We Are Not a Hiking Club

We are the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club working in the South District of Shenandoah National Park. Working is the operative descriptor; all 42 of us work maintaining the Appalachian Trail in this district.

The individuals who volunteer their time to maintain a section of trail are fully aware of what they do and why they do it. So far this year, they have committed nearly 1,700 hours of their time to keep their trail sections clear and usable by all those who hike and backpack here in the South District.

Is the PATC a hiking club? No
Is the PATC an outdoor adventure vendor/club? Not quite
Is the PATC primarily a cabins vendor or concessionaire? No
Is the PATC an outdoors-oriented social club? Hardly
Does the PATC challenge members? Yes


Why is PATC?

To quote from our Constitution:

“The mission of the Club shall be: 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 generations.”

Our Objectives

Again, per our Constitution, the Club’s primary objectives are to:

  • “Support and encourage the permanent protection, conservation, and proper recreational use of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and other trails
  • “Build and maintain a portion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and other trails for the use and enjoyment of walkers, rock and mountain climbers, cross-country skiers, and others interested in non-motorized, non-mechanized, human-powered outdoor recreational activities”


The PATC members who maintain the Appalachian Trail in the South District of Shenandoah National Park are a diverse group. Some live as close by as in or near Crozet and Waynesboro while others travel to their sections from Virginia Beach, Richmond, Fairfax County, and Maryland. Some also maintain side trails or side trail sections, not just the A.T.

What Does This Mean?

I hope this article encourages you join our group as a member of what I call The Fellowship of the McLeod. We look for people to work with our district on trail crews, for instance. The members of this crew do not have to be trail overseers; the crew leader schedules trips to help overseers of both A.T. and side trail sections in our district. The work the crews accomplish is always necessary and materially beneficial to the Park and those who hike the trails.

We also need hale and hearty people to take on sections of the A.T. in our district. Since May of this year, we have sought three co-overseers and one overseer to maintain four sections of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

No, PATC does not have a pool of people we can simply assign people to fill an open opportunity. We depend upon goodhearted individuals to volunteer for these tasks. In other words, we look to you to help us help others.