Sunday, October 16, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - October 2016

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

Our last busy weekend is happening now and hopefully lots of visitors are getting to see our exhibits.  The grounds are looking good and before long, the old grist mill will be going to sleep for a while.  

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


Troop 551 Comes to Work at the Museum 

Back in September, Barry Flicker, our steadfast groundskeeper, brought 22 Boy Scouts and 13 adults for a weekend at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  Along with camping and hiking, the boys came to the Museum to do a service project. 

As the ramp work had continued, we had moved a lot of dirt around on the North side of the building.  The scouts came in and helped spread it all out.  They also moved a lot of rocks closer to the building where we will reconstruct the old mill race and also moved all the construction debris to the back of the building.  The scouts capped it all off by planting a tree and staining the benches at the front of the building.  

The troop had started out Saturday morning on a 5.3 mile guided hike led by Forest Ranger Todd Ottinger, Michaux State Forest Ranger,  and  culminated at the AT Museum where the troop had lunch and a training session on “leave no trace” as presented by Ms. Marian Orlousky, Northern Resource Management Coordinator for the AT Trail Conservancy. 

The Troop accomplished many goals for advancement on their hike with Ranger Ottinger from Woodrow Road to the Museum. They identified plants, trees, wildlife, and completed the morning with Ms. Orlousky’s informational training session about the proper way to safe-guard the trail along with the “ leave no trace lesson” and history of the trail.  The scouts received a badge for the completion of this training.

Mr. Ed Riggs then spoke to the Troop and guided them on a tour of the Museum. After the tour, the Troop made short work of the task at hand as they skillfully completed the tasks we had set out for them.

The difference was night and day for anyone who has been keeping track.  That whole area is really coming together with the ramp work finishing up with Jack and his crew, the plantings that are going in supervised by Howard and now this troop's work. It is all starting to look like a finished product.

We still have some work to do, but Troop 551 really helped bring it together.

The Search Has Ended

After several months of interviews and ten serious applicants, the A.T. Museum Hiring Committee consisting of Larry Luxenberg, Gwen Loose and Margy Schmidt have selected and offered my job as manager to Nathaniel Shank.  He has graciously accepted. 

Nathaniel is from nearby Fairfield, PA and currently works as a Naturalist at the Strawberry Hill Preserve and as a Cider Room manager in Biglerville.  Nathaniel has also completed traverses of the Pacific Crest Trail and the A.T.  

I have started the process of overwhelming Nathaniel with all the duties and responsibilities I have to pass on.  I'm pretty sure his head is spinning and I have only just begun.  He is a quick study though and is rapidly coming up to speed.

Please welcome Nathaniel and help him to be as successful as I have been.  He can't do it without you.

Next month we will learn a little more about Nathaniel as he writes his first article for this Newsletter.  

Ramp Update 

Just a few more pictures of the ramp as it nears completion.

The Scouts made quick work of the piles of dirt and slag
Some more trees go in
Brick work almost done
Just one section left (it has since been completed)

Things Coming Down the Trail

October 15th and 16th, 2016 - Fall Furnace Fest
October 30th, 2016 - Museum closes for the season
October 31st, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
November 20th, 2016 - Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Thursday, September 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - September 2016

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

We are starting to get some nights that cool a bit more than the height of summer and the mornings are really refreshing at the Museum. Our season is winding down, but we still have some busy days to prepare for as we head towards October and the end of our seventh season.

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


Renovations Progress 

Ron and his crew and Jack and his have been busy all this season.  The basement is getting the finishing touches of track lighting for the Trail Walk and the second and third floor are moving along very nicely towards their next manifestation.  The ramp is very near completion and the trees are going up all around it, thanks to Howard and his crew, to blend it into the environment.  Needless to say, we truly appreciate all the hard work that everyone has donated to our cause and we can't wait for the day when we open the second floor as the main floor and have all our collections up in the resource library.  

Check out these recent pictures of the progress all around the Museum.

Figuring out the track lighting in the basement
Ramp progress
The "bridge"
Moving some dirt
Ed pounding a stake
End ramp and retaining wall. Ready for gravel and bricks
Second floor restroom layout.  The stud walls are actually already up.  Need a new photo.
Chestnut inspects the duct work. (Greg and Ron assist)
Third floor ceiling complete. Ready for some paint.

Stay tuned as the transformation continues.


THRU Makes Top Five List 

The Museum's intrepid traveling author, Richard Judy, just returned from a hike through the 100 mile wilderness, capped off with a summit of The Greatest Mountain (Katahdin) and he passed on this link to an interesting website. His book, THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story, made a list of the top five travel books ever written for women. You can check out the list here.

Have you read THRU yet?  We know you would enjoy it.

Happy Hiking and as Richard always says, "Stay vertical and keep walkin'".


Old Guide Books and the Tales They Tell 

Some recent artifact donations have given me some "wayback" pleasure lately.  I love maps and old guide books and love checking them out when someone donates interesting historic items.  Two items that I really enjoyed were donated by Douglas Harris.  The first one was the Guide to Paths in the Blue Ridge, published by the PATC and dated 1941.  I found it interesting that we are basically concerned about the same things when it comes to Trail Etiquette.  

Here is an excerpt from that chapter.
"This subject would seem a matter upon which comment should be totally unnecessary.  Rules of ordinary courtesy and consideration for others would seem an all-sufficient guide.  Unfortunately, of late, there have been increasing occurrences which have seriously threatened the continuance of the goodwill of those over whose lands the route passes."
In 1941, the trail passed through 50% of private land.  There was a real threat that a landowner would get fed up with bad behavior and remove permission to cross.

"Every traveler on The Appalachian Trail should realize that he is an emissary of the Conference, that his conduct and method of procedure will be beneficial or detrimental to those who follow."

I like this one:
"Again, recognize the sensibilities of those you come in contact with on the matter of too abbreviated clothing."
It continues:
"A word might be said as to the matter of beards.  It is somewhat unfortunate for the impression created that many hikers consider a trail trip as an opportunity to grow a beard which has little except its originality for commendation."
"In short, there is no problem presently more pressing or serious in the keeping open for public use of these Trail systems than these unnecessary abuses of privilege.  Particularly wanton have been the abuses experienced at lean-tos and public campsites...  These problems can't be overemphasized.  If trails and shelters are to remain available, those who make use of them must be worthy of them."
Looking at the maps that are included in the book was also super fun.  It is very interesting to see that back in 1941, the trail crossed the Susquehanna one mountain south of Duncannon.  Well, it didn't actually cross.  To get from the bottom of North Mountain (now called Blue Mountain on both sides of the river) on the Western side of the river at Overview, to the Eastern side, you had to take a bus down to Enola, then a trolley would take you across the river (toll 5 cents) and then up the other side to Linglestown Road, where you would continue your hike.  The whole trip was about 10 miles.  

An interesting side note, more of a disclaimer, followed the transportation instructions:
"The Pennsylvania Railroad bridge crosses the river app. 1 m. north of Overview.  It is used locally although there is no footway; persons crossing the bridge are trespassers and liable to arrest for violation of law.  This bridge is no part of The Appalachian Trail."
Something I found fascinating was looking back in history to the different routes the trail took across Cumberland Valley and through our own area.  Using another map from 1974-84 that Carolyn "Freckles" Banjak donated, I was able to track three distinct routes across the valley.  The three images below are a graphic presentation of the re-routes over the years.


1941 - After running along North (Blue) Mountain, the trail crosses the valley on roads to rise back up at Center Point Knob.

1984 - Running through Duncannon now and up Cove Mountain.  Still a lot of road walking before Center Point Knob
2016 - The Trail as it runs today.  Now going through Boiling Springs
and hardly any road walking as it follows the small ridge (Stoney Ridge) and field edges.
I have known for awhile that the trail had run a little different around Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  The old maps confirmed it.  Heading Trail South, after coming down Piney Mountain, the trail crossed Mountain Creek right at the Park boundary and ran up to Pine Grove Rd., where it led to Old Shippensburg Road, continuing on towards Toms Run, past a long gone one hundred year old cabin that hikers could use called the Farm House, before heading towards the CCC camp.  

Here are the remnants of the bridge that used to cross Mountain Creek.
One of the other artifacts was a pamphlet from 1949 (the year after Earl Shaffer's Thru Hike), titled Suggestions For Appalachian Trail Users.  

I found this passage interesting, under the title of Use of the Appalachian Trail:
"The Appalachian Trail is intended for use generally by those who find pleasure in woods walking.  The desire to walk and the physical ability to make the trip undertaken are the only requisites...   
The Appalachian Trail was originated as a trail which for all practical purposes should be endless.  It in fact affords a route where one may spend vacation periods or the lesser time of weekends for practically a lifetime, yet always find some new terrain or area for exploration or further travel.  This condition, however, does not imply that the Trail is maintained for use only to travel from one terminus to the other as a through trip.  Such expeditions are somewhat in the nature of "stunts"... 
The availability of the Trail for one- or two-day trips should not be overlooked."

Appalachian Odyssey completes our Sunday Public Program Schedule 

Jeff Ryan, author of Appalachian Odyssey, came by the Museum at the end of August and presented a very good program on his new book.  He had a lot of great photos and stories and read a page or two from his writings.  It was a great way to finish the program season and we had a great turnout.  Next season, we hope to have many interesting topics to present.  If you have a topic you want to see or even present, let us know.

Jeff enthrals the crowd.

Things Coming Down the Trail

September 19th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
October 10th, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
October 15th and 16th, 2016 - Fall Furnace Fest
October 30th, 2016 - Museum closes for the season
October 31st, 2016 - Road Scholar Hike
November 20th, 2016 - Volunteer Recognition Dinner

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