Boiling Springs, PA (June 21, 2011)
– On June 17, 2011, the first inductees were named to the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame: Benton MacKaye, Myron H. Avery, Judge G. Arthur Perkins, Earl V. Shaffer, Gene Espy, and Edward B. Garvey. Several of the six have played significant roles in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) history.
“These inductees were instrumental to the creation and maintenance of the Appalachian Trail as well as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy,” stated David N. Startzell, executive director of the ATC. “It is fitting that their service and contributions to the Trail are acknowledged in this way.”
The hall of fame banquet kicked off a weekend-long celebration of the first anniversary of the Appalachian Trail Museum. The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Appalachian Trail Museum Society, and the museum will devote a section to the hall of fame.
“It was both a privilege and an honor to be offered the opportunity to participate in the celebration of the first anniversary of the museum. The volunteers who comprise the Appalachian Trail Museum Society have done an exemplary job in sharing the rich cultural heritage of the Appalachian Trail project with the public,” shared Stephen J. Paradis, chief operating officer of the ATC and a member of the museum society’s board.
The hall of fame acknowledges those who have made major contributions or have advanced the cause of the Trail in a notable way. Inductees include visionaries who conceived the Appalachian Trail (A.T), leaders who organized and directed major A.T. organizations such as the ATC, pioneers in the long-distance-hiking community, as well as those who have enriched the culture or the community of the A.T. by their association with it.
Startzell accepted a handcrafted commemorative hiking stick on behalf of Benton MacKaye (1879-1975), the visionary individual who proposed the concept of a Trail along the ridgetops of the Appalachians in an article published in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects 90 years ago. He organized the initial “Appalachian Trail conference” at which the ATC was formed.
Paradis accepted on behalf of Judge G. Arthur Perkins (1864-1932), the second person to serve as chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference. Inspired by a 1927 speech given by MacKaye at the New England Trail Conference Perkins’ energy and enthusiasm breathed new life into the project and engaged the well-established New England clubs with their existing trail networks. Perkins also reached out to fellow inductee Myron H. Avery (1899-1952), his successor as the ATC chairman, to push the work of building the Trail south from New England.
Others honored as members of the inaugural class included the first and second individuals to ever hike the 2,000-mile Trail in a continuous effort, the late Earl V. Shaffer and Gene Espy, respectively, as well as the late Edward B. Garvey, author, trail maintainer, and volunteer leader for both the ATC and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. Shaffer, active in two Pennsylvania trail clubs, served three years on the ATC board; Garvey, 16 years. 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 www.appalachiantrail.org. Contact:
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x 117
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.appalachiantrail.org About the Appalachian Trail Museum Society
The Appalachian Trail Museum Society, a 501-C-3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2002, organizes programs, exhibits, volunteers and fundraising nationwide for the Appalachian Trail Museum. The museum opened on June 5, 2010, as a tribute to the thousands of men, women and families who have hiked and maintained the 2,181 mile long hiking trail that passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. Located in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, Pennsylvania, the museum is conveniently near Carlisle, Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Additional information is available at www.atmuseum.org.
Appalachian Trail Museum Society
Email: [email protected]