Ex­pe­ri­ence ad­ven­tures on the Ap­palachian Trail

The Southern Berks News - - NEWS - From Edie SheanHam­mond

On Sun­day, Jan­uary 13, the Friends of Hopewell Fur­nace in­vite the pub­lic to wit­ness “Ad­ven­tures on the Ap­palachian Trail” with Thru-Hiker Neil Koch. The free pro­gram will be­gin at 2 p.m. in Hopewell Fur­nace’s con­fer­ence room.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ap­palachian Trail Con­fer­ence, com­plet­ing the en­tire 2,190 miles of the Ap­palachian Na­tional Scenic Trail (A.T.) in one trip is con­sid­ered to be a mam­moth un­der­tak­ing. Each year, thou­sands of hik­ers at­tempt a thruhike; only about one in four makes it all the way. A typ­i­cal thru-hiker takes five to seven months to hike the en­tire A.T.

Neil Koch serves as the chief of in­ter­pre­ta­tion at Hopewell Fur­nace Na­tional His­toric Site. Be­fore join­ing the Hopewell staff in 2018, Koch worked as a Park Guide, Park Ranger, and Su­per­vi­sory Park Ranger at Na­tional Mall and Me­mo­rial Parks in the heart of Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Prior to work­ing with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice, he worked sev­eral po­si­tions for Ap­palachian Trail clubs, per­formed bound­ary main­te­nance for the Ap­palachian Trail Con­ser­vancy, and served as Peace Corps Vol­un­teer in Vanuatu. Shortly be­fore join­ing the Peace Corps, Neil thru hiked the en­tire Ap­palachian Trail from Maine to Ge­or­gia. Neil is a Mary­land na­tive and holds a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Parks, Recre­ation, and Tourism from the Univer­sity of Maine.

Es­tab­lished in 1994, the Friends of Hopewell Fur­nace is the of­fi­cial non­profit fundrais­ing arm of Hopewell Fur­nace Na­tional His­toric Site. A 501(c)3 cit­i­zen or­ga­ni­za­tion, its mis­sion is to sup­port the preser­va­tion, main­te­nance and pro­grams of Hopewell Fur­nace Na­tional His­toric Site. Do­na­tions to the Friends may be tax de­ductible ac­cord­ing to the rules set by the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice.

While at the park, vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to ex­plore the land­scape, go into the vil­lage, tour the build­ings, and learn about iron mak­ing and why Hopewell Fur­nace is im­por­tant to our na­tion’s his­tory. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wed­nes­day thru Sun­day, the park is lo­cated five miles south of Birds­boro, off Route 345. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.friend­sofhopewell­furn.org.

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