Only in York County

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The Appalachian Trail – an area wonder

Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows how much our family likes to hike.

I guess it’s no surprise that both my husband and I are pretty into the Appalachian Trail, then. Our goal – albeit a bit vague – is to hike the whole thing in small parts, a day hike here, a vacation drive to another hiking spot there.

So you can bet I was excited when he sent me a news release he got recently, about a museum devoted to the trail that’ll open in Gardners, Adams County. It’s especially cool because it features a York County man well-known for his trail accomplishments – Earl Shaffer, who you might remember as one of my nominations for the best “E” of York County.

From the release:

“Permits have been approved and work has begun on a 200-year-old historic stone grist mill that is being transformed into the Appalachian Trail Museum — the first museum dedicated to hiking in the United States.

‘Years of planning, volunteer hard work and dreaming have gotten us to where we are today,’ said Larry Luxenberg, president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society — the non-profit organization that was formed in 2002 to lead efforts to establish the museum. ‘The museum will be more than a building and the midway point on the 2,178 mile trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia. It will be a tribute to the thousands of men, women and families who have hiked and maintained the Appalachian Trail, making it arguably the most famous hiking trail in the world.’

Exhibits at the museum will tell the stories of the founding, construction, preservation, maintenance, protection and enjoyment of the trail since its inception in the 1920s. The museum will portray not only the history of the trail but also the essence of the physical, intellecĀ­tual, emotional and spiritual human experience of the Appalachian environment and the culture of hiking.

Luxenberg said the initial featured exhibit at the museum will tell the story of one of the region’s favorite sons – York County, Pennsylvania, outdoorsman Earl Shaffer, who in 1948 became the first person to hike the Appalachian Trail in a single season. The trail shelter that this humble hiker, poet and WWII soldier built on Peters Mountain, Pennsylvania, was recovered in 2008, and it will be part of the exhibit.

The grand opening for the museum will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 5 — National Trails Day. The museum is approximately 15 miles west of Gettysburg at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. ‘We will mark the occasion with a grand celebration: a ribbon cutting ceremony, three days of hikes sponsored by local clubs and interpretative programs with children and families in mind,’ Luxenberg said. At first, the museum will operate on weekends in the spring and fall and five afternoons per week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.”

Want to learn more? Visit www.atmuseum.org.

I, for one, can’t wait to visit and to continue my dream of hiking all the parts of the trail!

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