Trudy & John Phillips

September 2014

From wielding a chainsaw or cross-cut saw to using mapping and GPS skills to Trail management, John and Trudy Phillips of the Natural Bridge A.T. Club (NBATC) bring a wide range of expertise to the Appalachian Trail.

In 1994, they joined NBATC and began volunteering on the Wednesday and Saturday trail crews. They thru-hiked the A.T. in 2008-2009.  

Today, they continue to join the Wednesday work trips and also maintain their own Trail section in the Thunder Ridge Wilderness. As certified sawyers, they also work wherever the club needs them.  

John serves on the NBATC board and is a great resource for the club, whether sharpening crosscut saws or using his considerable mapping, GIS, and computer skills.  A past club president, Trudy currently chairs the Virginia regional partnership committee and represents the region on ATC’s stewardship council.  

Board member Mike Rieley says, “John and Trudy are among the most active and productive members of the club. They are tireless workers and dedicated to the goals and principals of the club and ATC.”

Kathryn Herndon, ATC staff member and former Konnarock crew leader, first met the couple when they camped and worked alongside Konnarock volunteers. “Their enthusiasm and commitment to A.T. stewardship was both obvious and contagious,” she says, “but my admiration has only grown the more I’ve gotten to know Trudy and John and come to understand the many levels at which they are involved in A.T. management.”

“You get a sense of their dedication the first moments you speak with them,” says ATC Regional Director Andrew Downs, “but after two years of working closely with them, I have still not seen its limit.” 

Trudy and John both enjoy trail building and feel a sense of satisfaction watching water run off the Trail after they have built a proper water bar. They feel rewarded when hikers come through and thank them.

And, they urge ATC and the Trail clubs to get families with young children involved in Trail and club activities, saying they felt discouraged from joining until their kids were older and could participate in adult hikes.