The purpose of the stewardship council is to oversee policy development and programs related to stewardship of the Appalachian Trail and surrounding lands. The council advises the ATC’s conservation program on overall strategic direction and recommends policy to the board of directors for consideration. The council serves as the interface among the regional partnership committees, Trail clubs, the ATC staff, agency partners, and the board of directors.
Brian Fitzgerald, of South Duxbury, Vermont, became stewardship council chair in May 2010. He is a life member of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and Green Mountain Club and past president of GMC. He has been a member of the council since 2005. He was elected to the ATC's board in 1991 and chaired it from 2001–2007. Before becoming board chair, he headed the Trail and land management committee (1993-2001) and served as New England regional vice chair from 1997 to 2001. He led the organization during the strategic-planning effort and implementation of the 2003 strategic plan. He was awarded honorary membership to ATC in 2005. Brian holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology and ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. He is the streamflow protection coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, where he works to remove dams and protect the natural flow of rivers and streams.
Tom Banks, a native of Holden, Massachusetts, has worked for 30 summers as a U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service ranger throughout the United States, specializing in interpretation, law enforcement, search and rescue, wilderness campsite and trail maintenance. He is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, first joining in 1975. Tom holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in outdoor recreation and environmental science from Colorado State University and Western Washington University. He speaks English and French, and enjoys rock climbing, kayaking, photography, impersonating John Muir in living history performances, and backpacking several hundred miles a year on the Appalachian Trail.
Lenny Bernstein, of Asheville, North Carolina, is an active member and past president of the Carolina Mountain Club. He represented CMC on the Deep South regional partnership committee and was the RPC’s representative on the council. He is an A.T. 2000-miler, has been a Trail maintainer for 25 years, and is a life member of ATC. He currently chairs the council’s Land and Resource Protection Committee, which is concerned with threats to the A.T. from all sources. Lenny has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and was a Convening Lead Author for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. He has taught courses on climate change and energy at the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s College for Seniors, a noncredit, life-long learning program.
Delia Clark, of Taftsville, Vermont, is a trainer, speaker, and facilitator for place-based education, community visioning, and school/community partnerships. Currently principal of Confluence Associates, she cofounded the Antioch New England Institute of Antioch University, cofounded and was executive director of Vital Communities. She also has served on the board of the Appalachian Mountain Club and as director of the Center for Place-based Learning and Community Engagement. Delia is coauthor of publications on place-based learning and civic engagement.
Beth Critton, of West Hartford, Connecticut, is a life member of ATC. She has served on the stewardship council since 2011 and is chair of the council’s Community Outreach Committee. Beth is past chair and a member of and hike leader for the Connecticut Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club, which maintains the A.T. in Connecticut. As Chapter chair, she revived the Chapter’s annual “A.T. Day” tradition and promoted its yearly “Give A Day to the A.T.” trails volunteer event. She is a charter member, building fund contributor, and current member of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society. Beth is a land-use and environmental attorney at Shipman & Goodwin, LLP in Hartford, Connecticut. She has recently been a featured speaker on risk and recreational liability. In 2011, she was recognized by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association as an Outstanding Advocate for Outdoor Recreation. The mother of an A.T. thru-hiker (and three other children), Beth has section-hiked over 1,700 miles of the A.T. since 2004.
Gene Grayson, of Somers, Connecticut, is vice chair of the Appalachian Mountain Club's Connecticut Chapter and treasurer of the Trails Committee, which maintains the A.T. in Connecticut. He is an active hike leader and participates on work parties on the A.T. as well as on blue-blazed trails in state forests and parks. Gene also leads hikes and work parties for inner-city youth and mentally challenged young adults and coaches soccer for mentally and physically challenged children. He is the New England Regional Partnership Committee representative on the stewardship council.
Ned Kuhns, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, represents the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club on the Virginia regional partnership committee and is the RPC representative on the stewardship council. A member of TATC since 1991, he has served as president, vice president, hikemaster, and counselor. He is an active A.T. maintainer and a section leader for the Mau-Har side trail. He has organized and moderated the ATC’s Southern partnership meetings, served as a hike leader at various biennial conferences and is chair of the 2011 ATC biennial conference. An ATC life member, he thru-hiked the Trail in 2003. Ned is a retired U.S. Navy Supply Corps officer and completed a second career in private industry. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received an MBA from Stanford University.
G. Robert Lee, of Warrenton, Virginia, has served on the ATC board of directors. He is involved in numerous Appalachian Trail activities, including serving on the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) council and as president of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter. He is a life member of PATC and has been an ATC member for 25 years. While serving as Clarke County, Virginia, administrator, Bob was primary author of a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement among the National Park Service, ATC, and Clarke County for monitoring existing and proposed land uses adjacent to the Appalachian Trail in the county. Bob has served as a shelter overseer, trail maintainer, and corridor monitor over several decades, and he has hiked extensive sections of the A.T. in the Mid-Atlantic states. He is the executive director of Virginia Outdoors Foundation, an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which holds more conservation easements than any public land trust in the nation.
Judith McGuire, a retired international development expert, is a regular volunteer in the ATC Information Center, a community organizer for climate change, and a science writer. Judy is also an active outdoorswoman and volunteer with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. She thru-hiked the A.T. in 2007 and is a life member of ATC.
Roger Moore, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is an associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at North Carolina State University, where he teaches and conducts research on outdoor recreation behavior and management and the human dimensions of natural resource management. He previously served on the ATC board of directors from 2005–2008, the stewardship council from 2005–2007, and as coordinator of the A.T. MEGA-Transect program during a year-long sabbatical in 2008 and 2009. He has been an ATC member since his 1973 thru-hike.
Don Owen, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is an Appalachian Trail maintainer and corridor monitor with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, roles he has had since 1988. He became the executive director of the Land Trust of Virginia in June 2008, following his retirement from the National Park Service. During his NPS career, Don worked as a realty specialist for the Appalachian Trail land-acquisition program, spent eight years on special assignment to ATC as resource management coordinator, and served as environmental protection specialist with the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office for twelve years before retiring in 2008.
Philip Royer, of Knoxville, Tennessee, chair of the Deep South regional partnership committee, represents the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club (SMHC) on the committee. A member of SMHC since 1998, he has served as president, vice president, historian, member of the A.T. Maintenance Committee and section leader. He also served as co-chair of the 2005 ATC biennial conference. Phil is a member of the American Institute of Architects, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and president of Architectural Services Group, Inc. He has led the design and rehabilitation of 16 trail shelters by SMHC.
Bill Van Horn, of Franklin North Carolina, served 29 years with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, retiring with the rank of Colonel in 2002. Now a full-time volunteer with hiking and environmental organizations, Bill is a life member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the American Hiking Society (AHS), and is an AHS Ambassador and a Leave No Trace Trainer. Former president of the Nantahala Hiking Club, he also has volunteered on the ATC Konnarock Crew, on AHS volunteer vacations, and as an A.T. ridgerunner in the Smokies. Since 2009, he and his wife Sharon have section-hiked more than 1,300 miles of the Trail.
Barbara Wiemann, of Northampton, Pennsylvania, joined ATC in 1972. She is a life member and an A.T. thru-hiker. A member of the ATC board from 2003–2005, she has served on the stewardship council since 2007 and is the Mid-Atlantic regional partnership committee representative on the council. She serves as RPC secretary and is the Allentown Hiking Club’s alternate representative on the committee. An active member of AHC for more than 35 years, Barb has held several positions in the club, including president and secretary. She has been a member of the Keystone Trails Association for more than 35 years, serving as an officer, statewide trail-guide editor, and as newsletter editor since 2000.