Giving Back to the AT
You don’t need me to tell you how it feels to hike the Appalachian Trail; the earth and rocks beneath your boots (or trail runners), the trees covering you in shade and a green canopy, and the many great friends you meet hiking on one of the country’s best trails. The AT doesn’t remain pretty on its own though. Every year, storms fell trees, erode dirt and mud, displace rocks and leave the trail a pretty poor sight. So who makes the trails stay so beautiful and clean? Thousands of volunteers from across the country assist in repairing and enhancing the AT to ensure that people will enjoy its magic for generations to come. Groups such as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Green Mountain Club, Mountain Club of Maryland, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Smoky Mountains Trail Club and numerous others all work tirelessly to keep what they love the way it should be. Clearing debris, re-marking white blazes, clearing invasive species, cutting down trees, building cabins and testing water qualities are just a small amount of things that these dedicated clubs do for our beloved trail. Can you possibly imagine how the Appalachian Trail would look if no one cared for it? It would have to be renamed the Appalachian Trash Dump!
I’m a proud member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and I can honestly say it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever taken on. The work is strenuous but so rewarding, you can see so much progress made in just one day’s work. The people in the various trail crews are some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet: thru-hikers, engineers, doctors, college students, and people who can make some tasty grub! Joining a trail club gives you a feeling of belonging to a team that works to protect something you love. There are positions in these trail clubs aside from actual trail work such as ridgerunners: volunteers living on the trail for two weeks at a time monitoring certain parts of the trail. Oh, and did I mention some trail clubs allow you to rent cabins on the AT if you are a member! Pretty enticing.
So now you’re thinking to yourself “gee, I just don’t have the time to get out on the trail and volunteer and blah blah blah….”. No problem! These trail clubs appreciate donations and any type of support you can give them. Consider joining a trail club in your area and feel proud of the work you do. Below is a link to access all trail club websites. Check it out!…
Above: PATC members being awesome
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