NEW MEMBERS (Please remember to check CHARLOTTESVILLE CHAPTER on the application)... click here to join the PATC!
RENEWING MEMBERS... click here to renew your PATC membership.
Download a Membership Application Form (Please remember to check CHARLOTTESVILLE CHAPTER on the application)
Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
118 Park Street, S.E.
Vienna, Virginia 22180-4609
- Monthly newsletter, The Potomac Appalachian, delivered by mail
- Discount on purchases of all merchandise, including PATC's fine trail maps and guidebooks
- Discount applies on purchases made online at the PATC Store and at PATC Headquarters Sales Desk
- Member privilege for renting PATC "Members Only" Cabins
- Entitles you to elect to be a Trail Overseer (and receive additional benefits)
- An invitation to the PATC Annual Meeting and Dinner in November
Why Should I Join?If you enjoy hiking, backpacking, or any use of trails for outdoor recreation, we invite you to join the PATC. In the mid-Atlantic region, chances are that the trails you use are maintained by volunteers from PATC. Our volunteers strive to keep your path clear so that you can more fully enjoy your outdoor experiences. The next time you are striding along on a trail, look in any random direction through the forest. That is what a trail would look like in a very short time without diligent trail maintenance. How about the trailside shelter you had lunch or overnighted in, or used to escape a storm? PATC volunteers built and maintain it. Does litter get picked up by woodland creatures? Only if they have a PATC patch on their backpacks.
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is founded on volunteerism and public service to outdoorspeople in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. This tradition began in 1927, when PATC was formed to survey and construct hundreds of miles of the Appalachian Trail. By the time Shenandoah National Park was created in 1937, PATC was already maintaining a network of trails in the region and publishing the first trail maps and guidebooks. During this period, PATC also started constructing trailside cabins and shelters for the hiking public.
PATC's trail region has grown to more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails and more than 60 cabins and shelters. The volunteer tradition endures - 500 volunteers contribute their time and energy to keep the trails open and the shelters and cabins in good repair. PATC's maps and guidebooks are considered the most accurate sources in the world for information concerning trails in our hiking region.
PATC's volunteering now goes well beyond trail, cabin, and shelter maintenance. For example,
- PATC leads hiking and backpacking trips, and hosts numerous events of interest to outdoorspeople.
- PATC has five regional Chapters (including the Charlottesville Chapter) where those further afield can participate actively in the Club.
- PATC's Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group (SMRG) focuses on the safety and well-being of missing hikers and outdoorspeople.
- PATC's Trail Patrol and Appalachian Trail Ridgerunners provide education and assistance to other trail users.
- PATC hosts Appalachian Trail through-hikers, weekend backpackers, and day hikers at the Club's Blackburn Trail Center and Bear's Den facility.
- PATC purchases and manages small parcels of land to protect trailheads and viewsheds.
- PATC has a Conservation Committee which focuses on issues that affect our trail region.
- PATC maintains an active presence monitoring the land boundaries of the Appalachian Trail through the Corridor Monitoring Program.
- PATC leads the way to establishment of new long distance trails; the established Tuscarora Trail and the proposed Great Eastern Trail.
- PATC works with nearly 70 government agencies on trail related matters.
- PATC provides 35,000 volunteer hours per year to support trails.
- PATC has active Mountaineering and Ski Touring Sections.
- PATC’s Naturalist’s program monitors rare plants, catches aquatic insects, counts American chestnut trees, and takes pictures of black bear and other warm-blooded animals of our forests.
Membership will make you part of PATC's public service and volunteerism. We can't do it without the financial support from our membership dues. On your next hike, look at all of the fallen trees that have been sawed and removed from your path. It was most likely a volunteer who cut them. Examine the water diversion devices in the trail that prevent the trail from eroding. Most likely a volunteer cut, dug, and placed them. Have the encroaching brush and weeds been trimmed back from your path? A volunteer did the trimming. Would your hiking experience be the same without PATC?
Your membership is very valuable to us. We hope you will become a partner in our ongoing efforts, and will join a community of outdoorspeople that crosses all age groups. Help us maintain the tradition and create new trail history for future generations.
If you have time, we encourage you to volunteer to join one of our many volunteer activities. No experience is necessary. Our volunteer activities are satisfying, productive, enriching, and more fun than a walk in the woods!