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Update on Appalachian Trail Conservancy 2015 Biennial Conference

Volunteers are needed in all areas for this event and it is easy to volunteer.  Just contact our volunteer coordinators at  We are in particular need for hike and excursion volunteers. With more than 300 hikes offered during the conference, the need for volunteers is great. Second, we need people to staff our hikes information desk. Many people wait until the conference begins to choose a hike. We will need people who can guide and suggest the “right” hike. Others will want to change hikes and may need assistance.  The hike desk will be open every day of the conference from Friday, July 17 to Thursday, July 23. Please consider volunteering for a few hours!

We are also looking for people to lead excursions. These are not hikes, but trips of interest throughout the area. They include outdoor activities such as bicycling, canoeing and tours to area battlefields, museums, wineries and other interesting places. Excursion fees are waived for volunteers. We are looking for people to volunteer in general, but particularly for the following excursions:

(1)   A zip line tour through Shenandoah River State Park, no experience is necessary and all equipment and training will be provided by zip line staff.

(2)   A tour of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and Garden. Located  in Winchester, this new museum highlights the history and culture of the Shenandoah Valley

(3)   Monumental Day in DC, a bus tour to visit the sights in Washington with stops at many of the highlights on the national mall.

Again, fees are waived for excursion leaders! Join us. It is easy to volunteer, just e-mail and we will find the right place for you.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION:  Members of the ATC will receive a booklet in the mail which describes all the events and activities of the Biennial.  If you are not a member of ATC, you can find it on the PATC website or at the event website  To get a printed copy, send a note to: ATC, PO Box 807, Harpers Ferry WV, 25425. A printed copy may also be obtained by e-mailing

Registration will begin on April 15, and the easiest way to register is via the web site

QUESTIONS?  Send an e-mail message to MCM member Bob Grossman. He is the MCM representation on the ATC 2015 Steering Committee. His e-mail is

Bloede Dam Demolition - Patapsco Valley State Park

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Patapsco Valley State Park have been conducting feasibility studies since 2009 on the removal of three dams on the Patapsco River.  They have removed two dams upstream from the Bloede Dam that were smaller, which did not present the impact that this project will.  In addition to the dam removal, a major sewer line that was built into the side structure of Bloede Dam needs to be moved, which will extend the time needed to complete the total project.

DNR staff has met with several user groups to review the overall scope of the project and solicit feedback.  DNR acknowledged user impact during these discussions and will attempt to include trail updates as soon as possible.  An open house was held at the Arbutus Library for discussion of the plans and timelines.  The permit process has started and the target completion date is fall of 2015.

The following closures will commence in December 2015 when sewer reconstruction is slated to begin:

* Construction equipment will be staged off of Ilchester Road.

* Pedestrian bridge over the Patapsco will be closed.

* Grist Mill Trail will be closed as they dig the sewer trench under the trail (Probably to the Swinging Bridge).

Full article information here...

Walking the walk: Novelist takes Appalachian Trail in new direction

Ask most novelists and they’ll tell you theirs is an awfully tough lot in life.

All that typing and character development and plot thinking-up to do. Plus, having to look purty in their book jacket photos

Clearly, Richard Judy isn’t “most” novelists. The way the Roswell resident tells it, getting published on his first try was a walk in the park.

Compared to his other walks, anyway.

“Doing a thru-hike is much harder,” Judy said swiftly and with the unassailable assurance of a man who’s hiked all 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail.


Full article information here...


Maryland Master Naturalist Course

Increase and share your knowledge of Maryland's plants and animals. Registration is taken pace now for the spring Master Naturalist Course.

The Maryland Master Naturalist training consists of 60 hours of classroom and hands-on experience in a variety of subjects such as botany, entomology, herpetology, and ornithology. Classes are taught by university professors and experts in the field.

Classes run on Mondays from March 23rd to May 18th, 9:30-4:30pm. (No class April 6th) and two Saturdays, April 25th and May 16th

For more information, call 410-887-4156, or visit the website at

Please call 410-887-4156 or email to register.

Full details here...

Movie "A Walk In The Woods" - Appalachian Trail Hike

Who would have thought that one of the more polarizing movies at this year’s Sundance would be the one where Robert Redford and Nick Nolte play old guys trying to walk the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail?

Full article information here...

Also see:


Think you can hike? What you need to know before pulling your own "Wild"

Movies are not life. They’re better. That’s why we watch them and worship their stars. Those 120 minutes in a dark theatre are a chance to dream big and live vicariously. While millions of us want to be Jason Bourne, few of us will actually join the CIA.

Yet, every once in a while, a film comes along that offers an adventure within reach – at least theoretically.

Wild, which opened in Toronto on Friday and stars Reese Witherspoon, is the story of Cheryl Strayed, who found happiness by hiking 1,770 kilometres of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2005 at the age of 26. Her memoir of the brutal journey sold in the millions. Talk about the fruits of adversity.

Full article information here...



On January 12, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) announced its intention to require hikers to have permits to use State Game Lands (SGLs), and to ban non-hunter use of SGLs during certain periods of time. (Here is the PGC's latest proposal, in case you haven't yet had a chance to read it.)

Last week, Keystone Trails Association's Action Alerts reached an unprecedented number of outdoors enthusiasts in and around Pennsylvania, as hikers, backpackers, and trail-walkers -- in addition to rock and ice climbers, cavers, birders, conservationists, wildlife photographers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers -- shared our message with their mailing lists and social networks.

silver-keyboard2.jpg Hundreds of you took the time to e-mail us - and the PGC - your questions, comments, and concerns about their proposal.  The response and show of support from all of you has been overwhelming -- thank you!

The result?  The PGC has removed the proposal from their board's January 27 meeting agenda.  They stated that their "board received hundreds of public comments about the proposal and wants to allow more time to properly consult with hunters, conservation partners and elected officials about it."  Here is the full PGC press release, sent earlier today.

Full article information here...