Charlie Irvin

September 26, 1922 – July 29, 2017

PATC North Chapter – District Trails Manager

Goatskin gloves.
Roasted corn.

No wasted time.

 

Charlie Irvin epitomized a man of action. From a farming background, he gave his time generously to his community and to the A.T. He joined PATC in 1971, after completing the AppachianTrail over 17 years of section hiking. As one of the founding members of PATC’s North Chapter in 1984, Charlie served for many years as Pennsylvania district trails manager along with Jack Danner. He got things done!

 

No stranger to hard work, he led the First Saturdays work trips meeting at Caledonia that ended with group suppers at the Hermitage cabin. Access to this primitive cabin is a half mile downhill! The tired volunteers came for an evening of fellowship and some of Esther Aulthouse’s filling repasts. Charlie took three days to make sure everything was ship-shape, including stocking up the firewood, getting everything organized, and then cleaning up. By 1998, Ray Fadner’s Gypsy Spring cabin with electricity and plumbing became available with easier access. This location provided more space for Charlie to set up his famous August Corn Roast (still continuing today!).

 

Charlie took great pride in the years-long effort to successfully reopen the Tuscarora Trail by 1995. My hiking mentor, Elizabeth Johnston, accompanied him with Jack, Peter Muschamp, Ethel Nelson, Ron Kutz and others, and she proudly recalled how many times they would emerge at the end of a long day, tired, scratched and bloodied. He was responsible for relocating the AT Hemlock Hill shelter from Maryland to the Wagon Wheel site along the Tuscarora Trail in Pennsylvania. South of Cowan’s Gap, he arranged to have switchbacks put in rather than the original straight shot uphill. For their extraordinary efforts, Charlie and Jack received the American Hiking Society Volunteer of the Year award for Pennsylvania in 1994. The next year, Charlie received PATC’s Honorary Life Membership.

 

As well as coordinating monthly work trips, in the spring of 1997 Charlie directed the building of a bridge over Birch Run near the shelters of the same name. A new bridge over Falls Creek after a section relocation was done in the ‘90’s as well as other Trail relocations, tread improvements, and shelter work. Just keeping up with all the trail overseers and reminding them to send in their hours kept Charlie on his toes.

 

Charlie instigated spring overseers meetings, bringing together representatives from ATC, local foresters and park rangers as well as PATC supervisors and chairs to meet with North Chapter volunteers. Sharing information with opportunity to meet face to face and interaction through discussions and questions have proved invaluable over the years. Charlie’s leadership over a long span of years certainly strengthened the foundation of our group, with the hallmark of willing workers unafraid of hard tasks and new challenges, mixed together with threads of pride in teamwork.

 

Charlie received a plaque and a letter of congratulations from President Bush in 2004 as a recipient of the “President’s Call to Service” award, one of only 644 in the entire country.

 

One wet, miserable, rainy Saturday, I worked alongside Charlie while he wrestled with a downed hemlock across Red Run near Beartown. As he was sawing away a blockage, he suddenly stopped and stood up for a moment. “Goatskin gloves!” he gestured to me. “These’ll stay soft even once they dry out! Better than the other leather ones!” he affirmed.

 

He was right! Thanks for the advice, Charlie; I think of you every time I slip mine on.

 


Kathy Seiler

PATC North Chapter

AT Section Co-overseer

Greater Waynesboro PA Area Appalachian Trail Community steering committee


Photo of Charlie Irvin above from Robert Wise