Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry

ATC office in Harpers Ferry

Lenny and I have left languid, slow Charleston and drove up North. We’re in Shepherdstown, W. Virginia close to Harpers Ferry.

Harpers Ferry is the half-way point of the Appalachian Trail and the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Lenny is on board of the ATC and is here to attend a board meeting. I’m a camp follower and plan to check out a couple more national park units.

But wait, the Appalachian Trail is a park unit. Technically, it’s the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. In a cooperative agreement, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy maintains the A.T. Actually, the 31 trail-maintaining clubs actually get their hands dirty but ATC guide them. ATC also manages the visitor center and greets visitors and hikers.

So to treat it like any other park unit, the A.T. became a park unit in 1968. About two to three million visitors get on the A.T. for a little while. And to do the whole trail, you’d need five to six months.

ATC office - receptionWe checked out the visitor center and the bookstore and walked around the town of Harpers Ferry. Tomorrow, I’m going to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park while Lenny goes to meetings.

We’re staying at the National Conservation Training Center owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The facilities are top-notch. Instead of frou-frou luxuries, the rooms are set up to be comfortable for two people: two of everything including loads of work space and outlets.

Good meals are served in the cafeteria, decorated with historical leaders of the Fish and Wildlife Service. The gym is awesome. And it’s set in a  woodsy setting with several short trails.

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