As I write this it is still a couple of weeks before I am installed as president of our club. As I look forward to the next couple of years of making us stronger and more relevant I reflect back to my start in the club. During the summer of 2008 I had to give up my $1,000.00 a month habit playing golf and I found my way back to the woods.
I did a fair amount of backpacking during my twenties and early thirties. Marriage put a halt to camping and I continued to feel an emotional tug whenever I was near some woods.
After my first work trip for National Trails Day at Kennesaw Mountain lunch was served. Then my first GATC work trip was in July when we work at R Ranch, and again lunch was served. I thought this is great do some trail work and get fed. I was on the work trip when I learned the harsh reality of life “no such thing as a free lunch”.
I remember my first events not knowing a soul. Club members quickly revealed themselves to be open and friendly and quick to tell me how to maintain a trail. I also saw how members had opinions about backpacking equipment and were quick to share their preferences (I knew that was to be expected). It became apparent that many were longtime friends and had travelled extensively together.
What I find most interesting about our membership is, while we come from many walks of life with varied backgrounds we share one thing in common. The one concept that seems uppermost in us is our passion for wild areas. This dedication for maintaining, managing and preserving the trail holds us together and make us an outstanding organization.
At the core are our Section Overseers who have direct responsibility for maintaining the trail. These members make a personal commitment to their section of the trail which makes the Georgia section of the AT one of the best.
Consider the work our sawyer team did clearing the blowdowns from hurricane Irma. Inside of four weeks the trail was cleared. Of course, we had help from the Forest Service and SAWS. I think it is amazing that this happened so fast.
I am further impressed with the many members who work tirelessly behind the scenes. They insure our activities, reporting, meetings etc. come together consistently and without problems. These members provide a solid foundation for our club and deserve support and recognition.