Press Release

Suzanne Dixon Departs as ATC President & CEO

July 22, 2019

Appalachian Trail Conservancy Announces Departure of President and Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Dixon, Appoints Sandra Marra To Replace Her

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (July 22, 2019) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) today announced that Suzanne Dixon will be resigning from her position as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective August 30, 2019. The ATC’s Board of Directors has selected Sandra Marra as the new President and CEO.

Ms. Dixon joined ATC in 2017 and has had an immediate and long-lasting impact on the organization. She conceptualized the ATC’s Wild East campaign; increased the ATC’s visibility with federal, state and local elected officials and agencies; expanded fundraising opportunities; and, through the continuation of our Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Landscape initiative, helped protect thousands of additional acres along the Trail.

“Serving as the President/CEO of ATC has been the fulfillment of my professional career,” said Ms. Dixon. “My decision to leave ATC as of August 30 comes only after deep reflection on my professional and personal needs, and my belief that ATC is on a solid foundation to move ahead to realize its visions. The wonderful impact that ATC has had on me is something that will guide my future career.”

In accepting her new President and CEO position, Ms. Marra has resigned as Chair of ATC’s Board of Directors. Ms. Marra joined ATC’s Board of Managers in 1999 and played a significant role in leading the organization through its transition from a Conference to a Conservancy. She joined ATC’s first Stewardship Council in 2005 and later ATC’s Board of Directors in 2008. In addition, she is a past president and honorary life member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. As an ATC Board member, Ms. Marra has chaired several ATC committees and, for the past several years, served as board chair. Most recently, Ms. Marra has been a partner consultant with Capacity Partners, a full-service consulting firm to nonprofit organizations, providing strategy and development services including strategic planning, board development and training, and change management support. In 2015, she retired from her position as Chief Operating Officer of St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a $20 million nonprofit organization supporting educational and service programs for developmentally disabled children and adults. She has hiked over 1,200 miles of the Trail and, with her husband, oversees 3 miles of the Trail in Northern Virginia.

Ms. Marra stated, “I am committed to fulfilling ATC’s mission to manage, protect and promote the Appalachian Trail, and to ensuring the Trail is protected forever and for all. I particularly look forward to the development of a new strategic plan that focuses on the issues the Appalachian Trail faces today.”

Before Ms. Dixon leaves ATC, she will be taking leave to spend some well-earned time with her family from Ireland.

About the Appalachian Trail and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The Appalachian Trail is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at 2,192 miles in length. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours per year maintaining, preserving and protecting the Trail for its estimated two to three million annual visitors.

Founded in 1925, the ATC is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia with several regional offices on the East Coast. The ATC is a volunteer-based organization whose mission is “to preserve and manage the Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.” Under agreements that date back to the 1930s, buttressed by federal legislation, the ATC leads a cooperative management system for the Trail in close cooperation with federal, state and local agencies and 31 Trail-maintaining clubs. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794