Published Jun 12, 2012
Now they have been joined by five additional AT pioneers -- including the first two women.
Members of the 2012 class are:
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. That was in 1955. Two years later, she hiked the Appalachian Trail again and later completed a third hike of the trail in sections. She is known for her legendary Keds sneakers that she wore instead of hiking boots and the laundry sack that she used instead of a backpack. Many call "Grandma" Gatewood the first thru-hiker celebrity. She appeared on the Today show and numerous other programs. She inspired two distinct movements in hiking - long-distance hiking for women and the ultra-lite movement. She carried just a few items with her, each chosen carefully so they could perform multiple functions. 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 "had more to do with the reality of today's Appalachian National Scenic Trail and its management than any other single person", in the words of David Startzell, longtime executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Six years after Congress adopted the National Trails System Act, which designated the Appalachian Trail as the first national scenic trail, Richie successfully sought responsibility for the neglected Appalachian Trail when he accepted a new job as deputy director of the agency's northeast regional office in Boston. Eventually, he obtained approval for a separate Appalachian Trail Project Office, to report directly to Washington. He was largely responsible for developing the "cooperative management system" used to manage the Appalachian Trail today. Born in Moorestown, N.J., Richie was a graduate of Haverford College and of George Washington University's law school. He was also a Navy pilot and Marine captain.
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 to blaze several hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail through what is now Shenandoah National Park as well as the 100-mile Wilderness in Maine. He spent most of his adult life volunteering in one capacity or another on behalf of the Appalachian Trail, attending meetings and serving as treasurer and later supervisor of trails for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), as well as secretary of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and as a member of the Appalachian Trail Conference Board of Managers. But his favorite trail-related activity was building, blazing and maintaining the actual footpath. By profession, he was a Yale-trained chemist who was fascinated with the composition of rocks and minerals. This led him early on to backpacking expeditions in search of the prizes of his profession.
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. Her involvement led to the trail being completed in Maine and the entire trail being protected by the federal government. Dr. Stephenson came to the Appalachian Trail project in 1933, more than a dozen years after arriving in Washington via Cornell University from her native Waco, Texas, earning a doctorate in law from National University School of Law, and settling into a position at the United States Department of the Navy. She worked closely with trail co-founder Myron Avery and took up his mantle to see the Appalachian Trail become a reality. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club made her its first honorary member in 1950.
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. He served as general manager of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks in New York State. He was called "Major" for his service during World War I. In the 1920's, the club routed the first footpath section of the Appalachian Trail, from which he designed a square, die-cut copper marker with the Appalachian Trail monogram that evolved into the trail's most recognized symbol. In 1925, park groups in which he was active were among the sponsors of the first "Appalachian Trail Conference" and selected its first chairman.
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
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 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 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 and on weekends from 12 PM - 4 PM in the spring and fall.
Published Jan 10, 2015. Do you know of someone who has contributed so much to the Appalachian Trail that they're worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame? If so, nominate them.
Published Aug 16, 2014. Names of the 2014 Class of inductees to the A.T. Hall of Fame have been announced.
Published May 5, 2015. The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame will honor four new members at a banquet to be held June 5, 2015, at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, PA.
Published Aug 9, 2013.
Published Jun 20, 2013.
Published Jun 12, 2012.
Published Jan 6, 2016. The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame honors those who created and maintained their beloved Trail from Maine to Georgia
Published Aug 16, 2014.
Published Aug 16, 2014.
Published Jan 24, 2017.