Who do you think merits inclusion in a hall of fame rising up to honor those with ties to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail?
While Benton MacKaye, whose vision gave birth to the AT, should be a slam-dunk member of the inaugural class, whom else would you include? Long-distance through hikers? Section hikers? Trail maintenance volunteers?
What about Myron Avery, said to be the first 2,000-miler on the AT and chair of the Appalachian Trail Conference from 1932 until he died in 1952?
The hall of fame will be located at Gardners, Pennsylvania, in Pine Grove Furnace State Park inside the Appalachian Trail Museum. The museum, is not only just about 2 miles from the AT, but it is, appropriately enough, midway between Springer Mountain, Georgia, and Mount Katahdin, Maine, the two ends of the footpath that winds along the back of the Appalachian range.
Museum officials say the hall of fame "is being established by the Appalachian Trail Museum Society to recognize those who have made a significant contribution toward establishing and maintaining the 2,181 mile A.T."
"The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame is a natural fit with the museum that opened last June," Larry Luxenberg, president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society, said earlier this month in announcing the hall. "The trail and the museum represent the collective efforts of volunteers who have made countless contributions in ways that are as varied as the personalities who have been involved. The hall of fame will recognize those people who have unselfishly devoted their time, energy and resources toward making the Appalachian Trail a national treasure."
Here's the nitty-gritty for nominating folks to the hall:
Criteria - Those eligible for consideration include anyone who has made a major contribution to the Appalachian Trail, or otherwise has advanced the cause of the Appalachian Trail. These include, without limitation, pioneers who conceived of and developed the trail; those who organized or directed major trail organizations like the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs; longtime trail maintainers; leaders who promoted and protected the Appalachian Trail; hikers who have made significant accomplishments, and other persons who have enriched the culture or community of the Appalachian Trail by their association with it.
Nominations - Nominations will be solicited from throughout the hiking and trails community, by using a unique internet survey address. The address is:
Deadline for nominations - March 20, 2011. The survey address is open to accept nominations through March 31, 2011. Anyone may submit a nomination, without charge, regardless of whether he or she is a member of a hiking or trails organization. Only one nomination should be submitted per year per person. The survey site will ask a nominator to justify his or her nomination in a brief statement not exceeding 200 words that describes the nominee and why he or she fits the criteria.
Hall of Fame Committee; Election - An Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Committee has been selected by the Appalachian Trail Museum Society Board of Directors to supervise the election process and to submit the finalists to the board. That committee is chaired by Jim Foster, a museum volunteer and 2007 thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail. Other members of the committee are Noel DeCavalcante, Tom Johnson, Larry Luxenberg, Laurie Potteiger and J.R. Tate. The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Committee will deliver the slate of finalists to the museum board by April 30, 2011, for subsequent review and elections. For the first three years, founding classes to the Appalachian Trail Museum will be named. These initial classes will emphasize important historical figures who were critical to the creation and development of the trail. The Appalachian Trail Museum Society Board can elect up to six people in the first year, and up to three each in the second and third years. After the third year, only a single person may be elected each year.
Announcement and recognition of inductees - Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame inductees will be announced during the Appalachian Trail Museum's annual festival, scheduled for the third weekend in June. The inductees will be enshrined on an Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Wall of Honor to be located in the Appalachian Trail Museum.
If you're curious about the AT museum, check out this short video: