A Place To Start

We believe that the place to start… is in our communities. Americans living together and joining in associations across the country-this is where the tremendous strength and vision of our people will be tapped. We recommend a prairie fire of local action to sweep the nation, encouraging investment in outdoor recreation opportunities and re-dedication to the protection of our great natural heritage. – President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987.

Recently Heard on the Trail…

I have spent the past 26 years hiking the Appalachian Trail. I took one year off for my 25th wedding anniversary… In those 25 years I have traveled over 20,680 miles getting to the different sections of the A.T. I have tracked the miles but not the expense. I think it was worth it.

I would just like to make known that we might only represent 20% of the 2000-milers but we probably incur a much greater percentage of money spent on the trail.

I am an ATC member and will be for the rest of my life. Keep up the good work!

Edward D. Rakowsky
Frackville, PA


While the AT is a magnificent trail, what impressed us most during the five and a half months journey is people. Coming from New Zealand where trails are mostly maintained by government’s Department of Conservation, we were amazed to find the over 2,000 miles of trail completely maintained by volunteers to a very high standard! We were overwhelmed by the kindness of trail angels, people in the mountain towns along the trail who picked us up, sent us to the trailhead and received us with warmth. In short, our biggest reward for hiking the AT is to get to know American people, the ordinary American people.

Ian Song, Queenstown, New Zealand, ATC member

Veteran & Warrior Hike Founder to Be Honored at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Awards Gala

Washington, DC (April 29, 2014) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will recognize Sean Gobin, founder and executive director of Warrior Hike, during the fifth annual Leaders in Conservation Awards Gala on May 20, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Gobin will be honored with the ATC’s Special Achievement Award for his innovation, commitment and success in creating Warrior Hike’s “Walk Off The War,” a long-distance hiking opportunity for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Warriors in Front Royal
Warrior Hikers in Front Royal, VA

“I can’t thank the Appalachian Trail Conservancy enough for this recognition,” Gobin said. “The Warrior Hike ‘Walk Off The War’ program would not exist today without the incredible support from everyone at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. I am honored to continue our partnership as we create a meaningful and life-changing journey for our nation’s veterans after they return home from the battlefield.”

Gobin served in the United States Marine Corps from 1994 to 2012, and during his service, he deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. After his time in the Marines, Gobin thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) from Georgia to Maine and, recognizing the therapeutic effects of long-distance hiking, founded the “Walk Off The War” program to support veterans transitioning from military service. “Walk Off The War” provides participating veterans with equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike of one of America’s National Scenic Trails; coordinates trail town support in the forms of transportation, food and lodging; and assists veterans with future employment opportunities through partners and sponsors.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to present the Special Achievement Award to Sean Gobin at this year’s Gala,” said Ron Tipton, executive director and CEO of the ATC. “Sean recognizes the benefits of using the outdoors as a form of therapy and, through the ‘Walk Off The War’ program, helps our military veterans transition back into civilian life.”

Event overview:
Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s 5th Annual Leaders in Conservation Awards Gala
Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Time: 6 p.m. Reception | 7 p.m. Awards and Dinner
Location: Roof Terrace | 101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

In addition to Gobin, the event will recognize Sen. Richard Burr and Congressman David Price, both from North Carolina, as well as Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, for their commitment to the preservation of the A.T.

For more information about the 5th Annual Leaders in Conservation Awards Gala, call Amy McCormick at 304.535.2200 ext. 123, email amccormick@appalachiantrail.org or visitappalachiantrail.org/gala2014.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.The mission of the ATC 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. For more information, please visit http://www.appalachiantrail.org.

Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x117
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: jfolgar@appalachiantrail.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ATHike
Web: http://www.appalachiantrail.org