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February 2017

GATC; ATC; SORO; VARO; USFS; BRRD; CRRD; CRD; ORD; TCC; NPS; APPA? We are always throwing initials around and assume that everyone knows what we mean.
When I first heard the term “RPC” I really didn’t have much of a clue as to what it meant. My good friend, Denny Rhodes, was telling me that he was the RPC Rep. I didn’t want to appear ignorant so I didn’t ask Denny the meaning of that expression. It was sometime later when I was actually attending a RPC meeting that I discovered the truth. It was the Regional Partnership Committee. And it is all about the partnerships that make us strong. Within the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) there are four geographical regions. Each of the four regions has a regional partnership committee. GATC is a part of the Deep South Region (SORO) which includes five trail maintaining clubs (TEHCC, Tennessee-Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club; CMC, Carolina Mountain Club; SMHC, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club; NHC, Nantahala Hiking Club; and GATC). Each club has a primary and alternate representative within the RPC. Our representatives are Keith Moses (Primary) and Babette Broussard (Alternate).
The partnerships that make up SORO are far more than the five trail maintaining clubs. Extremely close working relationships are continually and purposefully maintained with various agencies including the Forest Service, the National Park Service, state park staff, and others. Day to day activities and guidance is provided by ATC staff for each region. SORO is blessed with a fantastic and incredibly hard working staff led by Morgan Sommerville, SORO Regional Director in Ashville, NC. ATC and SORO are currently working on a plan to involve the AT Communities in these sessions as well.
Regional meetings are held twice each year. The spring meeting usually covers Friday evening to midday Sunday. The fall meeting is normally held Saturday only. For the spring meeting, SORO meets with the Central and Southwest Virginia Regional Committee (VARO). That meeting is called the Southern Partnership Meeting and is usually held during the third weekend in March. A conference call will be conducted January 9th to plan this. Details will be released soon. This is a great opportunity to meet with our trail partners. It is always fun and educational. A good time is always had by all. The Konnarock Steering Committee holds their annual planning session at the same time and place so it is a good time to learn about upcoming Konnarock projects all over the southern regions of the Appalachian Trail.
The RPC is about all of us. Are you interested or at least curious about where some of the ideas regarding trail service originate? Then watch for the news about the Spring Partnership Meeting and make plans to join us. Hey, it’s a party and you’re invited!

For more information see: http://appalachiantrail.org/home/about-us/regional-partnerships .

Submitted by: Don Hicks, GATC President