The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Holds Second Annual Awards Gala in Honor of Appalachian Trail Community™ Program

Date Published: Apr 19, 2011

Washington, DC (April 19, 2011) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) held it’s second annual Awards Gala in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building last Wednesday, April 13, 2011.  This year’s gala saluted our partners in the Appalachian Trail Community™ Program.  The gala was co-chaired by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (WV 2nd). 

Senator Manchin and Dave StartzellHonorees Rebecca (Becky) Barnes, Western Region Trail Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; Dennis E. Frye, Chief of Interpretation & Education for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park; H. Thomas (Tom) Speaks, Jr., Forest Supervisor for the Cherokee National Forest; and William (Bill) and Sharon Van Horn, the ATC and Nantahala Hiking Club volunteers from Franklin, North Carolina were presented awards for their outstanding service by Congressman Jim Himes of CT, Congresswoman Capito, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann of TN, and Congressman Heath Shuler of NC respectively.

Senator Manchin presented retiring ATC Executive Director, David N. Startzell with a letter of commendation and congratulations for his 34 years of service to the ATC and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Startzell is the leader of a successful 30-year effort to place the Appalachian Trail securely on public lands from Maine to Georgia and is the longest-serving officer in the ATC’s 85-year history. The letter was signed by members of the U.S. Senate representing all 14 states from Georgia to Maine through which the Appalachian Trail passes.

Startzell responded to the letter by saying, “I was both surprised and honored to receive this recognition from members of the United States Senate - many of whom have been strong supporters of the Appalachian Trail - acknowledging my 34 years of service to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. But, I believe the letter also represents recognition on the part of those elected officials of all that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, with the support of its members, its affiliated volunteers, and its public-agency and private-sector partners, has been able to achieve in advancing its mission to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail for millions of present and future Trail visitors. Together, we have created a 250,000-acre Appalachian Trail greenway that is a wonderful legacy for our nation as well as a tribute to volunteer-based stewardship.”

The Appalachian Trail Community™ program provides tools and support to local communities that capitalize on the Trail as a community asset for outdoor recreation. The program is designed to provide incentive for conservation of the Trail’s signature landscapes while giving communities the opportunity to grow rural economies that sustain rural heritage and quality of life.

Launched in 2010, this program recognizes communities for their part in promoting awareness of the A.T. as an important national asset. It increases local stewardship of public lands, supports community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning and supports healthy lifestyles for community citizens. 

Honorees were nominated for their work in securing Appalachian Trail Community™ designations for Unicoi County, TN; Franklin, NC; Harpers Ferry/Bolivar, WV and Great Barrington, MA.

Sponsors of the awards gala included United Parcel Service; The Home Depot; Visa; Comcast; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Toyota; DHL; Honeywell; NewPage; CTIS, Inc.; Akin Gump;  American Trucking Associations; BNSF Railroad; Wiley Rein; The Boeing Company; C2 Group; Sunoco, Inc.: Holland & Knight; CSX; Pat Raffaniello; Susan Gage Caterers.

To view photos of this past event, CLICK HERE.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy 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. For more information please visit

Contact: Amy McCormick        
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.6331 x123 
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: [email protected]

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  1. Boog | Jun 20, 2011
    You’re on top of the game. Takhns for sharing.

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