by Sara Haxby

2019: Banner Year for Boots on the Ground

Clubs finished some landmark projects in 2019. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club accomplished a task estimated to take 10 years, in the sixth year of this effort. A volunteer group calling themselves the GPS Rangers mapped out their entire Appalachian Trail section, as well as the rest of the areas that PATC oversees. Collecting waypoints, taking notes and photographs, often in winter for the best service. The volunteers’ hard work will augment Trail Asset Inventory data and the club’s records for all trail features. The GPS data will steer any revisions to the eleven Appalachian Trail maps that PATC publishes. Read the full story…

The Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Appalachian Trail Committee rebuilt the Spence Field Privy over March and April 2019. This marks the seventh and final privy to be upgraded by the club and caps a 23-year effort to remodel shelters and privies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unique challenges face SMHC in such undertakings, and the club thanked its partners in the effort, ATC and the National Park Service. Read the whole story.

We’re also pleased to report that some clubs marked another kind of success in 2019: growth in numbers. The Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club estimated that more volunteers turned up at workdays in 2019 than any other year; Trail Supervisor Craig Dunn talks more about that in a piece on volunteer recruitment found here. Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club’s (TATC) fall maintenance trip broke records with 92 volunteers; the club was able to dispatch 17 crews to perform a range of tasks, from blazing, to big projects of drainage and tread-way rehabilitation. Demonstrating the benefits of partnering, 23 of the 92 folks on TATC’s trip were U.S. Navy personnel from Norfolk. Part of the community-building for volunteers on the TATC work trips are marvelous meals. See the pictures of the feast and read the full story…

AMC-Berkshire Chapter’s Appalachian Trail Committee celebrated the finalization of an update to its Local Management Plan in 2019. Last updated in 2006, this revision took 14 months to complete. Local Management Plans (LMP) spell out the perspective and direction a club takes on the management of its section of the A.T. Find more on LMPs here.

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