Monday, August 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - August 2016

August 2016
Brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

As Summer winds towards Fall, the Museum continues to welcome visitors.  Later this month we shift our hours once again to Wednesdays through Sundays, Noon to 4:00 pm.  We have a few special request openings coming up as the Museum remains a popular place for groups to visit.

Thanks to all of you for your help.  It is certainly appreciated.


WITF Visits Pine Grove Furnace State Park 

The local NPR radio station out of Harrisburg, came to the park last Monday and taped a show that featured, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, myself for a short time, Freckles and Drag'N Fly, two of our volunteers and Class of 2014 Thru Hikers and Andre Weltman, our local historian and Chairman of the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace.  

Scott LaMar and Secretary Cindy Dunn
The day was pretty much perfect and the audience chairs were almost full.  We had quite a good turnout.  As the technicians set everything else, a slight problem with the Wifi made them change their plans from a live broadcast to a taped show that would be aired later in the week.  

The topics were pretty interesting starting with Secretary Dunn talking about the state's parks and letting me talk a little about the Museum, its latest improvements and the Hiking Culture that we all become a part of when we set foot on the Trail.
Scott, Drag'N Fly and Freckles
Later Drag'N Fly and Freckles talked about their hike and we finished up with Andre talking about the history of the Park and its ironmaking past.
Andre Weltman, the best dressed radio star
If you missed the airing of the program, you can go listen to it on their website Here.

Very nice audience
Photos courtesy of Jim Foster

Renovation Progress

The Museum continues to transform into a larger exhibit space with the help of our wonderful volunteers.  Jack Adams leads the crew that is building the ramp to the second floor and Ron Bungay leads the two upper floors work.  Howard Davis has also been doing a lot of tree planting with the help of Jay Sexton and Dan Taylor.

Jack's team consists of Al Black, Chuck Strehl, Ed Riggs and Howard Davis.

Ron's team is made up of Carol Bungay, Jeff Seal, Margy Schmidt, Randy Fishback and Mike Wingeart.

The ramp is nearing completion and the upper two stories are transforming each week.  Soon we will start the planning of the new exhibits for the second floor and start moving all the books and other resource items to the top floor library.

We couldn't do it without the help of these great volunteers.  Our thanks is huge.


Fall Furnace Fest Events at the Museum

On October 15th and 16th the Park will have its Fall Furnace Fest.  This is usually our biggest day as far as visitor count.  I am planning for us to be open the full day on both days and will be running two shifts each day, just like in the summer.  We are also going to set up the Make Your Own Trail Mix booth on the grounds.  If you have the time to help out during this busy weekend, we sure do appreciate it.    

Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner

I have scheduled this year's Dinner for November 20th this year.  We will be at the Ironmasters again and we will keep the early schedule again with the event starting a 1:00 pm with dinner at 2:00 pm and the recognition after that.  I hope everyone can make it.  More details to follow.  I just wanted to let everyone know the date.

Things Coming Down the Trail

August 21st, 2016 - Program: Hiking the Trail and Rarely Sleeping in the Woods
August 28th, 2016 - Program: Appalachian Odyssey 
September 12th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
September 19th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
October 10th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
October 15th and 16th, 2016 - Fall Furnace Fest
October 31st, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
November 20th, 2016 - Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Friday, July 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - July 2016

July 2016
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

The peak of the NOBO Thru Hiker crowd has most likely passed, but we still have a lot of hikers coming into the Museum.  Most are very full from eating ice cream, but we know that in a few minutes they will be hungry again.  With the passing of the peak, our hours will scale back to Noon to 4PM and before too long, we will start to see the SOBOs come through the park.  

Thanks to all of you for your help.  It is certainly appreciated.


2016 Will Be A Banner Year At The Museum 

Each month I prepare a summary report that I send to the the Board of Directors.  It gives them, (and me), a good snapshot of how the Museum is doing throughout the season.  The report shows attendance, sales, donations and volunteer hours.  As I was preparing the June report early this month, I notice that for the last two months everything has been looking very promising.  June had the highest visitor count since our first two months back in 2010.  Our donations and sales were the highest ever.  This shows that people are really liking the Museum and our Docents are who make them like it.  

I'm sure "A Walk In The Woods" is partly responsible for this popularity, but we also think that our new Lower Level Children's Museum (suitable for all ages 2 to 200) is also drawing in more visitors.  

As business continues to Boom, we will continue to be there to welcome our visitors and show them the wonder of the Trail.  With all of you volunteers, that is possible.

A.T. Museum And The Park in the News 

The Museum has also been fortunate this year in the publicity department.  We have been featured or mentioned in a number of publications in the area.  Below are a few I have gathered in the last couple of weeks.  

Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine 

Main Line Today

The Half Gallon Challenge seems to be a popular news item this year.  Here are two videos on the topic.  The first one is from the York Daily Record and the second is from Fox 43.  

Programs Needed for August 

If you have checked out the Sunday Public Programs page recently, you will see that the month of August still has slots open for presenting our public programs.  If you have something you would like to present, or know someone who might be interested in presenting a topic, let me know and we will get it scheduled.  

Things Coming Down the Trail

July 17th, 2016 - Program: Backpacking with a Dog
July 24th, 2016 - Program: Starting out Halfway... WV, MD and PA on the A.T. 
July 31st, 2016 - Program: You Don't Know What You Got 'til It's Gone
August 28th, 2016 - Program: Appalachian Odyssey 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - June 2016

June 2016
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

Business is boomin' at the Museum this June.  There are lots of hikers coming through and our visitor counts are rising.  The weather is rather pleasant and our new Children's Museum is a hit.  The grounds around the museum have been transformed with some great landscape additions and the ramp is nearing completion.

Thanks to all of you for your help.  It is certainly appreciated.


A.T. Hall of Fame Inducts Four 

We had a record crowd at the Allenberry Resort on Friday, June 3rd as we held our sixth annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet.  Everyone gathered in the carriage house for some good music by Windtalker, good food provided by the Allenberry, good comments by our emcee, DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn and great speeches by the inductees. 

Honored were Maurice Forrester, Horace Kephart, our own Larry Luxenberg and Henry Arch Nichols.  The HOF committee had the pleasure of having Charter HOF Member Gene Espy present Larry his Hiking Stick (fondly referred to as a Bodhi or Bo D. HOFman)

Maurice Forrester
Horace Kephart
Larry Luxenberg
Henry Arch Nichols
You can read more about the four honorees on our website in the News section.  

New Children's Museum Opens

Saturday, June 4th continued the busy weekend where we dedicated and opened our new lower level Children's Museum to the public.  A crowd of around 60 visitors gathered around as the speakers talked about all the thought and work that went into creating this space dedicated to the future of the trail, our children.

Gwen speaks to the crowd before the ribbon cutting
Margy and Gwen prepare to open the door to a whole new Museum experience
Your journey starts here...
The space was opened for all to enjoy and the day continued with a Children's Festival.

We had music, a trail mix table, story telling and other activities.  We didn't let the early afternoon showers dampen our spirits as the day was full of excitement.

Jennifer reads one of her stories to the gathered children
Later, we had a Volunteer Picnic followed by a couple of our honorees from the night before telling their stories of the trail and their love of its beauty.  

It was a very good day for the Museum.

Visitors enjoy the Reading Hut

Welcome Our New Intern

After our first 2016 intern prospect fell through, I feared that we would not have the help that we have been lucky to have each summer at the Museum since it opened.  About two weeks ago, I received a call from Tim Atwell, a recent Messiah College grad, who still needed to do his internship.  I eagerly accepted his proposal and we set him up as our Programs Intern.  

Tim introduces Eric who told us all the scary details of ticks and Lyme
and the steps to take to protect yourself at last Sunday's Program
In addition to serving as a Docent, Tim will be helping with the Sunday Public Programs each weekend for the next two months.  Tim isn't your typical college undergrad.  He's a tad older, has a family and a full time job and has served in the Military.  

If you are around on any of the next several weekends, please welcome Tim to the A.T. Museum family.

Program Added for June 26th

We have added a presentation for the June 26th slot that had been vacant in the Programs schedule.

At 2:00 pm, Tim Atwell, (our intern) will present:

The Necessity of Adventure Experiences in Modern Youth

In the 1930’s, German educator, Kurt Hahn, identified six social declines that hindered the proper development of youth. In response, he developed a school called Outward Bound which is considered the foundation of modern day adventure education. 

Recognizing that these declines are evident in today’s youth, a two week-long wilderness backpacking experience was designed to specifically address these issues. This experience was provided by the Messiah College Office of Adventure Programming, and was designed, implemented, and evaluated by Tim Atwell, an Adventure Education Major Senior. 

Come listen to Tim discuss his findings. You may not be surprised that there were gains made in all of the 6 declines, especially around the areas related to mental toughness.

This seems like a very interesting topic.  We still have a lot of vacant slots for August this year.  If you have a presentation you would like to give, let me know and we will get you on the schedule.  See all our Program Descriptions on our Programs Page.  

Positions Available at the Museum

Some of you might already be aware of this, but it is time to make the announcement.  

I have decided to step down as manager at the end of this season.  You see, there is this trail... That people like to hike for a real long time...  That's what I want to do.  That's what I need to do.  So, with that said, we need to find my replacement.

I won't be leaving until the end of the year, so the search is only beginning.  I hike in 2017.

I have proposed to the board, and they are in the process of ironing out the details, of splitting my job into two positions.  We feel that this will separate the two parts of the job so that more direct effort can be placed on both.

Here is the plan so far (subject to amendment and alteration by the board)

A.T. Museum Manager - The manager will be responsible for retail sales and stocking, building and grounds maintenance, Road Scholar Hikes, event planning and outreach.  The manager will also directly supervise the Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteer Coordinator (Asst Manager) - The Volunteer Coordinator will be responsible for recruiting, training and scheduling the docents and other volunteers, manage the Sunday Public Programs, supervise any interns, and help with event planning and outreach.  

So if any of this strikes you as something you might want to take on, stand by for additional information and an official announcement.  I certainly would love to have members of the current A.T. Museum family step into the job(s).  Your experience and familiarity with the Museum's processes would definitely be a plus.

Things Coming Down the Trail

June 19th, 2016 - Program: Drag'N Fly and Freckles
June 26th, 2016 - Program: The Necessity of Adventure Experiences in Modern Youth
June 27th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
July 3rd, 2016 - Program: Hiker Picnic and Stories
July 10th, 2016 - Program: Wild Edibles
July 17th, 2016 - Program: Backpacking with a Dog
July 24th, 2016 - Program: Starting out Halfway... WV, MD and PA on the A.T. 

Leonard Adam "Baltimore Jack" Tarlin - 1958 - 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - May 2016

May 2016
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

The Museum has been open for more than a month now and the numbers have been pretty impressive.  There are still some slow days, which will continue until the schools let out, but each day seems to have an interesting mix of visitors.  

Thanks to all of you for your help.  It is certainly appreciated.


Big Weekend Coming up for the Museum 

The first weekend in June when National Trails Day is celebrated, has always been a busy time for the Museum.  This year will be no different and the significance of this year's events will be great.  

On Friday, June 3rd at 6 pm, we will assemble at the Allenberry Resort to induct four honorees who have made significant impacts to the Trail and Trail Culture.  Among them will be our own A.T. Museum Society President, Larry Luxenberg.  You can read about all the inductees on the News page of the website.  Buy your tickets here.

On Saturday, June 4th, the excitement continues with the Grand Opening of our new lower level Children's Area that has been in the works for several months.  The ribbon cutting and dedication will take place at 10 am.  After that we will have a Children's Festival with music, story telling, Leave No Trace activities, a survival lesson, a Nature Scavenger Hunt, a make your own Trail Mix table and more.

Bring your kids, tell your fiends and come to the A.T. Museum to help us celebrate.

The Volunteer Picnic will also take place on Saturday for all prior, present and aspiring volunteers at the museum.  We will try to feed all comers, as we show our appreciation for our volunteers and welcome any interested parties who want to help the Museum.

You can sign up to help with the Festival and Cookout here.

Ramps and Trees and Exhibits, Oh My 

There has been a flurry of activity going on around the Museum inside and out.  The ramp looks closer to completion every day and the new trees look comfortable in their new homes.  The exhibits are scheduled to start going into the basement on Thursday in preparation for the grand opening and work continues on the renovations/restorations on every floor of the old Grist Mill.  

Ramp progress (this is a couple of weeks ago)
Work crew installs White Pine
The A.T. Museum is due to blossom like a flower over the next year or so.  Stay tuned.  

The reading hut area
Trees in their new home
Ramp decking going in

Movie Screen Plays to Full House 

Our May 1st screening of the wonderful film: Trail Magic.  The true story of Emma "Grandma" Gatewood was a success.  The lower level was standing room only as we were able to welcome director Peter Houston who introduced the film and answered questions from the visitors.  Everyone appeared to have enjoyed the story about one of our Hall of Fame inductees.  We do have a copy of the film and will be showing it from time to time on the TV screen in the Hiker Lounge.

Director Peter Houston introduces film to a full house

Sunday Public Programs 

After a couple early presentations, our annual Sunday Public Programs are scheduled to begin on June 5th and will continue throughout the summer.  You can get more information about each of the programs by going to our Public Programs page.  We still have some open slots later in the season.  If you have a program you want to present or maybe know of a program that might be a good fit with the Museum, let us know.  

Another Sad Passing 

The A.T. world has lost another legendary personality.  On May 4th, Leonard Adam "Baltimore Jack" Tarlin, passed away suddenly from congestive heart failure.  "Jack" had become a constant fixture all along the trail, offering advice and stories to all who hiked by.  His absence will be felt from Springer to Katahdin.  

"Baltimore Jack" carved by Tom Logsdon

Things Coming Down the Trail

June 3rd, 2016 - Sixth Annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet
June 4th, 2016 - A.T. Museum Children's Festival - National Trails Day
June 5th, 2016 - Program: With Pickaxes, Rakes, and Shovels: A Pictorial History of the AT in WV, MD and PA.
June 12th, 2016 - Program: Lyme Disease Prevention

June 13th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
June 19th, 2016 - Program: Drag'N Fly and Freckles
June 27th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
July 3rd, 2016 - Program: Hiker Picnic and Stories
July 10th, 2016 - Program: Wild Edibles

Larry the snake enjoys the sun while it lasted

Friday, April 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - April 2016

April 2016
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

We are now open for business and we have had some good visitor numbers already.  

We had a very good clean up day and five informative orientation sessions and things are going pretty good.

You may have heard that I have been having some back issues.  They are slowing me down, but I hope to be back up to speed soon.  Right now, I'm moving pretty slow and my work at the Museum is suffering.  Thanks to all those who are giving me that extra help.  It is certainly appreciated.

We are Open.

Clean Up Day 

Saturday, the 19th was Clean Up Day.  We had a good showing and a large troop of Boy Scouts (Troop 105 from Exton, PA) stopped by to help with the outside chores.  They really sped up the process and helped get the building and the grounds ready for the season.

Most of the helpers of the day.  
Thanks to all who helped.  It was a great day.  The weather held steady and we had some nice food to eat donated by the volunteers.  

The pines that Howard and the scouts "relocated" to their new home behind the ramp.

Volunteer Picnic 

I had to postpone the picnic since I was unable to do what I would have had to do to make this happen.  We will attempt to reschedule later in the year or maybe just include it in the festivities of the June 4th Children's Festival when we dedicate the lower level Children's Exhibit.  Sorry about that.  

Board Meeting 

On April 3rd, history was made when the Appalachian Trail Society Board of Directors held their first meeting inside the Museum proper.  The setting was spartan and rough, but much progress was made as the members made their reports and discussed strategy and this season's plans.  

ATMS Board of Directors Meeting

First Program of the Season 

Normally our Sunday Public Programs start around Memorial Day, but this year we had a special program presented by Gwen Loose and Jess Culton as we participate in the Longwood Garden's Community Read Program.

Gwen starts the show with some history
The topic was "Following in the Footsteps of Emma 'Grandma' Gatewood - Stories of Today's Female Long-Distance Hikers.  The basement was full by 2 pm when the program started with Gwen giving us a great history lesson about the women who hike the trail.  It was very interesting and informative.  Jess "Stretch" Culton followed up with a fabulous presentation of her two Thru Hikes (AT and PCT) with the perfect visual accompaniment of several dozen wonderful photos.  The audience sat in rapt attention as Stretch told her trail stories that reveal the unique culture that is long distance hiking.  

Stretch finishes up with some great advice.
Jess's presentation also covered some good advice that every hiker should be aware of.  It was a very successful presentation here at the Museum.  


Things Coming Down the Trail

April 16th-17th, 2016 - ATC Flip Flop Kick Off - Harpers Ferry, WV
April 25th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
May 1st, 2016 - Program: Screening of "Trail Magic - The Grandma Gatewood Story"
May 9th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
May 13th-15th, 2016 - Trail Days - Damascus, VA
June 3rd, 2016 - Sixth Annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet
June 4th, 2016 - A.T. Museum Children's Festival - National Trails Day
June 5th, 2016 - Program: With Pickaxes, Rakes, and Shovels: A Pictorial History of the AT in WV, MD and PA.
June 12th, 2016 - Program: Lyme Disease Prevention

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - March 2016

March 2016
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

The snow has melted. The flowers are ready to bloom. The breeze is warming and the Museum is stirring from its winter slumber.  As the excitement builds towards opening day at the A.T. Museum, there are many tasks to do and there are many hands standing by, ready to do them.

This season we plan to see the opening of the ground floor Children's Area and the transformation of the second floor into more exhibit space.  Great things continue to happen at the Museum and we are doing our best to keep thing fresh and interesting.  

I look forward to welcoming back all of our amazing volunteers and visitors for another season at the Museum.  Soon the old Grist Mill will echo with voices telling their stories and the waft of hiker "musk" will be prevalent in the Hiker Lounge.  

2016 Halfway Point - Just north of Dead Woman's Hollow Rd.

Clean Up Day 

Saturday, the 19th is Clean Up Day.  Bring your rakes, clippers and gloves and help as we spruce up the joint for next week's opening.  

Volunteer Picnic 

I have scheduled this year's Volunteer Picnic for April 16th.  This picnic is for all those who give their time to the A.T. Museum or are interested in getting involved.  We think of it as a nice meet and greet with all the greeters and other volunteers.  I perfect way to get to know each other.  

There will be dogs and burger and all the other nice things that a picnic entails, especially getting together in our shared passion.  You can sign up to help with the food at the handy dandy VolunteerSpot Group Page

Trail Re-Route for Prescribed Burning (An excuse for a hike)

I got wind that a work party from the PATC that was going to install a couple Kiosks and work out a re-route of the trail up near Dead Woman's Hollow Rd, where the PA Forest Service was planning on doing a couple of prescribed burns to enhance the ridge line environment for pitch pine and scrub oak habitat.  Back in ancient times, wild fires would move through the mountains clearing the hubris and helping these habitats (which need a periodic burn) to thrive.  There are even tales of pioneers burning the ridge tops to help with this as it would provide good blue berry (huckleberry) and acorn growth.  With today's excellent fire watching, natural burns don't happen very often, so man must step in and help nature a bit.  I'm not sure exactly when the burns (and temp re-route) will happen but it could be any time between now and next fall.

Map that shows re-route and burn plan
I used this information to plan a little loop hike in the general area.  I parked at the small lot at Dead Woman's Hollow Rd (where people park who are using the nearby PATC cabin called Anna Michener.)  I crossed Ridge Rd and quickly saw the markers for the new trail.  This new cutting ran a short ways until it hit an established bike trail called three mile trail.  From there it was an easy walk paralleling the road and AT for about 1.6 miles.  

Kiosk at Dead Woman's Hollow Rd.  It will contain
information of the habitat restoration and the re-route
After that short distance, there is another trail cutting that takes you back to Ridge Rd and the forest road that goes into the Private Tumbling Run Preserve.  

"double blaze" taking me back to the road on the re-route
As I headed back towards my car along the A. T., I saw a sign explaining the habitat maintenance and when I saw the sign for the cabin, I decided to finally check the place out and maybe eat my lunch there.  After a short walk, I was at the cabin.

Sign explaining the habitat work
Anna Michener Cabin.  A future rental for me, for sure.
I sat out at the table and ate a nice Wawa lunch and then decided to hike out along the Dead Woman's Hollow trail.  This trial finished the perfect loop that ended up around 4.5 miles.  On the way back I took a little detour down a small forest road to a cool meadow that has a bunch of planted fruit and nut trees.  I had noticed the open area on Google Maps and wanted to see what it was.  I found a piece of an old sign that said it was some kind of habitat project.  One thing I noted is that two of the trees are the perfect spacing for my hammock.  ;)  

Secret meadow up on the flat
Sign remnants.  Any of you locals have more information?
As I got back to my truck, I had the happy glow that a good hike gives me. I had been carrying my full pack and it had weighed in at around 30 lbs. (which is my usual weight.  No one will every call me Ultralight, but I try).

I will spread the word as the burns are announced and before long we will see a transformation of the area.  I look forward to see how things change.  

Hiker Information on our Museum Kiosk 

We have been planning for awhile to start using the back side of our Kiosk as a Hiker Information Area.  This year is when we make that happen.  I have a few signs to post there and we can add information on our local shuttle drivers and other stuff. If anyone has any ideas on what would be good "Hiker Info", let me know and we will get it posted.  


The Volunteer Sign Up Site 

As always, your one stop shop place to sign up for all things happening at the A.T. Museum is the  VolunteerSpot Group Page.  In addition to the Docent shift sign up, we have Road Scholar, Orientation, Picnic and Clean up sign ups.  It's never too early to start planning your season.  Thanks to all who give their time. 

Things Coming Down the Trail

March 18th, 2016 - First Orientation Session
March 19th, 2016 - 9 to Noonish - AT Museum Clean Up Day and Second Orientation Session. 
March 20th, 2016 - Third Orientation Session
March 25th, 2016 - Forth Orientation Session
March 26, 2016 - Last Orientation and AT Museum opens for the 2016 season
April 3rd, 2016 - Annual A.T. Museum Board Meeting
April 13th-14th, 2016 - Volunteer Backpacking Overnight
April 16th, 2016 - Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
April 16th-17th, 2016 - ATC Flip Flop Kick Off - Harpers Ferry, WV
April 25th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
May 9th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
May 13th-15th, 2016 - Trail Days - Damascus, VA
June 3rd, 2016 - Sixth Annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet
June 4th, 2016 - A.T. Museum Children's Festival - National Trails Day