Charles Parry was described as a relentless Appalachian Trail volunteer. He served as the Roanoke A.T. Club's trail supervisor from 1976 until his death in December 2010, shaping nearly all of the 120 miles the club maintains. Mr. Parry's widow, Gloria Perry, accepted the hiking stick award. She described her late husband as a lucky man who had two great passions, teaching mathematics to his students at Virginia Tech University and the Appalachian Trail. She said: "The interest he took in maintaining the Appalachian Trail was a great benefit to all. His work there was truly a labor of love."
Despite the popular belief that Grandma Gatewood was the first woman to hike the entire A.T. in one year, Mildred Norman Ryder, universally known as "Peace Pilgrim", accomplished that feat in 1952. Bruce Nichols of the Friends of Peace Pilgrim accepted the award for Peace Pilgrim who died in 1981. Nichols read an excerpt from Peace Pilgrim's book on the value of hiking: "If you are free, I recommend a hike on a wilderness footpath. How inspiring it is to walk all day in the sunshine and sleep all night under the stars. What a wonderful experience in simple, natural living..."
Matilda "Tillie" Wood spent 21 years operating an A.T. hostel near Pearisburg, VA. She gave hikers a place to rest, shower and warm their bellies with a Southern breakfast. Woods Hole became known as one of the most beloved hostels on the A.T. Tillie's daughter Mary Jo Wood and granddaughter Neville Harris accepted the hiking stick on behalf of Tillie, who died in 2007. Neville and her husband Michael continue to operate Woods Hole. Neville described her grandmother's affection for the A.T. and especially the many hikers she met and helped over the years.
Three additional awards were given at the Banquet. Laurie Potteiger received the Museum's Lifetime Achievement Award from Museum founder and President Larry Luxenberg. Larry described Laurie at "totally dedicated to the Trail" in her longtime role as Information Services Manager at ATC. He said Laurie has become "the face of the Trail and in many ways the most knowledgeable person about the Trail..." Laurie has also been involved since the beginning in the movement to create an Appalachian Trail Museum. The Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau received the 2017 Partnership Appreciation Award in honor of its generous financial support and advice to the Museum. Ron Tipton was given a special commemorative hiking stick to mark his upcoming retirement as President and CEO of ATC.
On Saturday, June 3, the Museum held its annual Festival, at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Events included remarks by the representatives of the four new Hall of Fame honorees, talks by four authors of A.T. related books and a picnic lunch.
Below is a slideshow of pictures from the Banquet.
Below is a slideshow of pictures from the Museum Festival on June 3.