The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is pleased to announce that volunteers devoted a record number of hours last year to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. For the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, close to 6,000 volunteers reported approximately 245,500 hours, donating time equivalent to what is completed by 118 full-time workers.
Since the ATC began reporting volunteer hours in 1983, volunteers have contributed 4.9 million hours to the A.T., and the past 10 years have seen a 33 percent increase in volunteer hours. In 2013, volunteers contributed to a wide variety of projects, including maintaining the A.T. corridor, monitoring and removing invasive species, supporting teachers in the Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) program and assisting A.T. Communities near the Trail. Volunteers were also crucial to the success of the ATC’s Biennial, with many individuals leading hikes, registering guests, distributing information and assisting with parking, camping and reception coordination.
ATC volunteers represent A.T. Trail Clubs and Trail Crews; Visitor Center and regional office volunteers; and participants in additional ATC programs, such as TTEC and the Appalachian Trail Community™ program. Though Trail maintainers are perhaps the most visible, volunteers also participate in many other activities, from outreach to local, regional and Trail-wide management efforts.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy exists because of the generosity, talents and support of our volunteers – they are the very soul of the Appalachian Trail,” said Ron Tipton, executive director of the ATC. “The record number of volunteer hours reported for fiscal year 2013 illustrates a continued dedication to the preservation and management of the Trail.”
For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/volunteer.