December 10, 2021

Trailway News: Getting to Work

2021 was a monumental year in the history of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), celebrating 100 years since Benton MacKaye first envisioned an unbroken footpath from Georgia to Maine. Throughout the year, we have reflected on how much has been accomplished in the creation, management, and protection of the Trail. As we enter into the second century of the A.T., join us as we look ahead at the work that must still be accomplished to help meet MacKaye’s vision and ensure the Trail continues to be a source of recreation, conservation, and inspiration for generations to come.

Getting to Work

By Laura Belleville, ATC Vice President of Conservation

I don’t think that any of us is born a conservationist, at least not with fully formed ideas about ecosystems or a land ethic. That understanding comes after experiencing the outdoors, making sense of it, and finding the language to describe what we saw. For some, that language sounds like science, and, for others, it’s a painted picture or photograph or a hiker journal. But, it is innately human to go out into nature to discover, to find ourselves and all the world has to offer. And, at times, to hit the reset button. Benton understood this, for sure. He banked on those understandings to protect the Appalachian landscape.



Video Series

The A.T. in Its Second Century

Over the next several weeks, we will feature interviews with ATC staff to discuss some of our key goals for the next century (and beyond) of A.T. protection.

Photo by Molly Hagan

Recreation on the Trail

ATC Regional Manager of Central Virginia Kathryn Herndon-Powell shares that though people recreate on the Trail for different reasons — hiking, birding, stargazing, and more — a love for the resource is what brings all of them together.


The Next Century of Stewardship

ATC Senior Conservation Coordinator Sara Haxby explains how volunteers have helped move Benton MacKaye’s 1921 vision for the A.T. forward, and how shared stewardship is essential for the continued management and protection of the Trail.



Winter Hiking on the A.T.

With the winter solstice coming up, more places along the A.T. will be getting their first snowfall of the season. Before heading out into the crisp and chilly air, hikers can make sure to prepare for a safe and enjoyable winter hike with these quick tips:

  • Be Flexible – Brrr! If the forecast calls for freezing temperatures and several inches of snow, consider postponing your hike for better weather.
  • Be Prepared – Frozen socks in the morning can put a damper on your day. Make sure to pack an extra pair (or two) along with extra clothing layers for warmth, footwear with traction for icy spots on Trail, and an emergency shelter system.
  • Share Your Itinerary – Let family or friends that are not hiking with you know your starting point, destination and when they can expect to hear from you.



Welcome New NextGen Members!

We are thrilled to announce six new members of the ATC’s Next Generation Advisory Council! Please join us in giving them a warm welcome to Briana Apgar, Hazel Platt, Nick Smith, Brianna Cunliffe, Maegan Paul, and Leysha Caraballo.



ATC Holiday Hours

In celebration of the holiday season, all ATC offices and Visitor Centers will be closed from December 24 through January 2, 2022. We will resume normal operating hours on Monday, January 3. Our Visitor Services team will continue to monitor emails, but will not be responding to phone calls during this time.



Community Spotlight

Want to be featured in our community spotlight? Follow us on Instagram at @appalachiantrail and use #atcspotlight in your post!

Happy Trails!

Please donate today to ensure the A.T. we all love benefits us today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.