May 2012 Volunteer of the Month
Toby Torla

                                                                                                                   (Photo by Bruce Glendening)

Toby Torla is the volunteer mainstay of PATC's local Thursday Morning Group.  Every other Thursday over the years, Toby has joined the Group helping to maintain the Potomac Heritage Trail and Great Falls River Trail that run along the Potomac River's Virginia shoreline.

Toby's been in the DC area since 1977 and currently lives in Falls Church, VA.  First involved in PATC work in the late 1970s, he worked in the northern section of Shenandoah National Park helping to clear ice storm damage along the AT.  This early foray led to his wrestling a stubborn "hanger" tree that ended up on top of him.   Not hurt from this startling beginning, Toby continues to learn and teach others how best to be safe in the trail maintenance environment.

Retiring from the Environmental Protection Agency's pesticide program in 2007, Toby now has more time to talk to hikers about the necessary work of trail maintenance and encouraging them to join in.  Hiking with his grandchildren using simple tools was a good way to start.  Toby also spreads the word by taking his neighbors' children - originally from Australia - out onto the trail to teach trail stewardship.  

Certainly, the close-in location of PATC trails around the DC area makes Toby's commitment more convenient.  Yet, as “King of the Loppers" his willingness to take on the "dirty" jobs such as digging out invasive bittersweet along the trail, Toby is constantly trying his best to improve the trail for local hikers.  

Thank you Toby for all your hard work!