August 2012 Volunteer of the Month
Richard Hottel

Richard Hottel is one of Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter’s newest volunteers and has made a big impact in a short amount of time.

In the summer of 2011, SSVC committed to measuring over 150 miles of trails on Shenandoah Mountain in the George Washington National Forest, to provide accurate distances for a new PATC guidebook for the area. SSVC was excited about the project, but wondered if they could really complete the task in a year or so. Using a traditional measuring wheel, they started to work.  

New PATC member Richard Hottel, who has hiked on Shenandoah Mountain for decades, was intrigued by the project and offered to help. At first, Richard joined with others on measuring  hikes. Then he started leading one just about every week. He sometimes brings his wife Anne, his son Jason, and even his 7-year-old grandson Bryce on these trips. Richard’s measuring hikes have been very popular with SSVC members, drawing a good turnout even on weekdays. The crew all takes turns pushing the wheel, feels a real team spirit and is also having a lot of fun!  Thanks to Richard’s leadership, SSVC has already measured nearly all the trails in the Ramseys Draft Wilderness and on Hankey and Narrowback Mountains by March of 2012. According to Lynn Cameron, Richard has led 15 measuring hikes from October to March, and measured over 70 miles of trail.  SSVC has more to go, but with Richard’s leadership, they will be able to accomplish their goal.

In addition to measuring trails, Richard has started doing much needed trailwork in the popular Shenandoah Mountain area. He has a special affection for Ramseys Draft Wilderness and has adopted Jerrys Run Trail, which is where the historic PATC Sexton Cabin was located. Richard has also signed up to co-adopt North River Trail with Mike and Karen Waterman. The SSVC hikers typically carry along loppers, clippers, and coronas and do some light work along the way. Richard is always ready to remove a blowdown or clip back vegetation on these working hikes.

During the measuring hikes, Richard noticed that many of the trail signs have deteriorated or have incorrect information. An excellent woodworker, Richard has volunteered to make new signs and mount them for the Forest Service. Richard’s offer was gladly accepted by the GWNF North River District, and he has already made and mounted several new signs.

PATC and the Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter appreciate the many hours of service that Richard Hottel is performing in support of our goals.

To join SSVC hikes and other activities, contact Karen Waterman at
To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, email Rick Canter at