron was exceptionally generous. He opened his home to us and provided daily logistical support, a keen interest in the assessments, and—best of all—a week’s worth of homemade chili and a hearty casserole!”
A retired music teacher, Ron leads the Moosehead Community Chorus and keeps a personal connection to the Greenville schools by participating in their annual trips on the A.T. Since retiring (and before taking on overseer responsibilities), he hiked the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails, completing the “Triple Crown” of hiking.