Appalachian Trail Conservancy Holds Third Annual Awards Gala to Honor Leaders in Conservation

Date Published: May 22, 2012

Washington, DC (May 22, 2012) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) held its third annual Awards Gala in Washington, DC last Thursday, May 17, 2012. This year's gala honored the conservation efforts of U.S. Representative Norm Dicks of Washington, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and David N. Startzell, former executive director of the ATC. All honorees played a vital role in protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and its contiguous land.

Representative Dicks, who served as Honorary Chair at the event, received the ATC's Special Conservation Leadership Award for his instrumental work in permanently protecting the A.T. The environment has always been a high priority for Mr. Dicks, who has served on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee during his entire tenure in Congress. The award was presented by Terry Lierman of Maryland, Gala Committee Co-Chair and board member of the ATC.

Senator Lamar Alexander (left) and Senator Patrick Leahy (right) receiving the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Congressional Leadership Award - photographed with Mark Wenger (center), executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.Senator Lamar Alexander received the ATC’s Congressional Leadership Award for his long history of spearheading efforts to protect and preserve America’s parks, greenways and forests—particularly his efforts on behalf of the A.T. The award was presented by Charles Maynard of Tennessee, board member of the ATC.

Senator Leahy also received the ATC’s Congressional Leadership Award, presented by Mary Higley of Florida, board member of the ATC, for his numerous programs and legislative initiatives designed to protect America’s forests, farmland, and wildlife both in Vermont and around the globe. After the Gala, Senator Leahy expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to spend some personal time with colleagues from both parties to celebrate a shared priority – the A.T.

 “Over the past few decades the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, along with countless agencies and partners, worked hard to protect the Appalachian Trail”, stated Mark Wenger, executive director of the ATC. “Today, the Trail is not only within a few miles of being fully protected, but is recognized as a national treasure. This would not be possible without the dedication and cooperation of leaders, such as the ones we have honored today.”

David N. Startzell was honored with the ATC's Vanguard Award for his work with the ATC over the past 34 years (25 years as executive director). He was also instrumental in launching the efforts to acquire a federally protected corridor for the A.T. and oversaw the core of the “Protection Era” of the A.T. project. The award was presented by the Honorable Beverly Byron of Maryland, who served in Congress for 14 years.

Sponsors of this event included UPS, The Home Depot, Summit Global Ventures, Comcast, Bavarian Inn, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Echo Communicate, Inc., Walmart, Expedia, Inc., Susan Gage Caterers, Honeywell, and Legg Mason Global Asset Management.

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: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x117
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: [email protected]


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  1. Buqaari | Jul 10, 2012
    Jared - One of the problems today is that we don't take good old faohisn roadtrips. You need to take these kind of trips just so your kids have crazy memories of sitting in the car forever and stopping at odd and random places across America.Glad to see you are not letting the tradition die July 8, 2008 12:14 AM
  2. Cirene | Jun 14, 2012
    Brecken Enright - Hi Nicole, I am Joe Enright's wife. He spoke to Eric about getting some adcive from you about the AT a while ago. I got a little hike in this summer in the Smokies. I really loved it and would love to hear more about your hikes. I really like your pictures. Thank you for sharing :)BreckenAugust 12, 2011 3:37 pm

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