In 2006, using the trail name “Tipper,” Tip Ray thru-hiked the A.T. conducting accessibility assessments of 253 shelter sites along the Trail under a contract with the ATC and the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office.
When he moved to Asheville, NC, in 2012, he immediately approached ATC’s Southern Regional Office staff about volunteering. He spent three weeks that year surveying all campsites and recreational impacts on more than 21 miles of the A.T. in the Roan Highlands and has since spent countless hours processing and analyzing the data, which will be used to make recommendations for recreation management in the area.
For the past year, he has been volunteering at the ATC regional office and is currently organizing all of the curricula developed by Trail to Every Classroom teachers to be adapted and put on ATC’s website. Julie Judkins, ATC community program manager, says, “Tip’s efforts in answering hiking questions, setting up and working at events, and helping with other SORO office needs are priceless!”
A member of the Carolina Mountain Club, Tip attended the 2012 Wilderness Skills Institute. He was formerly a canoe guide for Minnesota-based Wilderness Inquiry, a nonprofit outdoor adventure provider that brings people with and without disabilities together on wilderness waterways throughout North America and the world. He is currently a consultant in private practice with a focus on accessibility and program accommodations for persons with disabilities in outdoor recreation settings. He is also a certified master trainer for the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) and has taught those skills nationwide, including to ATC regional directors and trail club volunteers.
He and Ann, his wife of 38 years, live in a community with 6 miles of private wooded trails, which he helps monitor and maintain.