The 2021 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame class honorees are the late Harvey Broome of Knoxville, Tennessee; Stephen Clark of Waterville, Maine; the late Thomas Johnson of Front Royal, Virginia; and Marianne Skeen of Atlanta, Georgia.
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Harvey Benjamin Broome was a Harvard educated attorney, but his primary life’s work was as a leading advocate for preserving wild spaces in the eastern U.S. from the early 1920s until his death in 1968. Broome became an early leader of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club and helped to lay out the route of the Appalachian Trail in the newly established Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When A.T. founder Benton MacKaye moved to Knoxville, TN, he and Broome formed a close relationship.
Broome led the opposition to building a trans-mountain road through the Smokies, believing that its wild nature should be preserved. Together with Mackaye and others, Broome founded The Wilderness Society and served as its President for eleven years until his death. He advocated for creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System, which occurred in 1964 when Congress passed the Wilderness Act.
Stephen Clark has been an integral part of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club for almost 60 years. To many, Steve’s name is synonymous with the 100 Mile Wilderness portion of the A.T. in Maine. In fact, he reportedly coined the term in the 1980s to describe this most isolated section of the Trail.
Here is just a sampling of the important roles Steve has performed with the MATC: Overseer of the 107 miles in western Maine, President from 1975-1977, multiple terms as an MATC Director, Overseer of the White Cap District and Chair of the MATC Privy Committee, where he led efforts to design and install solar and moldering styles. Beyond Maine, Steve served several terms on the Appalachian Trail Conference’s Board of Managers. He helped to organize two of ATC’s biennial conferences and received ATC’s highest honor, Honorary Life Member, in 1981.
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As with many Trail icons, it is exceedingly difficult to summarize Thomas Reed Johnson’s contributions to the A.T. in a few sentences. One of the Trail’s premier historians, his definitive history of the A.T., “From Dream To Reality”, has just been published by ATC. Tom was a longtime member, trail maintainer and leader of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, including service as President. He was a leader of the movement to create an Appalachian Trail Museum and served as a director since the beginning. He helped to lead countless Trail events, including the 1995 and 2015 Biennial Conferences.
When the concept of this award was put forward, Tom was immediately in favor of the idea and agreed to be on the selection committee. His fellow members benefitted greatly from his calm yet passionate insights about potential Hall of Fame honorees. All of Tom’s friends were shocked at his untimely passing in December, 2020. We can take some solace that he died while doing two things he loved, hiking with fellow PATC members and explaining to them the history of the place they were at.
Marianne Skeen is a role model for outdoor stewardship and education. As a member of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club for over several decades, Marianne has been recognized consistently for her commitment to youth outreach and trail maintenance. She’s been described as the epitome of dedication and hard work. She has served on the board of GATC in several positions, including President, Trail Supervisor, and Director at Large. She led the GATC’s Forest Plan Revision Committee for the Chattahoochee National Forest.
She served as chair for the 1993 ATC conference held in Dahlonega, GA. She was elected to the ATC Board of Managers in 1993 and served 12 years. Marianne spearheaded the GATC Outreach Program by introducing inner city children to the outdoors, emphasizing “Leave no Trace” ethics. With her direction, it has spread to many mountain community schools; and now several towns close to the AT have been designated official “AT Trail Communities”. She was instrumental in developing ATC’s marketing efforts including the tag line “Join the Journey”. She was a strong supporter of ATC’s 2005 reorganization. Marianne is a retired Senior Research Associate at Emory University.
Complete information on the Hall of Fame Banquet will be announced soon. The Banquet will be the kickoff of the Museum’s Hall of Fame Weekend. Questions about the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For lodging options during the Hall of Fame Weekend, go to the Museum's website: www.atmuseum.org