On Saturday, September 17 at the IAT Annual General Meeting at Saint Anne des Monts, Québec, the IAT honoured Appalachian Trail Executive Director Dave Startzell - who will soon retire after more than 30 years of dedicated service - for his outstanding leadership of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy(ATC) and his support of the IAT. To mark the occasion, Dave was presented with a framed certificate that recognizes his valuable contribution to the AT and his ongoing support for the IAT. It is surrounded by flags of IAT chapters in North America, Western Europe, and across the North Atlantic.
As Executive Director of the ATC for the last 34 years, Dave has presided over the multitude of projects that have made the ATC one of the finest long-distance trails in the world. Early on he and his team were instrumental in getting legislation passed that created the National Scenic Trails Act. That legislation resulted in the approximately 2250 miles of the ATC becoming a federally owned, long-distance hiking trail. Dave and his team worked with officials in six different administrations to fund the acquisition of the trailway and substantial adjacent lands. In total over 200 million dollars was dedicated to this effort.
Dave's tireless leadership efforts also resulted in vastly increased membership and budgets, and a smoothly functioning group of 30 clubs charged with maintaining the ATC from Georgia to Maine. His efforts will be forever recognized as pivotal in the development of the world’s best known long-distance hiking trail, which served as the model for the IAT.
In recognition of the leadership and dedication of Dave and his Board, and the role they played in the development of the AT and support for the IAT as it extended throughout the "Appalachian" regions of North America, Europe and Africa, the Council of the International Appalachian Trail presented Dave with the below Certificate of Appreciation at the 2011 AGM: