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A record crowd of 109 honored the 2018 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame inductees and other honorees at the 8th Annual A.T. Hall of Fame Banquet. The Banquet returned to the newly renovated Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania on May 4, 2018. Attendance at the 2018 Banquet topped the previous records set in 2011 and 2016.
The 2018 Hall of Fame class is Bill Kemsley, founder of Backpacker Magazine; the late Elizabeth Levers, known as the "Mother of the A.T." in New York State; the late George Masa, a legendary photographer and trail builder in the Smokies; and Bob Peoples, a hostel operator and founder of the Hard Core trail crew. Ms. Levers was represented by Ron Rosen of the NY-NJ Trail Conference. Mr. Masa was represented by Libby Kephart Hargrave, great granddaughter of Horace Kephart, Masa’s closest friend and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee.
In addition to the Hall of Fame class, Museum President Larry Luxenberg honored Bob Proudman, a key leader on the Trail since 1965. Karen Lutz, Banquet MC, honored Dale Saunders, a/k/a "Grey Beard", who became the oldest A.T. thru-hiker last year at age 82. Ms. Lutz, scheduled to retire this year as Director of Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Mid-Atlantic Region Office, was honored with a custom carved hiking stick.
Ron Tipton, former Executive Director & CEO of ATC, received a lifetime membership award from the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association. Ron is a founding member of ALDHA. Music during the reception was provided by the Buc Hill Aces.
Each Hall of Fame honoree, plus Ms. Lutz, received a hiking stick custom carved by John “Bodacious” Beaudet. On Saturday, May 5, the Museum held its annual Hall of Fame Festival in Pine Grove Furnace State Park.