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PATC History

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is founded on volunteerism and public service to outdoor enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. This tradition goes back to November 1927, when the club was formed to survey and construct hundreds of miles of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,100-mile footpath following the crest of the Appalachian mountain chain. In the early days, making a contribution could be a challenge. Roads were not paved, and in many cases financing could be a challenge Volunteers could only spend a few hours each weekend building and marking the trail.

Nonetheless, by the time Shenandoah National Park was created in 1937, PATC was already maintaining a network of trails in the region, and publishing the first maps and guidebooks. PATC also started constructing cabins and shelters for members and the hiking public during this period. Since that time, PATC's trail region has grown along with more cabins and shelters but the tradition on which the club was founded endures. To learn about early activities read the selected articles below. Back issues of The Potomac Appalachian with more history are available for reading in the Archives Room at PATC headquarters in Vienna.

PATC History by Tom Johnson [August 2020]:
Club archivist and former president Tom Johnson has written A History of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.  At this point, he is not planning to publish the history as a book, though that could come later.  Tom has graciously made the manuscript available for download by club members for their personal use.  Tom would welcome comments on the book.  The book is in PDF format and the file size is about 10 MB. There were minor edits to the book in November 2020. 
Read or Download History of the PATC by Tom Johnson [This link will probably open the book in your browser. If want to download it, look for the SAVE option.]

Note: You can upload this file to your Kindle and read it there. More information

Below are more articles on our History:


A short History of the PATC
Myron Avery, Portrait of a President
Creative Financing in the Early Days
Trail Development (1932)
Lean-to Story (1942, Myron Avery)

History of the Blackburn Trail Center
Range View Cabin and the Mountaineers

Early Hikers, Long Skirts, Courtly Ways
Notes on the History of the Stonewall Brigade
A 1942 "Interview" with J.F. Schairer, Supervisor of Trails
Camping - The Way Things Used to Be
Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail
Origin of Skyline Drive
Lost and Forgotten Trails
The Explorations of Louis Michel
The Discoveries of John Lederer