|"D-Flap" and Alexandra (aka "Butters") participated in the Hiker Feed put on by ALDHA at the Rock School during Trail Days 2014. D-Flap thru-hiked the trail in 2012. (Photos by H. Dean Clark)
An off-trail family of hikers, dreamers and friends of the trail working
to preserve, protect and promote the long-distance hiking community.
- Southern Ruck, Wesser, N.C. — Jan. 16-18
It's held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, right on the Appalachian Trail. For information, check out the website at www.soruck.net.
- NO Ruck, Bears Den Hostel, Bluemont, Va. — Jan. 23-25
The new home of the old PA Ruck is in Northern Virginia, so now it's known as the NO Ruck, for Northern. For information, check out the website at www.paruck.com.
- A.T. KickOff — March 6-8
Start your northbound AT thru-hike by checking into the lodge for a few days and talking with trail experts & icons, attending great seminars / workshops with reknowned trail figures - and checking out new gear! Amicalola Falls State Park, the entry point to the Appalachian Trail via the state park in Northern Georgia. Most of the information is posted on at http://www.atko.info/.
- Dahlonega Trail Fest in Dahlonega, Ga. — March 27-29
It's the "Spring on Springer" Trail Fest, timed to coincide with the official start of spring in the Southern Appalachians. For information, check out the website at http://www.dahlonegatrailfest.org/.
- Franklin's April Fool's Trail Days in Franklin, N.C. — TBA
The title says it all. Should be fun! For more information including the exact date of the event this year, visit the April Fool's Trail Days website at http://www.aprilfoolstraildays.com.
- Hot Springs Community Trailfest, Hot Springs, N.C. — April 17-19
The Hot Springs Community Trailfest is smaller than Trail Days but in a way a lot more homier. If you want to enjoy Hot Springs like you never were able to while thru-hiking, check out this festival. More information at the Community Learning Center page.
- Trail Days, Damascus, Va. — May 15-17
It is always the weekend AFTER Mother's Day, although there are usually some events held during the week leading up to the actual weekend. Visit the website at http://www.traildays.us for details.
- A.T. Hall of Fame banquet, Allenberry Resort, Boiling Springs, Pa. — June 5
The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame will induct its newest class of honorees on Friday night at Allenbery, which has overnight accommodations in addition to banquet facilities. Visit the A.T. Museum website at www.atmuseum.org for information as the date gets closer.
- National Trails Day — June 6
There will be a host of activities all around the nation to celebrate National Trails Day, always the first Saturday in June. More information can be found on the American Hiking Society's web page at www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-day.
- A.T. Museum Hall of Fame programs — June 6
The Appalachian Trail Museum will hold several programs during the day to not only honor the previous night's newest inductees into the A.T. Hall of Fame but also to commemorate National Trails Day. Visit the A.T. Museum website at www.atmuseum.org for information as the date gets closer.
- ATC Biennial Conference, Shenandoah University, Winchester, Va. — July 17-24
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy will hold its biennial this year at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. There is extensive information online, and more is being added every month. Visit the website for updated information as the date gets closer.
- Trail's End Festival, Millinocket, Maine — Sept. 11-13
This small but cozy festival taps into the early colors of northern Maine with Mount Katahdin as a backdrop. The exact dates have not yet been posted on the website, which is at www.trailsendfestival.org.
- ALDHA West, Mount Hood Kiwanis Camp, near Rhododendron, Ore.. — Sept. 26-28
ALDHA West, a separate organization out West with similar interests as ALDHA, has more information on its website at www.aldhawest.org.
- 34th ALDHA Gathering, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pa.— Oct. 9-11
The 2015 Gathering will be at Shippensburg University, the site where we held the Gathering in 2013. Visit the Gathering web page to follow through on developments..
|Sandi Marra is chairman of the ATC. She and her husband, Chris Brunton (behind at right), are ALDHA members.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, established in 1925, is a national not-for-profit corporation that is both a confederation of the 31 local organizations with assignments to maintain the Appalachian Trail and a membership organization with support from all 50 states and more than 15 other countries. Under agreements that date to the 1930s, buttressed by federal legislation in 1968 and 1978, ATC leads a cooperative-management system for the Trail that equals the National Park Service and USDS Forest Service at national, regional, and district levels, a variety of agencies in 14 states, a few other federal agencies, and even some county and town agencies.
That “management” charge for more than 250,000 acres of public lands extends far beyond enhancing the user’s experience and keeping the footpath open and facilities safe — to safeguarding the boundaries and monitoring the health of hundreds of rare, threatened, and endangered species between the Trail and the corridor’s edge.
The ATC's mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.
Its vision is to connect the human spirit with nature – preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy. The ATC is committed to nurture and protect this sacred space through education and inspiration. It strives to create an ever-expanding community of doers and dreamers, and works to ensure that tomorrow’s generations will experience the same mesmerizing beauty we behold today.
– From the ATC's website, at appalachiantrail.org
The Appalachian Trail Museum Society serves the Appalachian Trail community by telling the stories of the founding, construction, preservation, maintenance, protection, and enjoyment of the Trail since its creation. The Museum will collect, preserve, and interpret materials relevant to these subjects in an effort to portray not only the history of the Trail, but also the essence of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual human experience of the Appalachian environment and the culture of hiking.
– The A.T. Museum's mission statement, ATmuseum.org
- The International Appalachian Trail
From humble beginnings this trail club has grown to global proportions, literally. The trail that continues north from Mount Katahdin in Maine into Eastern Canada now stretches through Europe by hopscotching over Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain and beyond. It will ultimately find its terminus in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, in northern Africa.
- ALDHA West
A similar organization to ALDHA, the American Long Distance Hiking Association, or ALDHA West, has details on its annual Gathering.
- Walkin' Jim Stoltz -- Forever Wild
The legacy of the late backpacking balladeer, "Walkin' Jim" Stoltz, continues on the home page he set up following the success of his six-month, 2,750-mile trek on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1996. Walkin' Jim's timeless music is available here. Sadly, he passed away in September 2010, way before his time.
- The Earl Shaffer Foundation
The organization that was created in the wake of Earl Shaffer's death has a number of projects under way, all of which will benefit the preservation of Earl's legacy as the first man to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.
- The Katahdin Art Project
The Katahdin Art Project is a collaboration between the Earl Shaffer Foundation and Crest Photography. It combines Earl Shaffer's poetry and Bart Smith's photography to create a tribute to Mount Katahdin. All proceeds minus costs of $150 per unit will be donated to the Earl Shaffer Foundation. It was Earl's decision to direct a portion of his foundation funds to the creation of an Appalachian Trail Museum as well as the trail clubs along the A.T.
Alabama Hiking Trail Society
Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
Log onto this Web site for the latest news of the Alabama Hiking Trail Society.
The Georgia club's Web site, with maps of the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.
Nantahala Hiking Club
The Nantahala club maintains about 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Nantahala National Forest, N.C.
Smoky Mountains Hiking Club
Members maintain the A.T. through Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carloina and Tennessee.
Carolina Mountain Club
The CMC covers the stretch of the A.T. from Davenport Gap north to Spivey Gap, Tenn.
Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club
The Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club maintains 127 miles on the Appalachian Trail.
Mount Rogers A.T. Club
The group maintains from Damascus, Va., to Va. Route 670, just north of Trimpi shelter.
Piedmont A.T. Hikers
Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers, or PATH, is based in North Carolina and maintains a stretch of trail in Virginia.
Virginia Tech Outing Club
Club members in Blacksburg, Va., maintain about 30 miles from Garden Mountain to Lickskillet Hollow.
Roanoke A.T. Club
This club oversees the A.T. from Lickskillet Hollow to Blackhorse Gap, about 131 miles.
Natural Bridge A.T. Club
The group that maintains 88 miles of the A.T. around Peaks of Otter is now on the Internet.
Tidewater A.T. Club
The Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club has jumped into Web waters with its own page.
Old Dominion A.T. Club
This group maintains from Reeds Gap to Rockfish Gap in Virginia, a run of about 17 miles.
Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
PATC's home page is quite the audio-visual wonder. You can also read their newsletter.
Mountain Club of Maryland
Members maintain the stretch from Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pa., to the Susquehanna River.
Keystone Trails Association
The KTA in Pennsylvania is the umbrella organization that covers a number of different hiking clubs.
Cumberland Valley A.T. Club
One of the newest clubs, this group oversees the Cumberland Valley and what is left of the old road walk.
Appalachian Mountain Club
AMC maintains a wide variety of hiking trails through its various chapters, including in the Delaware Valley, the Whites, Mass., Conn. and Maine. Susquehanna A.T. Club
This club covers 9.2 miles from Pa. 225 to Clarks Valley, including Peters Mountain Shelter.
Batona Hiking Club
This Philadelphia-based group maintains 8.6 miles from Fox Gap at Pa. 191 to Wind Gap, Pa.
Allentown Hiking Club
From Tri-County Corner to Bake Oven Knob, this club maintains about 12 miles of trail.
Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club
They do maintain a good chunk of trail from Rausch Creek to Lehigh Furnace in Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia Trail Club
This group covers the ridgeline from Lehigh Furnace Gap to Little Gap, about 10.2 miles.
Delaware Valley Chapter, AMC
Hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing and other activities of this active chapter.
York Hiking Club
This club maintains a short stretch from Pa. Route 443 south to the Susquehanna River.
Wilmington Trail Club
Members maintain the A.T. from Fox Gap to Delaware Water Gap, a distance of about 7 miles.
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
Now based in New Jersey, this club maintains the A.T. through two states, from the Delaware River to the Connecticut border.
AMC - Connecticut Chapter
The Connecticut chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club, which goes from New York to Sages Ravine.
AMC - Berkshire Chapter
The Western Massachusetts branch of the AMC maintains the A.T. through the Bay State.
Green Mountain Club
Based in Vermont, the GMC maintains the fabled Long Trail, including the 100 or so miles that carry the A.T.
Dartmouth Outing Club
This legendary group of students, alumni and area residents maintain unique shelters and privies along 76 miles of trail.
The Randolph Mountain Club
This club promotes the enjoyment of the Randolph, N.H., area and is the newest addition to the ATC's trail maintaining clubs.
The Maine A.T. Club
The club has posted its official home page, complete with photos, updates, and other news.
If there's a major trail event happening somewhere, chances are ALDHA will be there with an exhibit and a couple of folks talking up the organization and the benefits of attending our annual Gathering in the fall.
It's a mission that was formalized in 2011 with the appointment of Judy Young as ALDHA's first outreach coordinator. It's her job to make sure folks hear about ALDHA at events like Trail Days and the A.T. Kickoff.
The ALDHA exhibit and/or the ALDHA Store have hit just about every festival from Georgia to Maine since about 1996, when a new traveling display was created to spread the word.
Our first formal presentation at Trail Days was called "All About ALDHA" and introduced thru-hikers to the group that's devoted to their best interests. A photo from one of the first such programs shows an active northbounder pouring over the exhibit and other materials. After his thru-hike he came to the Gathering and has remained active ever since, even serving a stint on the ALDHA board of directors. The hiker in that photo was "Slider," aka Kevin Reardon.
ALDHA's presence at Trail Days has since been expanded to a very important role: Feeding hungry hikers. The Rock School becomes a lunch room of sorts as a host of volunteers, like Mark Suiters ("Stumpknocker") above, lays out a spread of sandwiches, deserts and drinks, all for hikers.
If there's a trail event you'd like to have ALDHA attend, let us know. Contact the ALDHA Outreach Coordinator by email at email@example.com.