Virginia Regional

February 2017

Spring is quickly approaching (some days it seems to already be here), and with it come lots of exciting events and opportunities.  Read on to see what's been happening in southwest Virginia and what's to come.

And don't miss the Volunteer Of the Month--RATC's own Diana Christopulos!

Registration Open for Konnarock Trail Crew!

Registration is now open for Konnarock and all ATC Trail Crews!  Thanks to hundreds of dedicated volunteers, these Trail Crews are a big part of protecting and enhancing the A.T. experience all the way from Georgia to Maine.  Last year, all six crews contributed a remarkable 17,413 hours of volunteer labor to protect and improve the Appalachian Trail!

The 2017 season for Konnarock, the flagship Trail Crew based in Sugar Grove, Virginia, runs from May 3rd through August 9th.  Konnarock Crew weeks are 5 days long covering projects from Rockfish Gap, VA down to the Trail's southern terminus at Springer Mountain in Georgia.

To get an idea of what it's like to work on a Trail Crew, don't miss this "Trail Angel's" video that was filmed on the Rocky Top Crew this past fall.

For more information, and to register, visitappalachiantrail.org/crews

Video Recognizes A.T. Community Partner

The latest video in the #myATstory series features Sonu Chawla, an A.T. Community partner in Pearisburg, Virginia.  

"Contagious Love" tells the story of Sonu, who moved from India to the small town of Pearisburg, Virginia.  As co-owner of the Holiday Lodge, Sonu began to see many Appalachian Trail hikers pass through and quickly fell in love with the A.T. Community.

"Sonu is not a hiker nor someone you might expect to value the wilderness adventure of the trail, but she recognizes the value of the Trail to her community," said Kathryn Herndon-Powell, education and outreach coordinator for the ATC. 

Watch the video here and learn more about the A.T. Community Program here.

Welcome SAWS' New Virginia Office!

Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), a Wilderness focused conservation non-profit, opened a new regional office in Roanoke last month. SAWS is a 501c(3) focused on educating, cultivating and empowering an engaged public for the stewardship of protected public lands.

SAWS has worked closely with ATC and A.T. maintaining trail clubs for years, based out of its Asheville, North Carolina office. We're excited to welcome SAWS to Virginia, where the A.T. travels through or adjacent to 14 spectacular Wilderness areas!

The Roanoke-based office will focus on the partnership role SAWS plays for the stewardship of federally designated Wilderness areas and other undeveloped landscapes on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The new office location, collocated with ATC and the Forest Supervisor’s Office, allows SAWS to strengthen their relationship with the GWJeff and foster new relationships with the Virginia conservation community.

This coming year, in partnership with the US Forest Service, SAWS will employ four Wilderness Rangers to educate visitors, and work on priority monitoring and assessment projects in 18 Wilderness areas. In addition, SAWS will launch an innovative partnership with the United States Naval Academy, connecting Midshipmen to their public lands through stewardship and leadership opportunities.

The SAWS office is staffed by Eric Giebelstein. Eric came to SAWS in 2013 and has worked seasonally in various capacities for SAWS and ATC, including a season as a Wilderness Ranger on the GWJeff in 2014. He is looking forward to connecting with the conservation community in Virginia. If you’d like to learn more about SAWS in Virginia, visitwww.wildernessstewards.org or email Eric at ericgiebelstein@trailcrews.org.
A.T. Community Supporter: Buena Vista's Amish Cupboard

Have you ever seen this logo in a storefront? If so, you've seen a friendly A.T. Community™ Supporter in one of our region's designated A.T. Communities™! Supporters are non–profits, organizations, and businesses that provide support to the hiking community, the A.T., the local maintaining club and/or the ATC. We'll be highlighting one Supporter each month in this newsletter!

Next time you find yourself in Buena Vista, stop in and see owner Deb Bollinger at The Amish Cupboard. Over the past few years, The Amish Cupboard has greatly expanded their hiker-friendly products and services. Deb initially noticed that hikers loved bulk items like nuts, dried fruit, and soup mixes, and started offering them in small quantities perfect for the weight-obsessed hiker. Now the Amish Cupboard holds mail packages for hikers and stocks all sorts of sundry items--from A.T. guidebooks to poison ivy remedies, stove fuel, instant coffee, shoelaces and gloves--that hikers have come looking for. Thanks for helping to make Buena Vista so Trail-friendly, Amish Cupboard!
Join us at an Upcoming Event

Spring brings with it lots of fun events for ATC staff and volunteers.  We hope you can join us at one of these great events!

Virginia's Outdoor Lover's Expo: April 22, 2017
Radford, Virginia

Formerly known as the Southwest Virginia Outdoor Expo, this full weekend event promotes outdoor adventure in southwest Virginia and offers plenty of fun, FREE activities for everyone.

Virginia Creeper Fest: April 29, 2017 
Abingdon, Virginia

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Virginia Creeper Trail, this event will feature hands-on activities for all ages, food vendors and live music.

Trail Days: May 19-21, 2017
Damascus, Virginia

The Appalachian Trail Days Festival is an annual event held in Trail Town USA: Damascus, Virginia!  This event celebrates hikers and trail enthusiasts with events, vendors, music and a Hiker Parade!  We hope you can join us for the 31st annual Trail Days this year.

Follow on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

Forward to a Friend

In This Issue

Registration Open for Trail Crew Volunteers

Video Recognizes A.T. Community Partner

Welcome SAWS' New Virginia Office

Highlighting A.T. Community Supporters

Join us for an Upcoming Event

Crumbsnatcher's Corner

Contact Our Clubs







Crumbsnatcher's Corner: Interview with an ATC Intern

Jane Rice is an Environmental Studies student at Roanoke College, and an intern in ATC's Virginia Regional Office this semester! I asked her my most burning questions:

Crumbsnatcher:  First things first, what's your favorite snack to eat on the trail?
Jane:  I am a huge fruit gummy snack fan when it comes to trail snacks.

CS: What made you want to intern with ATC?
JR:  I am eager to gain experiences, and have always loved hiking/ being outdoors. When I came to Roanoke College I hiked on the AT for the first time at McAfee Knob and had a new fondness for the A.T.

CS:  What will you be working on for your internship?
JR:  For the internship I am helping expand Trail Karma via social media to reach new audiences, recruiting volunteers for Konnarock, and assisting the VARO clubs with their social media platforms. 

CS:  How can I find out more about Trail Karma?
JR:  You can find out more about Trail Karma by either going to trailkarma.com or following on Facebook,Instagram, and Twitter.  Check out and use #trailkarma to find some cool stuff!

CS:  Do you have a favorite hike here in Virginia?
JR:  My favorite hike I have done in Virginia so far has been Sharp Top Mountain at Peaks of Otter. It is amazing, highly recommend! 

Volunteer of the Month

Diana Christopulos - Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

Diana Christopulos and her partner Mark McClain retired to Salem, Virginia, in 2003. Diana joined the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) even before their furniture had arrived and went on her first club hike few days after they closed on their house.

Diana has taken on leadership roles in conservation and community organizations and is currently president of both RATC and the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition. She also serves on the boards of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy and the Council of Community Services and is an active member of the Roanoke Women’s Foundation.

RATC is responsible for more than 120 miles of the A.T., including the popular McAfee Knob section. Management challenges there include high-visitation impacts (like litter and graffiti), problem bear activity, safety concerns around a busy parking lot, illegal camping, and alcohol-fueled parties. Diana helped found the McAfee Knob Task Force, about 30 volunteers working with a paid seasonal ridgerunner to help keep people safe, teach them about protecting natural resources, and provide other information. Their presence has had a positive impact.

Diana believes in recruiting good people of all ages and encouraging and supporting them. RATC has seen a dramatic membership increase over the past few years, attributed to using Facebook and Meetup to get the word out about work hikes, social events, trail closures and alerts, and other news. RATC welcomes new members individually and also hosts a monthly hiker happy hour jointly with ATC that helps people get to know each other. The McAfee Knob Task Force has brought in a new group of volunteers of all ages—college students and faculty, doctors, school administrators, and retirees.

Read More

Upcoming Events

*For more information, contact Kathryn Herndon atkherndon@appalachiantrail.org*
Hiker Happy Hour
Lynchburg, VA
-- March 1, 2017 --

Hiker Happy Hour
Blacksburg, VA
-- March 7, 2017 --

Southern Partnership Meeting
Regional A.T. Community Summit

Black Mountain, NC
-- March 10-11, 2017 --

Hiker Happy Hour
Salem, VA
-- March 15, 2017 --

Crosscut Sawyer Certification & Recertification
Sherando Lake, VA
-- March 18-19, 2017 --

"Meaning of Wild" Film Screening
Salem, VA
-- March 20, 2017 --

Hiker Happy Hour
Virginia Beach, VA
-- March 23, 2017 --

Chainsaw Sawyer Certification
Sherando Lake, VA
-- March 25-26, 2017 -

Crosscut Sawyer Certification & Recertification

Sugar Grove, VA
-- April 1-2, 2017 --

Leave No Trace Trainer Course
Sugar Grove, VA
-- April 20-21, 2017 --

Southwest Virginia Outdoor Expo
Radford, VA
-- April 22, 2017 -

Virginia Creeper Trail Fest

Abingdon, VA
-- April 29, 2017 -

Chainsaw Sawyer Certification

Sugar Grove, VA
-- April 29-30, 2017 -

31st Annual Trail Days

Damascus, VA
-- May 19-21, 2017 -

ATC Biennial

Colby College
Waterville, ME
-- August 4-11, 2017 -

Get Involved

Become a Member

Volunteer Today

Join a Trail Crew


friend on Facebook | follow on Twitter | photos on Flickr | forward to a friend

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. To become a member, volunteer, or learn more, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.

Our mailing address is:
Southwest and Central Virginia Regional Office
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke VA 24013
Copyright © 2015  |  All rights reserved.


Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (c). 
P.O. Box 25283 
Richmond, VA 23260-5283
Contact us