Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame's 2012 Inductees

Published Jun 12, 2012

Gene Espy was one of the first Appalachian Trail (AT) Hall of Fame Members inducted in 2011. Others in that charter class were Myron Avery, Ed Garvey, Benton MacKaye, Arthur Perkins and Earl Shaffer.

Now they have been joined by five additional AT pioneers -- including the first two women.

Members of the 2012 class:

o Emma "Grandma" Gatewood (1888-1973) - After raising 11 children on farms along the Ohio River and at the age of 67, the grandmother of 23 became the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail alone and in a continuous hike. Including food, water and equipment, she rarely carried more than 20 pounds.

o David A. Richie (1932-2002) - A man who neither sought nor easily accepted credit for his successes, Dave Richie, in the words of David Startzell, longtime executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, "had more to do with the reality of today's Appalachian National Scenic Trail and its management than any other single person."

o J. Frank Schairer (1904-1970) - The very first white blazes for the Appalachian Trail ever painted on Mount Katahdin in Maine and through much of the rest of the Wilderness were done by the hand of Frank Schairer. That was during the summer of 1933. A cofounder of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, he helped blaze several hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail.

o Dr. Jean Stephenson (1893-1979) - Her knowledge of the Appalachian Trail was encyclopedic. Her role as editor-in-chief of Appalachian Trail guidebooks and the Appalachian Trailway News set enduring standards.

o "Major" William Adams Welch (1868-1941) - The Appalachian Trail Conference and the familiar Appalachian Trail sign and logo can be traced back to "Major" Welch, a Kentuckian and a direct descendant of U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Welch was instrumental in forming the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

In addition to the five Hall of Fame inductees, Jean Cashin was honored for her lifetime of service to the Appalachian Trail and for befriending generations of hikers. Among her many contributions, Jean started the tradition of taking a Polaroid (now digital) photo of each AT thru-hiker who passed through Harpers Ferry.

Chairman of the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Committee Jim Foster said annual nominees will include pioneers

  • who conceived of and developed the trail
  • those who organized or directed major trail organizations like the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs
  • longtime trail maintainers
  • leaders who promoted and protected the Appalachian Trail
  • hikers who have made significant accomplishments and
  • other persons who have enriched the culture or community of the Appalachian Trail.

About 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 2,184 mile long hiking trail that passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. Located at the midway point of the Appalachian Trail, the museum is across from the Pine Grove General Store on Pennsylvania Route 233 in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, PA, near Carlisle, Gettysburg and Chambersburg.

Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame inductees are honored in the Appalachian Trail Museum, which has had approximately 20,000 visitors from throughout the United States and 18 other countries.

The museum is open from 12 PM - 4 PM daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During the spring and fall, the museum is open weekends only from 12 PM - 4 PM.

Click Here for Bios of 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees

Click Here for the AT Museum's Website

Tags: Attractions, Events, Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, Appalachian Trail Community, News, and Appalachian Trail Museum

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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