Ruth Blackburn. Mrs. Blackburn’s service to the Trail began in the early 1940s researching courthouse records in the counties of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. These records were enormously helpful in the land acquisition project. She held leadership roles in the Potomac AT Club, becoming President in 1965. Later, she was named to ATC Board of Managers, becoming Chair in 1981. She led a campaign in the Virginia legislature for protection of the Trail and led the Maryland Department of Natural Resources from 1984 to 1990, helping to form the Maryland AT Management Committee. Mrs. Blackburn was the main stabilizing person when the Appalachian Trail Conference faced the resignation of its Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Managers.
David Field Dr. Field is the retired department chairman and professor at the University of Maine School of Forestry. He served on ATC’s Board of Managers from 1979 to 2005, including Chair from 1995 to 2001. He remains active in the Maine A.T. Trail Club, where he has been President and held every other leadership position at least once. He is active in digitizing one of the most extensive collections of documents and photographs pertaining to the A.T. In 2011, he published the book “Along Maine’s Appalachian Trail”. He has continuously maintained a stretch of the Appalachian Trail at Saddleback Mountain in Maine since he was 16 years old -- probably the longest such service in the history of the trail.
David M. Sherman Mr. Sherman was a senior advisor to Assistant Secretary of Interior Robert Herbst. After Congress enacted the 1978 AT amendments, Dave played a leadership role in securing the tracts of land necessary for preservation of the Trail's scenic, ecological and cultural values. As Interim Superintendent of the Park Service A.T. Project Office, and later Deputy Chief of Land Acquisition for the Forest Service, he was directly involved in key A.T. Forest Service protection projects in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Since his retirement, he has been actively involved in securing A.T. archival materials, including collecting oral histories in the 1980s from the remaining Trail pioneers.
David N. Startzell, retired in 2012 after more than 25 years as executive director of Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He served the longest tenure of any executive director of ATC, as well as the longest of any officer of the organization, having joined ATC in January 1978. He is widely recognized as the person who did the most across two decades to secure almost $200 million in federal appropriations for the Appalachian Trail land-acquisition programs of the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. Under his stewardship, more than 250,000 acres of public lands were protected along the A.T.’s 2,000-mile corridor. He also directed major reorganizations of ATC to position it as a true centrifugal force in Trail policymaking and operations.
Everett (Eddie) Stone, Jr. was Assistant State Forester of Georgia when proposals were drafted to route the A.T. through that state. He developed an alernative plan to start the trail in northern Georgia at Mt. Oglethorpe, then then go north through the Nantahalas. He organized a group of Boy Scouts to hike the length of his proposed route and install the initial trail blazes and markers. Soon, most public opinion in Georgia was in support of Mr. Stone’s plan. The dispute over the route was finally resolved when Horace Kephart brokered a compromise. The trail would start at Mt. Oglethorpe, then go north to the present southern boundary of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, at what would become Fontana Dam. After that, Mr. Stone founded a new club to maintain the trail, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. One reason Mr. Stone is not well known today is that he largely disappeared from the scene after 1935.
The 2013 Class was honored at the Third Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet, on June 7, 2013. HERE is a gallery of photos from the Banquet.