U.S. Forest Service Honors Club’s “Enduring” Volunteer Service

Forest Service Chief Vicki Christensen presents the 2018 Enduring Service Volunteer Award to the Potomac Appalachian Club
Pictured from left: Mary Yonce, Lee District Ranger; Anstr Davidson, PATC Supervisor of Communications; Vicki Christensen, Forest Service Chief; John Stacy, PATC Supervisor of Trails, PATC; Joseph Lombardo, PATC President
Forest Service Photo

On April 22, the U.S. Forest Service honored the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club with the presentation of the Chief’s Enduring Service Award.  The award is part of the Forest Service’s national program to honor volunteers in five categories—Citizen Stewardship and Partnerships, Cultural Diversity, Leadership, Restoration, and Enduring Service. The PATC joined five other recipients who were chosen from 56 nominees around the United States.  Club president Joe Lombardo accepted the award from Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen during a ceremony held at the agency’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

The PATC’s relationship with the Forest Service goes back to the beginnings of the club. PATC members made outings to what they called Powell's Fort Valley (we now call it Fort Valley) as early as 1929.  Since then, the PATC has made substantial contributions to the trails on Forest Service lands.  Among the club’s achievements were the building of the Tuscarora and the Massanutten trails--each offering breathtaking views and peaceful alternatives to the more-crowded trails to the east.

PATC’s work in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest continues. Today, the club maintains 250 miles of trails in two ranger districts—the Lee and the North River.

Acting Lee District Ranger Alex Faught said of the award: “I am proud that the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has been recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in caring for national forest system trails and shelters.  This award is a well-deserved result of their hard work, energy, and passion for caring for the public lands.”

The PATC relationship with the Forest service is not only about work, it’s about collaboration. Forest Service people are supportive of the club’s mission. They are our partners and colleagues.  A good demonstration of the relationship was the reception held at the Lee District office in Edinburg during the presentation.  Many PATC members and Forest Service people gathered to celebrate the award and watch the ceremony via a remote hook up.

Joe Lombardo said of the award, “We are honored and humbled as recipients of the 2018 Chief’s Award for Enduring Service.  We look forward to many productive years to come in our partnership with the USFS.”

There is more information about the award, consult the Forest Service’s press release

In 1929, the club organized a trip to the Massanutten Mountains. You can read the notice for that trip from the club archives. You will see that the first club members (1) didn't just do trail work, (2) didn't just focus on the Appalachian Trail, and (3) were mostly from inside the Beltway, which of course did not exist then. A Trip to Powell's Fort Valley

Forest Service employees and PATC members join the ceremony remotely from Edinburg.
Forest Service Photo