Almost a hundred members and guests came to eat, socialize, and listen to a great program on the National Park Service Centennial.
Unlike the CMC Annual dinner, we have more time allotted to our guest speakers. We have an hour and we usually have more than one speaker.
At this gathering, we took the opportunity to give out two prestigious awards to members with distinguished service.
The Award of Appreciation went to Steve Pierce for his work on the new 100 favorite hikes map, commissioned by the Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Lenny Bernstein received an honorary life membership for his untiring work on so many CMC issues. Yeah, that’s my husband.
We’ve been active in CMC since we landed in Asheville over fifteen years ago. In fact, we joined the club before we moved.
I had invited several Superintendents from our area. I call them our home parks. Here’s the lineup:
- Lizzie Watts, Superintendent of Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
- Mark Woods, Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Tyrone Brandyburg, Superintendent of Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
- Clay Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Christine Hoyer, Backcountry Management Specialist at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Are you impressed? I am. I had asked for them to speak about five minutes on an interesting or quirky item about their park. Clay told a fascinating story about Dennis Martin, a young boy who was lost in the Smokies in 1969 and never found. Still, his disappearance changed forever the way search and rescues were done.
Tyrone met Carl Sandburg’s grandson who grew up at the now Carl Sandburg home. The grandson told the Superintendent how he “ran away” on the property because he didn’t want to go to the dentist. Lizzie gave us some interesting facts about Andrew Johnson, our 17th president. Just the fact that there’s a NPS unit for Johnson was probably quirky enough.
More importantly, CMC members had a chance to meet high-ranking national park people in their backyard. This great showing illustrates how influential CMC is both in hiking and trail maintaining.