September 26, 1922 – July 29, 2017
PATC North Chapter – District Trails
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
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
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.
PATC North Chapter
AT Section Co-overseer
Greater Waynesboro PA Area
Appalachian Trail Community steering committee
Photo of Charlie Irvin above from Robert Wise