The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
Benton MacKaye, whose mind and word gave birth to the trail, said that there would be no Appalachian Trail but for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is a charter member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, formerly known as the Appalachian Trail Conference. The Conservancy includes 32 volunteer trail-maintaining clubs whose members manage the entire 2100 miles of the fabled Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. Volunteers cooperate with federal and state agencies that own the Trail and its corridor and are subject to their rules and regulations. However, it's safe to state that, without the volunteers in each trail club and the support and coordination provided by the ATC, there would be no Appalachian Trail.
PATC members volunteer for and maintain specific sections of trails as overseers. These sections average 3.0 miles in length, although some are considerably shorter while others are significantly longer. These trail heroes clear brush, paint trail blazes, maintain drainage devices, and remove fallen trees.
Other members maintain and construct the trail shelters and primitive campgrounds used by backpackers along the Appalachian and Tuscarora Trails. More Club members are involved with public safety, such as those who are active with the Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group and the PATC Trail Patrol. Members volunteer their time to offer outdoor skills and First Aid training to the public. Still others revel in the opportunity to actually build hiking trails for the public.