By Andrea Minoff
Government officials, community leaders, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and members of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Berkshire Chapter joined with members of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Committee for Dalton on Saturday, August 19 at Pinegrove Park on High Street to celebrate the official designation of Dalton as one of the newest Appalachian Trail communities.
The day’s events included a three-mile walk along part of the 10-mile section of the A.T. which passes through Dalton led by Bob McBain and Brian Sears, volunteer work at the Kay Wood Shelter hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Club and a designation ceremony.
State Representative Paul Mark read a proclamation, followed by the presentation of signs to be posted on the A.T. in Dalton by ATC New England Regional Director Hawk Metheny to Dalton
Town Manager Ken Walto. The ceremony ended with Andrea Lassor, A.T. Community Committee for Dalton co-chair and Cosmo Catalano, Volunteer Coordinator for AMC Berkshire Chapter presenting a carved walking stick to Dalton resident and committee member Tom Levardi, who has hosted hikers at his home in Dalton for almost 40 years.
Celebrants, including a dozen A.T. through hikers, enjoyed food and beverages donated by Dalton Fireman’s Association President Scott Casella and John Kelly, owner of Kelly’s
A.T. Trail Community Program
Now in its seventh year with more than 40 communities participating, including Great Barrington and North Adams, the Appalachian Trail Community™ designation program is a program of the non profit managers of the Appalachian Trail. Launched in 2010, this program recognizes communities for their part in in promoting awareness of the A.T. as an important community and national asset.
“We are thrilled that we have been rewarded with this designation,” said Andrea Lassor and Margaret Cahill , co-chairs of the A.T. Community Committee for Dalton. “We wanted to take some concrete action to help bring people to Dalton by showcasing the A.T,” the pair explained. “This grew out of the ‘Grow Dalton’ initiative, and we have received strong support from Dalton businesses.” Lassor and Cahill both volunteer as A.T. maintainers on the Trail’s Dalton section, while Tom Levardi, another committee member, has hosted hikers at his property just off the Trail for the past 37 years.
Designation as an Appalachian Trail Community ™ and participation in the program is intended to:
• Engage the community, Trail visitors and stewards
• Thank communities for their decades of service to hikers
• Act as a catalyst for enhancing sustainable economic development
• Aid local municipalities and regional areas with conservation planning
• Help local community members see the Trail as a resource and asset
“ The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail, stated Julie Judkins, Director of Education and Outreach for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “These new partnerships will increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning as well as support healthy lifestyles for community citizens.”
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed
today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, visit www.appalachiantrail.org