USFS Honors Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

In a press release dated April 22nd, the USDA Forest Service anounced honoring the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club of Vienna, Virginia with the 2018 Chief’s Enduring Service Award.   This award recognizes sustained volunteerism and service support and honors PATC’s longstanding stewardship and partner contributions to trail maintenance, education, and conservation. Founded on volunteerism and public service, PATC has worked collaboratively with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests for 90 years.

According to the release, the history of the George Washington National Forest is inseparably intertwined with the PATC.  The original small contingent of volunteers who began constructing early national forest trails in 1929, had no idea that in 2018 over 6,416 hours would be donated by their successors promoting forest trail development, maintenance and conservation, education, and recreational use.  In just the past ten years, PATC volunteers donated nearly 55,000 hours to the national forest trail system – a value of nearly 1.1 million dollars.

PATC maintains over 225 miles of trails and 3 trail shelters on the Lee and North River Ranger Districts in Augusta, Rockingham, Highland, Shenandoah, Warren Page, and Counties in Va. and Hardy and Hampshire Counties in WV.  PATC wrote and produced trail guide books and companion topographic maps to aid trail users, and also manages and maintains the 250-mile Tuscarora Trail, of which 60 miles pass through the National Forest lands in Shenandoah and Warren Counties, Va. and Hardy County WV.

Acting District Ranger Alex Faught said “I am proud that the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has been recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in caring for national forest system trails and shelters. This award is a well-deserved result of their hard work, energy, and passion for caring for the public lands.”

PATC President Joe Lombardo said “The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club logo includes the words ‘Serving the hiking public since 1927’. The U.S. Forest Service motto is ‘Caring for the land and serving people’. Given our common focus on stewardship and use, it is no surprise that these organizations have had a successful partnership for over 90 years. The volunteers and staff of PATC find tremendous satisfaction in working with the staff of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. We are honored and humbled as recipients of the 2018 Chief’s Award for Enduring Service.  We look forward to many productive years to come in our partnership with the USFS.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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