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Park Partner Receives 2009 Northeast Region George and Helen Hartzog Award

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Date: November 29, 2010

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, also known as the PATC, has been recognized as an outstanding partner of Shenandoah National Park and the National Park Service. Shenandoah National Park Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Flynn recently presented PATC the prestigious 2009 National Park Service George and Helen Hartzog group award for the Northeast Region.

Donating nearly 25,000 hours of volunteer time, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club partnership accomplishments in 2009 contributed substantially to the conservation, preservation, and protection of valuable park resources, designated wilderness and visitor experiences in Shenandoah National Park. Using extensive volunteer resources and funding, the PATC supports the park by helping to maintain 300 miles of park trails, including 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail; performing recurring maintenance on more than a dozen historic backcountry structures; conducting volunteer trail patrols; educating the public about Leave No Trace ethics and the meaning of wilderness; and protecting public trail access along the park boundary. Much of PATC's support is immeasurable and intangible to the park, but an estimate of cash and in-kind value of services to the park in just one fiscal year exceeded $500,000.

Although the PATC has partnered with Shenandoah for nearly seventy-five years in the interest of supporting the Appalachian Trail and other trails and associated facilities for the enjoyment of hikers, they continue to expand and hone their partnership with the park. The efforts of the PATC in supporting the park mission are exemplified in their 2009 volunteer activities and contributions. The PATC continues to partner closely with the park to boost public interest in and subsequently boost public support for the trail system through cooperative public events and programs, including the co-sponsored National Trails Day and Wilderness Weekend events conducted in the park, and the Ridgerunner and Trail Patrol programs. These events and programs reached and involved many thousands of park visitors in 2009.

The PATC was established in November 1927 to help build the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the mid-Atlantic region. According to the PATC Mission Statement, "The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, through volunteer efforts, education and advocacy, acquires, maintains and protects the Trail and lands of the Appalachian Trail, other trails and related facilities in the mid-Atlantic region for the enjoyment of present and future hikers."

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is a non-profit volunteer organization and member club of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The PATC assumes responsibility for cooperative maintenance and visitor services along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) and many other foot trails and associated facilities in the Shenandoah National Park and in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The PATC and Shenandoah National Park have been jointly involved in the stewardship of trails since the Park's establishment in 1936.

The George B. Hartzog Jr. Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service were established by the National Park Service in memory of the former NPS Director who established the Volunteers-in-Parks program in 1969. The award honors National Park Service volunteers, volunteer groups, and park programs that go beyond the normal call of duty.

Did You Know?

The CCC Camp at Skyland (NP-1) was the first Civilian Conservation Camp in the National Park Service.

The first Civilian Conservation Corps camp in a national park was Shenandoah National Park’s NP-1 established near Skyland in May 1933. The second National Park Service camp was also in Shenandoah National Park, camp NP-2 at Big Meadows. More...