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Appalachian Mountain Club: Supporting Vital Northeastern Conservation Efforts

November 27, 2011 Leave a comment

By Stephen Goettle

[The Appalachian Mountain Club has been instrumental in protecting and maintaining natural areas such as New Hampshire’s White Mountains.]
[Author: ford. Posted at Wikimedia Commons.]

A hiking and skiing enthusiast, I am a longtime member of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). One of America’s oldest outdoor organizations, the group was established in 1876 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Edward Pickering and a group of 33 charter members. The club initially focused on preserving forests and building hiking huts and trails in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, with the organization gradually expanding its sphere of operations to the entire Northeast, from Maine to the District of Columbia.

The AMC has long been at the forefront of efforts in environment legislation and monitoring. It notably won a permanent injunction against a proposed I-93 highway extension in 1975 that would have had a significant environmental impact. In 1990, the group played a seminal role in creating the Northern Forest Alliance and six years later, it began monitoring ozone levels in the White Mountains. In the late 1990s, the AMC joined a coalition of like-minded organizations, urging protection of remaining roadless areas in the Appalachians. An AMC partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other public and private groups successfully restored the endangered Robbins Cinquefoil wildflower within the White Mountain National Forest.

One of the recent accomplishments of AMC has been the conservation purchase of a nearly 30,000 acres of pristine wilderness in Maine. The 2009 transaction completed the acquisition of a corridor of protected land that stretches over 60 miles surrounding the 100-Mile Wilderness portion of the Appalachian Trail. The AMC’s Conservation Action Network currently focuses on issues including clean air legislation in Congress and energy policy regarding Mid-Atlantic states’ “hydrofracking” and natural gas development practices.

The Appalachian Mountain Club offers members access to a network of hundreds of overnight lodges and campgrounds in wilderness areas throughout the Northeast. Organizational chapters oversee hundreds of family, group, teen, and youth programs designed to encourage responsible and enjoyable outdoor recreation. The AMC New Hampshire chapter alone operates several volunteer programs, encompassing trail crews, Mountain Watch, and Flower Watch. The chapter also organizes year-round trips and family adventure camps. Group activities extend to indoor climbing in the winter season, providing climbers an alternative to hazardous cold-rock and limited sunlight conditions.

About the Author: A Boston-based Associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, Stephen Goettle engages with firms in the areas of private equity and alternative investments.