Annual Meeting set for Thursday November 4, to be held online, 7 to 8 PM.

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The election of next year’s Executive Committee will take place, and all DV chapter members may vote. The meeting is free, and in addition to the election, we will present our annual awards and provide information on our latest programs and activities. 

You must register to attend. Register at https://activities.outdoors.org/search/index.cfm/action/details/id/135236

2022 Executive Committee nominees

Chair, Karla Geissler
Vice Chair, Open
Secretary, Midori Wakabayashi
Treasurer, Margaret McDonald
Backpacking, Steven Campanelli
Bicycling, Open
Communication, Eric Pavlak
Conservation, Adrian Noble
Diversity, Open
Family Activities, Annette Sheldon
Hiking, Blase Hartman
Leadership, Ron Phelps
Membership, Lisa Chou
Paddling, Eric Pavlak
Social, Annette Sheldon
Trails, Greg Bernet
20s-30s Members, Katie Barok

If you wish to volunteer for one of the three open positions, contact nominations@amcdv.org.

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August Camp 2021 –  Maine

stream near Little Lyford Pond in Maine
stream near Little Lyford Pond in Maine

For the first time since 2004, AMC’s August Camp took place on the east coast this year. Since Maine is where August Camp started back in 1887, it seemed like a particularly appropriate place to re-visit. As you will hear from campers Agnes Sablow, Holly Adams, Sammi Gibb Roff and leaders Mark Kern, Phill Hunsberger, and Lennie Steinmetz, the camp at Little Lyford Pond near Greenville, ME turned out to be a truly delightful experience. Join us to hear about hiking, paddling, and exploring in the Maine Woods and why there were so many “happy campers” at AC 2021!

Please register in advance for this meeting.

Naturalist Photo Contest!

delware river
delware river
photo courtesy of Delaware River Means

Take, identify, and submit photos of plants, animals, and fungi that you come across while out-and-about in and around the Delaware River for chances to win great outdoor-related prizes! 
The Delaware River Means Biodiversity contest is your chance to connect on a more thoughtful level with the natural world around you.

The Delaware River Watershed provides a thriving home to hundreds of species and if you look closely enough, you will be able to find them just about anywhere! 

Contest Link: Delaware River Means | Delaware River Means Biodiversity | Campaign

Facebook Page: Delaware River Means | Facebook

The valuable community science tool, iNaturalist, is a great way to get involved with researchers and help further their science while also giving you the opportunity to learn something new! Simply record your observations, share with fellow iNaturalists, and discuss your findings. Each of your observations will contribute to biodiversity science by helping scientists collect and use your data. iNaturalist is a free, easy-to-use app that anyone can enjoy!

iNaturalist:  A Community for Naturalists · iNaturalist

Iceland Road Trip

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A virtual Zoom meeting will be held 7:30 pm. Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Join Phill Hunsberger and his daughter, Robbin, as they tell us about a road trip they took with other family members to Iceland in July of 2021. Waterfalls, dairy farms, recent lava flows, hiking a mountain and soaking in a thermal fed stream are amount the items they will highlight of their trip around this almost treeless island in the north Atlantic.
Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Reservations are required. Contact coordinator with any questions.

This event has was from the past. Please click the link below to see the recording.

Swamp Things

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A hike in Delaware State Forest

From the scarlet tanager to the mating luna moths to the two black bears (which safely ran away like usual). This land is thriving with life! Sadly the logging industry has pushed forward in this area to make up for the lumber demands. It’s not a pretty sight. Lets hope the industry is maintaining the responsible efforts to save space for the homes of our friends of the woods.

The Swamp Things hike was amazing this year! What a great group we had. Thank you all for being a part of the experience.

Important Changes and Activity Dates

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AMC’s brand new guideline starts on June 11, 2021!

(Paper waiver form and “Show-up and go” trips will be back!)

AMC’s Trailfest throughout the month of June.

Get dirty, Give back, Make new friends! (* No experience necessary)

Welcome New Activity Chairs:

Hiking: Blase Hartman
Backpacking: Steven Campanelli

Vaccinate, if you can!

Happy Outdoors!

Nepal Village Life

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Future Zoom Presentation

A virtual Zoom meeting will be held 7:30 pm. Wednesday, June, 16, 2021. Join Phill Hunsberger as he tells us about a business trip with his nephew, Dale Nafziger, to Barchet Tole village, Nuwakot District, Nepal, Mr. Nafziger, who operates a coffee business in Kathmandu, Nepal is establishing a business relationship with subsistence farmers in Barchet Tole, to grow quality coffee. This coffee will that be bought by Mr. Nafziger and used in his Top of the World business, in Kathmandu. We are aware of the beauty of Nepal’s scenic trekking destinations; this presentation will highlight another side of the Nepal: the beauty of life in a village distant from any the tourist route.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Reservations are required. Contact Phill H. at 610-533-1390 with any questions.

Please register in advance for this meeting on Zoom meeting.

Preserve the View with AMC

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A Zoom meeting. Join AMC’s Mark Zakutansky and Cathy Poppenwimer to learn about a science-based campaign and call to action to preserve scenic trail experiences. The Protect the View campaign seeks to preserve ten picturesque views vulnerable to development pressure located along Circuit Trails in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Find out how these views were selected as well as potential outcomes and how to get involved. This presentation will touch on how to put data together, inform policy, and work with local partners – relevant components for protecting other threatened open spaces throughout AMC’s region.

View the recording of the presentation from May 19, 2021 in the link below.

Use access Passcode: 2kwDua#8

Job Opportunity: Conservation Outreach Manager, Mid-Atlantic Region

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Appalachian Mountain Club

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is seeking a talented and enthusiastic conservation advocate and public policy professional to lead our coalition-based work to advance conservation and recreation in the Mid-Atlantic Region, based out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A qualified candidate will be enthusiastic about AMC’s conservation and recreation mission, have a proven track record as a skilled communicator, and will have experience in community and constituency engagement around environmental and outdoor recreation issues.

The Conservation Outreach Manager is primarily focused on eastern Pennsylvania but will support other AMC conservation initiatives from northern Virginia to Connecticut. Priority initiatives include state and federal legislative and regulatory public policy issues in the region that seek to combat and prepare for climate change; protect the region’s landscape and waters; and advance equitable access to the outdoors.

Come Join the Planning!

Group biking along the Lehigh Gorge

Phase 3 starts on June 12, 2021! More activities, more people.

Leaders, let’s connect with each other and have some fun. Discussions and planning for our in-person leader social and much more. Expect prizes and raffles during the Zoom event. Save the Date – June 8 (Tue) 7:30 PM

Vaccinate, if you can!

Next EC Meeting on Zoom: June 1 (Tue) 7:00 PM Discussion Topic: Reopening All the members are welcome.

Reminder: National Trails Day 2021: June 5 (Sat).

News from AMCDV Executive Committee (May 2021)

Delaware Canal Photos – Old and New

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Originally held April 21

Susan Taylor, Executive Director of the Friends of the Delaware Canal, will present an eclectic mix of images that take in the Canal from the Forks of the Delaware in Easton to Phillips’ Mill in New Hope. You will see:

  • exceptional nature and landscape photos
  • pictures from the canal’s past
  • records of what has been happening in and along the Canal recently

Conservation on an Astronomical Scale

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Originally held Wednesday, March 17

Join Doug Arion, Executive Director of Mountains of Stars, for a discussion of light pollution: how it compromises our ability to observe space from the surface of the earth, its surprisingly widespread effects, its impacts on people and the environment, and how we can fix the problem and save money at the same time.

This presentation will also describe the effort we are conducting with the AMC to create an International Dark Sky Park and Reserve surrounding the AMC lands in the Maine Woods — which will preserve 100,00 acres of the last dark sky area in the eastern 2/3 of the US!

Unfortunately, we did not succeed in recording this meeting, but the presenter has kindly provided a link to a similar program he presented to another AMC group:

If you’d like to learn more about Doug’s organization and its many efforts to address this challenging situation, go to: www.mountainsofstars.org/

What’s New in Eastern PA State Parks?

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Originally held Wednesday, February 17

DCNR is a statewide leader in land conservation, trails initiatives, and manages much of the land available for public recreational access. During the COVID-19 pandemic, state parks attendance increased over 26%, from 37 million to nearly 47 million visitors. Some parks in Eastern Pennsylvania saw months where their visitor numbers more than doubled. With those rapid increases in visitation came increased pressures on our public resources, and increased difficulties for staff to engage an abundance of new visitors while still protecting and maintaining our public lands. Despite the challenges, it has been rewarding to see clear evidence of people turning to outdoor spaces such as state parks for recreation and solace during the pandemic.

In addition to discussing the impacts of high visitation pressure on our public lands, we’ll discuss updates and recent projects at some of the 20 state parks or park complexes in Eastern Pennsylvania. With a new park office and visitor center at Hickory Run, which opened in 2020, the recent addition of the Kittatiny Ridge to our Conservation Landscapes program, and the guidance provided by our Penn’s Parks For All planning initiative, there is a lot of news to share!

Recording Unavailable

Greg Bernet presented with Pychowska trails award for third time

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Chapter Trails Chair Greg Bernet was the recipient of the Marian Pychowska Award for the third time by doing 158 hours of trail work during 2020, presented at AMC’s Annual Summit on January 23, There are 96 hours minimum required for award.

He is the leader of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards who have built new trails around Ringing Rocks County Park, in Veterans’ Park near Quakertown, and are currently scouting a new trail to be built in Nockamixon State Park. He also leads the New Jersey Highlands Trail Crew which does maintenance in Jenny Jump State Forest and the western section of The Highlands Trail.

Greg is AMC-DV’s Coordinator of the Appalachian Trail Boundary Monitors program for the Appalachian Trail Conference and National Park Service, as well as a monitor himself. He is also a member of our club’s AT maintenance crew and a certified sawyer, does solo maintenance on a section of the AT in N.J. at Culvers Gap in Stokes State Forest as well as on the Pahaquarry Trail on the backside of Mt. Tammany at Delaware Water Gap, and he is AMC-DV’s representative to the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.

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Raun Kercher earns AMC 2021 Volunteer Leadership Award

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Raun Kercher of the Delaware Valley Chapter is a recipient of AMC’s 2021 Volunteer Leadership Award, which was presented at the club-wide annual meeting, held on line this year because of the ongoing pandemic. Since completing Outdoor Leadership Training, Raun has become a hiking, biking and backpacking leader for the Delaware Valley Chapter. He has led a wide variety of trips in each of these activities, notably characterized by his detailed, creative and compelling trip descriptions. After only one year as a leader, he took on the role of Publicity Chair for the DV Chapter. He applied his creative and technology talents in many ways to increase the chapter’s social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. Raun produced entertaining and informative videos about Earth Day and our new activity ratings system to be shared on these platforms. He also elevated the promotion of the chapter’s Fall Gathering to new levels. In 2020, he volunteered to join DV’s Leadership Committee, making important contributions to the leadership training planning efforts. He is playing a critical role in development of a virtual outdoor leadership training platform for the chapter. Raun’s diverse efforts as a leader, trainer, and technology specialist have made a positive difference for AMC and the DV Chapter.

Improve Your Travel Photos

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Originally held Wednesday, January 20

Larry Bieber has had the good fortune to travel the world with a camera in hand and the opportunity to take several National Geographic courses on how to use that camera. He will share some suggestions with us on how to raise the level of our travel pictures and then show pictures from two of his trips – one to Bhutan and the other to Iceland.

Membership

shelter-dedication

In 2022, the Delaware Valley Chapter will celebrate its 60th year of existence. In October 1962 when the chapter was formed, there were about 200 members in the Philadelphia area. Ten years later, the membership had grown to 620. By the time of the chapter’s 25th anniversary in 1987, there were 1187 members. As of January 2021, the chapter has 4,831 members.

shelter-dedication

The Unlikely Thru-Hiker

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An Appalachian Trail Journey by Derick Lugo

Published by AMC Books, 2020

Review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

Since finishing the Appalachian Trail in 1989, I have read many books on Appalachian Trail hikes. Just some of them include Walking with Spring, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, A Walk for Sunshine, A Walk in the Woods, Just Passin’ Thru, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The Barefoot Sisters Southbound.

It would be no surprise to anyone that I would pick up The Unlikely Thru-Hiker, especially because of its epic cover.

This is the story of Derick’s thru-hike in 2012. What makes Derick an unlikely thru-hiker? Derick is of Puerto Rican and African American heritage, placing him in a distinct minority among thru-hikers. He grew up in New York City, never camping or taking a hike before stepping on the AT.

On March 19, Derick started the Amicalola approach trail, a strenuous 7.8 miles to Springer Mountain, the Southern terminus of the AT. (When I started my AT hike I opted to start at the Springer Mountain parking area and walked one mile south to the trailhead to avoid the approach trail.)

A few days into the hike, Derick is given his trail name ”Mr. Fabulous” because on the trail, as at home, he liked “to stay groomed, fresh and well dressed”.

Mr. Fabulous was the 438th hiker to start the season. He was given the number 438 by the ranger at Katahdin Steam Campground six months later signifying the 438th hiker to finish the trail that season on September 17.

He started his day by touching a white blaze, “showing gratitude and respect for the markers that guided” him through the wilderness.

Mr. Fabulous was true to his thru-hike by hiking every mile of the trail with his backpack and hiking poles. Most hikers including me leave their backpack and poles at the ranger station before the last 5.2 miles to the northern terminus of the trail.

“Free food and showers is definitely the way to a thru-hiker’s heart” is what Derick says about the hiker feed given by the First Baptist Church in Damascus, VA. How true is this statement?

While hiking in PA, Derick gets a text message from his hiking partner for the day, “Can you drown in rocks? Because there is an ocean of them before me!”

Can anyone relate to this? Mr. Fabulous received advice from a guy he meets attending Trail Days in Damascus; “Be kind to all, don’t take your friends for granted, and be memorable.” This is great advice for all of us especially during the current lock down.

This book is well written and entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down. It is a series of short trail stories instead of covering every state he walked through.

Derick remained positive during his trek north. He signed the shelter journals with the phrase “Peace, Love & All That Good Stuff.”

The question the book left me with: Did Mr. Fabulous ever see a moose?

Kathy Kelly-Borowski has led DV Chapter trips for more than three decades. She thru-hiked the AT in 1989. You can read more of her reviews and many other book reviews at amcdv.org/books.html.

You can purchase this book and others and get a member discount at amcstore.outdoors.org/books-maps

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National Park Service issues draft plan for Water Gap, invites public comment, schedules meetings

A group hiking with clouds in the background

Plan includes new camp sites, facilities, entrance fees.

The National Park Service has issued a draft Visitor Use Management Plan for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River. The draft plan is available for public review and comment for  until December 6, 2019 at their web site.

In addition proposing an to an entrance fee, which has yet to be established, the plan also proposes a park-specific seven-day pass: $25 for a vehicle, $15 for a person, and $20 for a motorcycle,  and a $45 annual pass. The new entrance fee would mean changes to existing amenity fees and the park’s entrance stations. The plan calls for expansion and improvement of visitor facilities and amenities, including additional river camp sites.

In addition to public comment submitted on line and by mail, there will be two public meetings:

Thursday, October 24, 6 – 8 PM, Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company Hall, 124 Evergreen Drive, Bushkill, PA 18324

Saturday, October 26, 1-3 PM, Sussex County Technical School Auditorium, 105 North Church Road, Sparta, NJ 07871

Jane Richter, top mileage hiker two years in a row, active trail worker, Volunteer of the Month

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Jane Richter: to some, she seems like the Energizer Bunny in that she shows up every week for hikes, no matter how far away they are or whether they’re an easy canal walk or a mountain climb. She has been the number one AMC-DV member in terms of total mileage for the last two years.

But a lot of people don’t know that she has also been an active volunteer in doing trail work with the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards and the New Jersey Highlands Trail Crew, working in Ringing Rocks County Park, Veterans’ Park in Quakertown, and all the way up in the Jenny Jump State Forest in New Jersey.

As an active hiker, she appreciates the quality of a well maintained trail and knows that trails don’t maintain themselves, but are maintained by dedicated volunteers like herself. Thanks for pitching in Jane, and congratulations!

Take the Kittatinny Ridge Recognition and Identification Survey

a turtle crawling along the trail

The Kittatinny Ridge (the Ridge) is Pennsylvania’s longest contiguous forested ridge. This long mountain range is familiar to many. It is the large forested expanse that one can view to the left when you travel north on Interstate 81 from the Maryland border and continue east on Interstate 78. It’s where many go to play, relax, enjoy nature, and get away from it all. Click here for more information and to take the survey.

Take Action: Demand Full and Dedicated Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund

A green frog along the Thunder Swamp Trail

Now is our chance to finally secure permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The United States Senate is reviewing S.1081, a bi-partisan bill to permanently provide $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Write to your Senators today asking for their support of S.1081 by joining as a co-sponsor.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a visionary and bipartisan federal funding program for protecting our nation’s most special places. From Sterling Forest in the New York Highlands, to White Cap Mountain in Maine, to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has funded the protection of some of our most iconic landscapes and trails in the Northeast. Earlier this year, we celebrated the permanent re-authorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund, but without dedicated funding Congress’ work is not complete.

Write to your Senators in support of funding for LWCF.

The Sun Is a Compass

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A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

By Caroline Van Hemert. Little, Brown Spark, 2019

Book review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

If you like stories of adventures, have an interest in birds, paddling or the Arctic this book is worth reading. Caroline holds a PhD in biology, and her special expertise is birds. Her husband and travel companion, Pat Farrell, builds homes.

In their early thirties, the couple set out on an expedition of 4,000 miles from the Pacific rainforest to the Arctic coast.

“No roads, no trails, and no motors. We would travel by foot, on skis, in rowboats, rafts, and canoes. We would use only our own muscles to carry us through some of the wildest places left on earth.”

For 176 days, they traveled from Bellingham, Washington to Kotzebue, Alaska. Caroline and Pat spent hundreds of hours in a small tent, with no doors, no privacy and no facilities. They encountered mosquitoes, mountain goats, moose, bear, sea lions, whales, caribou and countless species of birds. They were tired, hungry, and hurting most of the trip, but they had to travel twenty plus miles a day to complete the trek in six months. In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they learned to trust the caribou instincts.

“And so, crossing this river has become necessary, in the way that it’s necessary to kiss a lover before leaving, to pause and look up when the moon is rising. Our bodies know what is essential and what is not.”

Before starting this adventure on March 17, 2012, the couple had climbed, skied, paddled, and explored together for more than 10 years. They spent a year planning this backcountry expedition. During this time, Pat was busy building the canoes they used at the start of their trip. Caroline was planning and packing their food. By the time they started in Washington, time had run out and the boats had not touched water and they had not had a chance to operate them.

Weather was an issue for much of the trip: snow, strong winds and rain. Due to a route change they were low on food and the weather caused a delay of their only air resupply. When it finally arrived and they moved on, they experienced a view of the western Arctic caribou herd migration. This almost made being stuck waiting for their needed food worthwhile. On September 9, the duo completed what had been a dream for years.

As people find trail magic along the Appalachian and other long distances trails, Caroline and Pat found locals who were willing to help them out with knowledge of the area, equipment, lodging and food. Learning that people are kind was the most valuable lesson I learned when I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Kindness was found in the people I travelled with and that of complete strangers.

For route information and pictures from the trip: https://carolineandpat.wordpress.com/home/trip-overview/

Book website: https://www.carolinevanhemert.com/book

Kathy Kelly-Borowski is a long-distance hiker completing the Appalachian, Long Trail, John Muir and Wonderland Trails. She has hiked in the Canadian Rockies, did a section of the Colorado Trail, walked Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru along with the Milford and Routeburn Tracks in New Zealand. Kathy has visited Alaska, Scotland, Slovenia, Antarctica and Hokkaido, Japan.

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Footnotes Spring 2018

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footnotes-spring-2018
  • DV Chapter leaders earn top honors at AMC annual meeting
  • Matthew Henson, story of a polar explorer
  • Trekking Iceland with AMC Mountain Leadership School skills
  • Mohican Getaways for kids
  • Outdoor Leadership Workshop April 6-8
  • Top activities leaders and participants of 2017
  • Hiking, paddling skills programs, and more!

Harriman State Park

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In 2016, DV Chapter members became involved with leading chapter trips at the new AMC facility at Harriman State Park. The success of the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center has led to the addition of a second facility at Harriman, which is expected to open in 2023.

Rolling on Water

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Learning to roll is like learning to play a musical instrument. It does not come at once, and requires lots of practice. Learning to roll in whitewater or on the ocean even more so. Your first thousand rolls will be the hardest.

Eskimo Rolling

by Derek Hutchinson

Illustrated with photos and drawings that actually make sense. For sea kayaking and whitewater, including canoe and C-1 rolls.

The Bombproof Roll and Beyond

by Paul Dutkey

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

Paddling Rescue and safety books

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Whitewater Rescue Manual: New Techniques for Canoeists, Kayakers, and Rafters

by Charles Walbridge and Wayne A. Sundmacher

This is the best available, but then I am biased. I took my training from the authors. The one below is also good, but spends far too much time on technical rescues I have never seen, let alone used. In whitewater rescues, speed is the essence!

River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety, AMC Paddlesports

by Slim Ray and Les Bechdel

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Sea Kayaking Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay: Day Trips on the Tidal Tributaries and Coastlines of the Western and Eastern Shore

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by Michael Savario and Andrea Nolan,

Backcountry Press, Woodstock, VT, backcountrypress.com, paperback, 2003.

Review by Eric Pavlak.

With 4,600 miles of tidal shoreline and more than 400 rivers and creeks, the Chesapeake Bay can be a paddler’s paradise. Unfortunately, it takes careful planning and a bit of experience in avoiding the paddling hell of power boats and overdevelopment that mars much of the bay. A good guide book in invaluable.

Sea Kayaking Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay is the excellent guide to paddling some of the nearby tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s fortunate that is good, because it is the only one available. (Ed Gertler’s Delaware and Maryland Canoe Trails, Senaca Press, does overlap on the tidal rivers, but does not cover open water.)

A good guide book writer must actually paddle (or hike or bicycle) all the trips described. Similarly, a good reviewer must actually do some of the trips described in the book to give a fair evaluation. Thus it has taken me some time to properly rate this book.

First, I have found this book accurate. This is most important. The trip descriptions are excellent, and include access information, safety considerations, and general wind and tide information. There are excellent driving directions to put-ins, many of which are otherwise obscure and hard to find.

The book includes usable charts of all trips. It is illustrated with many photographs, and includes information on the ecology wildlife and history of the trip areas.

There is also information on equipment and paddling skills, plus lots of extra information on safety, weather, travel and land accommodations.

The Chesapeake’s tides are minor; its winds are not. It is wide and open with little shelter from the flat land. Due consideration is given to wind in this book. Often the route taken, direction of travel and even the advisability of the trip are wind dependent.

While excellent, this book is not without deficiencies. While Chesapeake tides are small, sometimes they matter, particularly when combined with wind. Example: on the Tilghman Island trip, the paddler is warned of tidal current in the Knapp Narrows, yet no direction of flow based on the tide stage is given. It is not obvious. Also, it would be useful to list tide stations and relevant marine charts.

Aesthetic and safety considerations seem to make me a bit less tolerant of recreational power boats than the authors. I have done a lot of paddling in cold weather and in places like Maine and Nova Scotia, and am used to being free of them. So when the authors warn of high boat traffic, you probably don’t want to go there.

Conclusion: I give this book an A rating. Get it before you go and enjoy many, many days of happy paddling.

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Sea Kayaking Paddling Guide Books

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The Coastal Kayaker’s Manual, The Complete Guide to Skills, Gear, and Sea Sense

by Randel Washburne.

Good basic must have book.

Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia

by Scott Cunningham.

An excellent book I have used much. A Gertler-level guidebook! Which is fortunate, since it is the only one available for this sea kayaking paradise.

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Essential Paddling Guide Books

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Keystone Canoeing: A Guide to Canoeable Water of Eastern Pennsylvania

by Edward Gertler., Seneca Press.

Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails: A Paddler’s Guide to Rivers of the Old Line and First States

by Edward Gertler, Seneca Press.

Garden State Canoeing: A Paddler’s Guide to New Jersey

by Edward Gertler, Seneca Press. Seneca Press.

As essential to paddling the rivers of these states as your canoe or kayak! All are illustrated with maps that show access points, local roads, dams and other obstructions and more. They describe trip characteristics, scenery, water quality, level of difficulty, hazards, recommended gage readings and more. Covers all levels of difficulty, from flatwater to expert-level rivers. Gertler personally paddles every trip listed in his books. Among the best guide books ever written in any outdoor sport! Ed Gertler’s web site.

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians

20th Anniversary Edition By Scott Weidensaul

Review by Eric Pavlak

A gunshot and splash of blood on a snowy November day in north-central Pennsylvania in 1867 marked the end of the last of the wapiti, the native elk of the Appalachians. A hundred years later, the majestic bald eagle was all but gone.

Today, the eagles are back, thanks to conservation efforts and a ban on the poison that was killing them. A few western elk have now repopulated a tiny part of their former vast range. Each spring, the trout lilies and May apples still sprout. The land is once again verdant green, though men still rip coal from the earth, dump waste into streams and pump toxic fluids into deep bore holes to extract natural gas. Resplendent with nature’s beauty, rich with trees and water, these mountains have generated great wealth and great poverty. And every year, the snows refresh, the waters flow and the land regenerates.

Once towering to the heights of the Alps and the Rockies, the now-eroded and rounded Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest major mountain chains on earth. Extending from north-central Alabama to Belle Isle, off the northern tip of Newfoundland, they are the defining topological feature of eastern North America. They hold vast natural diversity and wonders, and have shaped much of the history of our nation and our continent.

Reading Scott Weidensaul’s Mountains of the Heart is like many fascinating days walking with an eloquent naturalist, and many evenings with a knowledgeable and genial historian.

Weidensaul takes us not just into the woods of these old hills, but along the creeks and rivers, and the flyways of birds and butterflies. He tells of those settled here and those who’s lives and land the settlers took.

This book was originally published 20 years ago. This is a newly updated edition, with a must-read introduction that includes the latest environmental insults our species is hurling at our mountains, and the conservation efforts to minimize the damage.

An author writing on a topic so vast as a mountain range obviously has to be selective. Your favorite topic might not be included. I was hoping for some mention of the extraordinary story of the American eel. I didn’t find it, but instead learned of the extensive travels of botanists John (father) and William Bartram in the mid-1700s.

Many nature writers are boring to me, lacking the poetry of a Wordsworth or the insight of a Thoreau. Unlike them, Weidensaul has produced a book that is fun to read. It is filled with well-researched information. Learn more about our loss of the great chestnuts, the once great shad runs, vanished bison. Celebrate the resurgence of egrets and ospreys. Learn about a multitude of things you have walked past and never noticed. Celebrate our beloved mountains.

About the Author: Scott Weidensaul is a Pennsylvania native and current resident, who began his writing career with the Pottsville Republican, first as a columnist, than as a full-time reporter. He left that 10-year stint to become a freelance nature writer, with long-running columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has written more than two dozen books, including Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. He is contributing editor for Audubon magazine and writes for, Bird Watcher’s Digest and National Wildlife.

He is an active field researcher studying bird migration, and is one for the few licensed hummingbird banders in the country. Owls are the focus of much of his efforts, and he directs the ornithology program at the Audubon Society’s Hog Island camp off the coast of Maine.

The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors

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James Edward Mills, Mountaineers Books, 256 pages 2014. Paperback.

Review by Susan Weida

As our country grows to be increasingly multi-cultural, it is vital that people of diverse racial and cultural groups develop a passion and love for the outdoors in order to protect and advocate for preservation of our wild places.

The Adventure Gap provides an excellent introduction into what is needed to make this a reality. It does this by centering on a compelling story about the first all African-American summit expedition on Denali, Alaska in 2013. Once you engage in the story of these climbers and their personal stories you will find it hard to stop reading.

The author, James Mills, makes a case for the vital role of men- tors to introduce young people of color to the outdoors and help them see themselves as part of this world. The world of outdoor adventure, especially in high skill, high risk areas such as mountain climbing has been represented in the media as a white male’s domain.

Often the history of people of color who did lead in the outdoors has been ignored and forgotten. While taking you step by step with the team through their preparation and climb of Denali, Mills interweaves the background stories of the team members. Although team members have accomplished significant success in both professional areas and in their avocation of climbing, most have faced a variety of life challenges.

Mills draws the line between how an outdoor mentor made a difference in their lives and how they are committing themselves to mentoring the next generation to connect with the outdoors.

Mills also weaves into his narrative some of the historical role models for the team- the role of the Buffalo Sol- diers in the early days of our National Park system, Charles Crenchaw who was the first African American to summit Denali, and Matthew Henson who reached the North Pole with Admiral Robert Peary. He also tells a touching story about middle school climbing champion Kai Lightner who in turn was being inspired by Expedition Denali.

There were two other additional points of interest for me in this book. One was the story of the author who had a passion to be part of Expedition Denali but was unable to make the ‘cut’ due to physical limitations. Mills went on to be a huge part of the accomplishments of the group by writing their story. The second is the acknowledgment that Mills gives to Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, at that time the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), for conceiving Expedition Denali. Aparna is part of the consulting team who is guiding the AMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, and I had the opportunity to participate in training with her in 2017.

I would recommend this book as a way to educate yourself about the value of diversity in the outdoors while enjoying an exciting tale of adventure and achievement.

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No Regrets, No Apologies

no regrets, No Apologies, doctor-book

by Michael C. Sinclair, MD

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 13, 2014)

World-traveling mountaineering surgeon now hikes with AMC-DV and works with Doctors Without Borders

Review by Lennie Steinmetz

Michael Sinclair is a world class mountaineer who has summited Everest, a cardiac surgeon from the Lehigh Valley who has performed more than 4,000 open heart surgeries, a doctor who now travels the world working for Doctors Without Borders, and a member of the DV Chapter of AMC. He recently published an autobiography titled No Regrets, No Apologies which is a most interesting read.

Sinclair was raised in a small town in northern California where athletic prowess was the sole measure of male worth. Inept in all sports, he had a miserable childhood and adolescence. In college he became a nose-to-the-grindstone student and graduated with honors. He completed medical school and went on to become a successful cardiac surgeon. In his late thirties, he was determined to revisit the issue of his apparent incompetence as an athlete. First he ran marathons. Then he began climbing mountains. Mountaineering became a committing avocation which rivaled heart surgery for his attention.”by Michael C. Sinclair, MD CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 13, 2014)

World-traveling mountaineering surgeon now hikes with AMC-DV and works with Doctors Without Borders

Review by Lennie Steinmetz

Michael Sinclair is a world class mountaineer who has summited Everest, a cardiac surgeon from the Lehigh Valley who has performed more than 4,000 open heart surgeries, a doctor who now travels the world working for Doctors Without Borders, and a member of the DV Chapter of AMC. He recently published an autobiography titled No Regrets, No Apologies which is a most interesting read.

Sinclair was raised in a small town in northern California where athletic prowess was the sole measure of male worth. Inept in all sports, he had a miserable childhood and adolescence. In college he became a nose-to-the-grindstone student and graduated with honors. He completed medical school and went on to become a successful cardiac surgeon. In his late thirties, he was determined to revisit the issue of his apparent incompetence as an athlete. First he ran marathons. Then he began climbing mountains. Mountaineering became a committing avocation which rivaled heart surgery for his attention.”

He launched his climbing career by contacting Rick Wilcox’s climbing school and guide service in New Hampshire. He took private climbing lessons there, then moved on to tackle big mountains like Aconcagua in South America, Mount Vinson and Mount McKinley in Alaska, and Mount Everest, to name a few. Some trips were more successful than others, but his tales about all of them are fascinating. There is a realism and honesty in his descriptions that is refreshing after reading some climbing books whose only goal seems to be to burnish the image of the climber himself.

After retiring from climbing big mountains, Sinclair continued to do rock climbing closer to home. Unfortunately, one of these trips led to his becoming the poster child for the Good Shepherd Home and Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown. A climbing accident in Delaware Water Gap left him with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, multiple fractures to his back and a broken hip socket. His long and painful, but ultimately successful, recovery led to his being featured on billboards throughout the Lehigh Valley extolling the virtues of Good Shepherd.

He has since gone on to cycle across America, do numerous backcountry ski trips throughout the US and Canada, and join AMC-DV for hiking and skiing adventures. He has also spends much of his time working for Doctors Without Borders with his wife Phyllis. They have taken part in over a dozen international missions, most lasting about six weeks, in places like Libya and South Sudan. The Allentown Morning Call recently ran a lengthy article about Sinclair and his humanitarian efforts, which can be found here. No Regrets, No Apologies is available on line.

He launched his climbing career by contacting Rick Wilcox’s climbing school and guide service in New Hampshire. He took private climbing lessons there, then moved on to tackle big mountains like Aconcagua in South America, Mount Vinson and Mount McKinley in Alaska, and Mount Everest, to name a few. Some trips were more successful than others, but his tales about all of them are fascinating. There is a realism and honesty in his descriptions that is refreshing after reading some climbing books whose only goal seems to be to burnish the image of the climber himself.

After retiring from climbing big mountains, Sinclair continued to do rock climbing closer to home. Unfortunately, one of these trips led to his becoming the poster child for the Good Shepherd Home and Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown. A climbing accident in Delaware Water Gap left him with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, multiple fractures to his back and a broken hip socket. His long and painful, but ultimately successful, recovery led to his being featured on billboards throughout the Lehigh Valley extolling the virtues of Good Shepherd.

He has since gone on to cycle across America, do numerous backcountry ski trips throughout the US and Canada, and join AMC-DV for hiking and skiing adventures. He has also spends much of his time working for Doctors Without Borders with his wife Phyllis. They have taken part in over a dozen international missions, most lasting about six weeks, in places like Libya and South Sudan. The Allentown Morning Call recently ran a lengthy article about Sinclair and his humanitarian efforts, which can be found here. No Regrets, No Apologies is available on line.

AMC’s Best Day Hikes Near Philadelphia

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Four-Season Guide to 50 of the Best Trails in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware,

Susan Charkes, AMC Books, 2010

Review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

Looking for new hikes, hikes that you can reach by public transportation, hikes you can take with your children or dog? If you would like learn more about berries, birds, meadows, the PA Highlands, spiders, trees, wildflowers, or frogs? This is the book for you.

Susan has grouped the trails listed in the book into three regions: central and southern New Jersey (10 hikes); the Lehigh Valley (14 hikes); and southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware (26 hikes).

She lists hikes, many well known trails and AMC-DV favorites: Appalachian Trail, Fairmount Park, French Creek State Park, Nockamixon State Park, Peace Valley Nature Center, Perkiomen Trail, Ridley Creek State Park, Valley Forge National Park, and Wissahickon Valley Park.

Other not so familiar trails are listed like Clarence Schock Memorial Park, Money Rocks Park, and Neversink Mountain Preserve.

The book offers an “At-a-Glance” chart listing the hike, the page where the hike is described, its location, difficulty, distance and elevation gain, estimated time, fee, whether the hike is good for children, dogs are allowed, good for cross country skiing or snowshoeing, if you can get to it by public transportation, and lists trip highlights.

Each individual trip lists location, difficulty, distance, elevation gain, estimated time, maps, brief description of the walk, detailed directions including GPS coordinates, trail description, small map showing the route. After each trail description is a paragraph listing helpful additional information: park office hours, fees, location of restrooms, address, phone numbers and websites.

Dispersed throughout the book are 17 short nature essays covering topics such as bird migration, deer ecology and Wissahickon schist. These essays will certainly open your eyes to your surroundings on your next hike. ob, one of the many hikes in the book.

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AMC’s Best Backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide to 30 of the Best Multiday Trips from New York to Virginia

by Michael R. Martin Paperback

Review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

Michael Martin wrote a feature article Hills, Hollows, and Beyond that appeared in the May/June issue of AMC Outdoors. Did you happen to see or read it? Michael wrote about the Susquehannock Trail located in North Central PA. This is just one of the trails included in his Best Backpacking book.

Best Backpacking includes just about everything a beginner to experienced backpacker would need for planning one of the trips listed in the book. A map shows the location of each trip and a planner contains location, difficulty, distance, elevation, estimated time, type of trip, if a fee is required, if dogs are permitted, ample water supply available, trips by theme (i.e. waterfalls, big views), and listing by State. Michael gave each trip what he calls “a fun and fanciful title.” These titles actually had me looking ahead to see what he named trails I had hiked. Some of my favorites: I Like Big Ridges and I Cannot Lie, (Don’t) Get Lost!, Carrying Water, and Hitting the High Notes.

Michael includes a section on where you should go hiking based on certain attributes about the areas, what you will see, what season it is or spending time with limited crowds. He also gives tips for staying safe and getting equipped for your trip. Leave No Trace guidelines are also included.

Each trail’s header includes the following: title, whether you may bring man’s best friend on the trip, water availability, are there usage fees, is camping permitted, location, trip highlights, distance, total elevation gain/loss, length of trip, difficulty, recommended maps and other resources. The description includes: over- view of hike, options for overnight, getting to the trailhead, hike description, other hike options, amenities nearby, and additional information about the trail. The author does include latitude and longitude coordinates in the hike description for reference, plus a trail map

The book is broken into trips by state: Virginia (7), West Virginia (5), Pennsylvania (6), New York (5), Maryland (4), New Jersey and Delaware (3). The author includes backpacks for all levels including a difficulty level: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, Strenuous, and Epic. Epic is defined as “Extended adventures with considerable and constant elevation gain and loss, often in remote regions on challenging trails.”

After reading this definition, I immediately turned to “Devil’s Path”, Trip #20. I’ve never hiked this trail, but I was always told it was extremely challenging. I was surprised that the trip was only rated “strenuous.” Curious, I had to find one of the “epic” trails that I had backpacked. The Susquehannock Trail was the only one that I completed. Re-reading the authors explanation of the difficulty of the Susquehannock Trail, I have to agree. We did not come across one view point, but we did walk countless ups and downs with considerable and constant elevation gain and loss. We had a stop in Cross Fork that we will never forget.

When we arrived in the small town we found they were preparing for their annual Rattlesnake Roundup. People were camped near the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources office.

The ranger on duty said we could find a spot and set up our tents. While at the small store buying ice cream a nasty storm blew into the area. The storm was so bad; we were actually holding our tent down. When the storm blew through, we got out of the tent to find a tree had come down on one of the campers, cutting it and a vehicle parked near it in half. Thank goodness no one was hurt. We spent most of the evening watching as the tree was removed. The owner of the camper came over to us and said at one point during the storm he was feeling really sorry for us being out in the weather in our small tent.

This book is a nice addition to my backpacking reference books. I have been backpacking for many years, but I still picked up tips from Michael in his gear section. After reading this guide there are trails that I have added to my list of those I would like to hike someday. Thank You, Michael.

The Road That Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel

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by Valerie Brown,

QuakerBridge Media, 151 PP. Paper $14.95

Review by Priscilla Estes

“As a traveler, I arrive not once, but again and again.”

Long-time Del Val member Valerie Brown carries you effort- lessly in her backpack through Spain, Scotland, Japan, New Zea- land and India, using the road to answer every hiker’s question: Why do we do it? Why do we travel by foot, an intimate and measured conveyance, enduring privation, fatigue and suboptimum conditions?

A seasoned seeker and unique blend of Buddhist and Quaker, Brown hikes to find herself; to test her commitment; to learn to let go of anger, frustration and dis- appointment; to ease her lifelong battle with impatience and resis- tance; and to embrace acceptance.

Travel’s surprises, hardships and joys peel both a physical and spiritual onion for Brown. She began her first major pilgrimage, El Camino de Santiago in Spain, doubting her physical endurance, apprehensive of her traveling companions, and frightened that her “fragile dream of finding true meaning from this journey would go unrealized.”

Clear and descriptive language lets us smell the mud and see the butterflies, learn the history of St. James, taste the figs and anchovies, and feel the blessed relief of unbooted feet as Brown struggles to live in the moment and realizes that her “inner empha- sis on speed is about fear.”

Each chapter describes a pilgrimage that brings her closer to her Buddhist and Quaker beliefs. A pre-dawn mud walk on the banks of the Ganges sends a rush of electricity “through the bottom of my feet to the top of my head,” helping ignite the Light Within, a central tenant of Buddhism and Quakerism.

On a trip to Celtic Iona, an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scot- land, Brown found courage to throw off her need for financial security and align with her heart, balancing desire for intimacy with her fierce independence.

The physical details of travel and cultural history illuminate a wealth of personal and spiritual insights. Nude group baths in Japan break down insecurities; a tea ceremony cultivates aware- ness and openheartedness; honoring the goddess Kannon brings sadness for the choice of career over motherhood.

Chapters begin with a quote and “Lesson” and end with “Quaker Queries for Reflection” and a “Practice Lesson,” creating both prayer book and guide book. Helpful appendices share training tips, packing lists and travel resources.

Travel, for Brown, is a way to heal and grow, to make peace with the head and the heart, and to discover the grace of love. This book is honest, educational and inspirational — handy qualities for any pilgrimage.

Delaware Valley Chapter & AMC Staff Office

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In 1999, the AMC opened the first Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Titusville, NJ, which helped launch a more active collaboration between the DV Chapter and AMC staff. This has been a very beneficial arrangement thanks to staff Regional Managers like Tom Gilbert, Jad Daley, Kristen Sykes, and Mark Zakutansky. The office was moved to a downtown Bethlehem location in 2006 and to its current home at Illick’s Mill in Bethlehem in 2015. The Illick’s Mill location also serves as a location for various DV Chapter meetings and educational efforts.

Leadership Committee

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The DV Chapter Leadership Committee was formed in 1997 in response to a clubwide initiative to have chapters take a more active role in establishing leadership standards and providing instruction for chapter members in how to successfully lead outdoor activities. This group has sponsored an annual Leadership Training Weekend each spring ever since, originally at the Mohican Outdoor Center, and since 2002 at the Nockamixon State Park Education Center. Since 2019, the program has expanded under Leadership Chair Jeff Fritzinger to include new and innovative online options connected with clubwide leadership initiatives.

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Mohican Outdoor Center

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The Chapter has also become involved in a number of other programs over the years. In 1992, the Lehigh Valley Group, a sub-group of the DV Chapter , was formed and has continued to run monthly program meetings and bring together members from the northern part of the chapter ever since. In 1993, AMC launched operations at the Mohican Outdoor Center in Delaware Water Gap. Kent Johnson, then DV’s Regional Director, discovered this property while involved in trail work efforts in the area, convinced AMC’s executive staff from Boston that it was a worthwhile project, and organized the volunteer committee that launched operations there. DV Chapter members were extremely active in the renovations and programming at Mohican in the first two years when it was a volunteer-run operation, and ever since in assisting the AMC staff-run operations there.

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Ridge Runner

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The Ridge Runner program on the chapter section of the Appalachian Trail began in the summer of 1992 and has continued almost every year since then. The program is a shared effort by the chapter, AMC, ATC, and the PA Department of Forestry and Parks, which helps provide major funding. A person is hired each summer to patrol and care for a 42 mile section of trail between Delaware Water Gap and Lehigh Furnace Gap. The program goal is to help protect and preserve the Trail experience for current and future generations through Leave No Trace education and on the ground monitoring of resources. Bill Steinmetz and Dan Schwartz have been co-coordinators of the program since its inception.

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Trail Advocating

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The DV Chapter has a long history of involvement in building, maintaining, and advocating for trails throughout our region. Advocacy efforts led by Malcolm White in the 80’s led to the Lehigh Tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension being twinned, rather than running a road through Lehigh Gap as had been proposed. The creation of the Perkiomen Trail in the 90’s was due in part to advocacy efforts spearheaded by Kent Johnson and Jane Shepard that involved many DV members. Trails from Valley Forge to Delaware Water Gap, including a section of the AT, have been the focus of volunteer efforts by DV Chapter members. In recent years, the chapter has been active in efforts to create the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network, which will extend the Highlands Trail (130 miles in New York and New Jersey) along the length of the Pennsylvania Highlands, from the Delaware River at Riegelsville, PA south to the Maryland border in south-central PA.

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Activities on the Rise

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The rise in membership has been matched by a rise in the level of activity in the chapter. In 1972, then Hiking Chair Kenneth Graham noted in his annual report that there had been a total of 59 organized hikes that year. In 1977 Hiking Chairman Malcolm White noted that the response to the hiking program was disappointing: several of the 50 hikes scheduled had no participants and only four had more than ten people show up. In 2019, before Chapter operations were interrupted by the COVID pandemic, DV leaders led an average of 65 hikes every month. Nearly 1500 individuals joined and enjoyed these activities, and 135 members reached 100-miler status that year. In addition, numerous backpacking, trail work, biking, and paddling trips were part of the very active schedule.

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Whitewater Paddling

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From the mid 1970s until 2014, the chapter had a very active whitewater paddling program, often running more than 50 trips a year on class II to IV rivers. Introductory instruction courses for both whitewater and general paddling that drew more than 20 students, plus advanced classes in whitewater and sea kayak paddling were offered each year, For the past 25 years, swiftwater safety training classes have been full every year, For many years, the chapter also ran annual week-long whitewater trips along the Appalachians as far south as Georgia, plus weekend trips to the Adirondacks and New England The club once owned and maintained nine whitewater boats and still has three. Loss of leaders and general loss of interest in whitewater among members eliminated that program. Meanwhile, the flatwater program, once small, has grown, and now offers trips most weekends from late April to mid-October.

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Ruby Horwood

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Ruby Horwood, DV Chapter Chair from 1969-70, went on to become the first female president of the AMC (clubwide) from 1974-75. During her time in those roles, she was active in the Tocks Island Dam battle, which led to the creation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and also in protecting Franconia Notch in the White Mountains from the proposed widening of I-93 to a four-lane superhighway. She celebrated her 100th birthday in the spring of 2017 at a special party with the female DV Chapter Chairs who had followed in her footsteps.

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