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Stonewall
02-09-2007, 22:47
Hey all, was wondering if anyone has had problems with getting their ATC membership? On the 1st or 2nd of December I purchased a membership on the 3rd I e-mailed the about not getting my membership number and on 5th they took my money, and never heard a response from them. I was looking to purchase the Complete box set of Maps, Guides and such that they had for a special price but, well that has now long been over and I still don't have my membership. I did e-mail them again so hopefully I'll get a response soon.

Just curious if this is a regular thing or a fluke accident, or just me.... wait a second scratch the 3rd:o

Touch of Grey
02-09-2007, 22:53
I joined in November and just got my card in the mail last month. so roughly ninety days after the fact. They have you on record if you are worried about making member purchases. So this should be no problem. If it is otherwise then I don't know.

TOG

Blissful
02-09-2007, 23:13
I called them to get my membership number to order some stuff then got my packet a few weeks after that.
I'd call rather than e-mail.

Stonewall
02-09-2007, 23:23
Yeah I will try and call tomorrow,a little to late tonight. I just remembered that never heard diddly do from them. So that is why i posted this.

buckowens
02-10-2007, 00:03
I had the same problem, and ended up emailing them for my number. I never got an email back, but got the card a few days later. I live in WV so I figured they were just a bit behind...

QHShowoman
02-10-2007, 00:57
Well, for most membership based organizations, depending on the quantity of membership requests received, they don't usually fulfill them right away. Basically, the process goes something like this:

1. You send in your membership dues and they are received by a caging facility.
2. Said caging facility opens the organization's mail on a daily basis, batches it, deposits all checks and cash.
3. Over the next 2-3 days to a week, your member info gets entered into the organization's database.
4. At some point -- daily, weekly, maybe monthly -- all new members for that time period are pulled from the database and sent to the mail shop.
5. At the mail shop, the welcome packages are personalized, often with various samples being sent back and forth to the organization for approval.
6. Once welcome package set up is approved, materials are lasered, envelopes are stuffed, and mailed third class bulk rate
7. Because they're sent third class, they'll take on average a week to be recieved. There's also no forwarding service, so if you entered a bad address when you applied for membership, there won't be any address correction done at the post office.

Even if you enter your info online, its the same process, except the organization has to download the info from the online vendor, run the credit cards through, upload the donor info into the database, etc.

So yeah, if you just submitted your info on the 1st, expecting them to send you your membership info the next day isn't very realistic.

Frosty
02-10-2007, 02:21
Well, for most membership based organizations, depending on the quantity of membership requests received, they don't usually fulfill them right away. Basically, the process goes something like this:

1. You send in your membership dues and they are received by a caging facility.
2. Said caging facility opens the organization's mail on a daily basis, batches it, deposits all checks and cash.
3. Over the next 2-3 days to a week, your member info gets entered into the organization's database.
4. At some point -- daily, weekly, maybe monthly -- all new members for that time period are pulled from the database and sent to the mail shop.
5. At the mail shop, the welcome packages are personalized, often with various samples being sent back and forth to the organization for approval.
6. Once welcome package set up is approved, materials are lasered, envelopes are stuffed, and mailed third class bulk rate
7. Because they're sent third class, they'll take on average a week to be recieved. There's also no forwarding service, so if you entered a bad address when you applied for membership, there won't be any address correction done at the post office.

Even if you enter your info online, its the same process, except the organization has to download the info from the online vendor, run the credit cards through, upload the donor info into the database, etc.

So yeah, if you just submitted your info on the 1st, expecting them to send you your membership info the next day isn't very realistic.He paid December 5. That's two months. All he wanted in December was to be able to buy the the thru-hiker special map/guide package at member rates. Since he had paid and was in fact a member, that isn't unreasonable at all. They should have answered his email. Poor customer service, and bad business practice as he will not be likely to renew and there goes future cash income.

rickb
02-10-2007, 09:27
Pick up the phone and give them a call. All will be well.

RedneckRye
02-10-2007, 09:50
But once they have your address, you hear from them quite frequently. Usually a plea for $$$$$.

Lone Wolf
02-10-2007, 09:51
Hey all, was wondering if anyone has had problems with getting their ATC membership? On the 1st or 2nd of December I purchased a membership on the 3rd I e-mailed the about not getting my membership number and on 5th they took my money, and never heard a response from them. I was looking to purchase the Complete box set of Maps, Guides and such that they had for a special price but, well that has now long been over and I still don't have my membership. I did e-mail them again so hopefully I'll get a response soon.

Just curious if this is a regular thing or a fluke accident, or just me.... wait a second scratch the 3rd:o

they've gone corporate. the little guy gets shoved aside.

Lone Wolf
02-10-2007, 09:52
But once they have your address, you hear from them quite frequently. Usually a plea for $$$$$.

yup. every 3 weeks i get mail from ATC pleading for me to join

the_iceman
02-10-2007, 09:55
Hey all, was wondering if anyone has had problems with getting their ATC membership? On the 1st or 2nd of December I purchased a membership on the 3rd I e-mailed the about not getting my membership number and on 5th they took my money, and never heard a response from them. I was looking to purchase the Complete box set of Maps, Guides and such that they had for a special price but, well that has now long been over and I still don't have my membership. I did e-mail them again so hopefully I'll get a response soon.

Just curious if this is a regular thing or a fluke accident, or just me.... wait a second scratch the 3rd:o

It took a month or more to get my membership package as far as I remember. I did order the "Famous Book and Map Set Special" for $190.

Not to worry about missing the December deal becasue it is only $165 for members now. :D

weary
02-10-2007, 09:58
Pick up the phone and give them a call. All will be well.
ATC does seem to have an office problem. After they gave me a plaque and a silver cup at the last biennial meeting (the cup is great for keeping change in) it took several months for my honorary membership card to arrive.

I suspect they may rely on volunteers for such routine tasks and volunteers tend to perform more or less at random.

Weary

generoll
02-10-2007, 10:08
Probably too busy tilting at windmills.

the_iceman
02-10-2007, 17:06
I mispoke and need to apologize to the ATC:

I ordered the Famous Map & Book Bundles in December for $190 member price + $15 shipping. Normal Price is $244.30 plus shipping.

What is currently available for $165.45 (member price) is just the Maps and the Maine book not the the Book and Map bundle.

I think just the maps are fine but since the books were only a few $ more at the time I figured I can leave the books with my wife. They have information about getting to road crossings which she made need for those angel opportunities our an emergency (hope not).

Stonewall
02-10-2007, 17:13
lol I noticed that and went back and checked was going to ask you where you saw the $165.45 at lol.

Speaking of which is it worth getting the Full package deal for $244.30 or just the maps for $165.45?

Frosty
02-10-2007, 17:42
lol I noticed that and went back and checked was going to ask you where you saw the $165.45 at lol.

Speaking of which is it worth getting the Full package deal for $244.30 or just the maps for $165.45?The guidebooks are more useful for section hikers. I like them because they have a lot of trailhead/road crossing info.

The type of info you need as a thru is better found in the Companion/Data book, or Wingfoot's book IMO. Maps are useful, though, especially he elevation profiles. Also, distances to shelters/road crossings, etc are easier to understand when looking at the visual relationship of a map, rather than a table of numbers.

My 2 cents.

WalkinHome
02-11-2007, 13:54
they've gone corporate. the little guy gets shoved aside.

And the "big" guy would be.....?

And the "big guy would get....?

Jack Tarlin
02-11-2007, 14:41
They've changed their magazine (it's a bit glossier) and changed their name, mainly because "Conservancy" makes more sense to people than "Conference."

How is this "going corporate?" :-?

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 14:48
corporate ads in the rag

weary
02-11-2007, 15:56
corporate ads in the rag
Right Lone Wolf. We know you dislike corporations, except, of course, the oil companies whose dividends keep you in food, housing and the trail.

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 16:00
Right Lone Wolf. We know you dislike corporations, except, of course, the oil companies whose dividends keep you in food, housing and the trail.

My $30 will go further with the land trust you represent than it will with the ATC. they lost me when the magazine had horses on the cover and a feature article on horse packing and full page ads for law firms. what's the link to the land trust?

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 16:04
Right Lone Wolf. We know you dislike corporations,

and no where did i say i dislike corporations. i just said it looks like ATC is going corporate.

Sly
02-11-2007, 16:43
what's the link to the land trust?

http://www.matlt.org/

weary
02-11-2007, 17:49
My $30 will go further with the land trust you represent than it will with the ATC. they lost me when the magazine had horses on the cover and a feature article on horse packing and full page ads for law firms. what's the link to the land trust?
www.matlt.org

the_iceman
02-11-2007, 17:57
lol I noticed that and went back and checked was going to ask you where you saw the $165.45 at lol.

Speaking of which is it worth getting the Full package deal for $244.30 or just the maps for $165.45?

If you have no one to use the books back home or do not plan to section hike in the next few years I would get just the maps.

K0OPG
02-11-2007, 17:57
I have never had a problem with renewing my membership or with ordering stuff from the trailstore. I hope this is an isolated incident for you.

I also ordered the book and map bundle for members last year and have had a blast reading and planning for this year.

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 20:10
I just made a $50 donation to the Maine AT Land Trust. I challenge all on here to give something.

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 20:28
While we're on the subject of the ATC and NFS and how $$ is spent, a recent relo above Shady Valley, Tn., 20 miles south of Damascus, was money not so well spent. The AT a few years ago was set in stone on Forest Service land. They (NFS/ATC) bought X amount of acres to re-route it thru an old farm. Nice views and all for half a mile thru a field but why? I heard it cost $1,000,000. That's to buy land that was already protected.

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 20:38
And does the ATC authorize the construction of these new big-ass shelters that cost 20-40 thousand dollars or is it a maintaining club discretionary thing?

Jack Tarlin
02-11-2007, 20:53
Shelters are almost always donated by individuals or familes, or in some cases, businesses, like L.L. Bean did with Potawadjo Spring. The showplace shelters (like several built by the PATC) were NOT funded with ATC money.

Whether or not there should even BE shelters like that anyway is debatable, and personally, I think the individual clubs should do more sensible things with their $, but at least it's not ATC money.

As for the Shady Valley project, I think they bought that parcel out of fear that it was about to be developed and destroyed, and rather than have a big developed area right next to the Trail, they decided to purchase the land instead in order to preserve it. But that's just what I heard. I bet Bob Peoples would know.

woodsy
02-11-2007, 20:54
I just made a $50 donation to the Maine AT Land Trust. I challenge all on here to give something.

Sorry, I'm broke:(, but I did give MATC $20.00 last Nov:)

rickb
02-11-2007, 21:00
And does the ATC authorize the construction of these new big-ass shelters that cost 20-40 thousand dollars or is it a maintaining club discretionary thing?


The ATC must give their blessing.

Lone Wolf
02-11-2007, 21:13
I just made a $50 donation to the Maine AT Land Trust. I challenge all on here to give something.

by the way, it's oil profit money. is that o.k.?

weary
02-11-2007, 21:45
The ATC must give their blessing.
I'm not sure that's true, Rick, but I'm really not sure. It's my impression that regardless of whether they have veto power, they are reluctant to use it. Though I know that they think some of the massive, elaborate shelters are terribly out of place on a wild trail -- as do I.

I strongly suspect that the National Park Service has veto powers for things that are built on their lands. But again, I sense they are reluctant to use it.

The trail truly is largely a volunteer maintained facility. Everyone in authroity wants to keep it that way. Everyone is reluctant to disagree with whatever the clubs want to happen, unwise as it may be.

Weary

weary
02-11-2007, 21:49
by the way, it's oil profit money. is that o.k.?
No problem whatsoever, Lone Wolf. We take money from anyone, regardless of their financial persuasion.

Weary www.matlt.org

Peaks
02-12-2007, 11:04
They've changed their magazine (it's a bit glossier) and changed their name, mainly because "Conservancy" makes more sense to people than "Conference."

How is this "going corporate?" :-?

Jack, as you are probably aware, since 2003 there have been lots of changes to the ATC other than the name change. And not only has the AT magazine changed significantly. The whole Board of Managers has been reduced in numbers, and several high paid people were hired. Recently I understand that recently several of these new people have not worked out and have left. So, it appears that a lot of the changes just have not worked out as hoped. There's obviously a lot going on that only someone like Laurie knows the true story.

moxie
02-12-2007, 11:08
Thanks for the donation Lone Wolf. I know how much you enjoy the trail in Maine, and speaking from experience, you add alot of color to the AT hiking experience when you are here. Hope to see you out there this summer. On a the origional subject, I suspect slave labor does most of the work at the ATC. I have been a member for many years. They are slower than snow melt it February in Maine BUT they will take your word you are a member when you purchase from their store. I do not care for the new magazine or image either but they are a great organization and just do what is necessary to get the job done.
(Considering his gift I think the Maine AT club should name it's next shelter, "The Lone Wolf Shelter")

rafe
02-12-2007, 11:28
(Considering his gift I think the Maine AT club should name it's next shelter, "The Lone Wolf Shelter")

Why not the Exxon Valdez shelter? ;)

What about those of us who've been ATC members for decades and contributed (most likely) thousands of $$ between membership dues and extra donations... several times each year...

Lone Wolf
02-12-2007, 11:29
you gotta be dead to have a shelter named after you. i hate shelters.

1Pint
02-12-2007, 12:06
I received my ATC membership as a gift. The person who gave it kept waiting for me to acknowledge the gift but I didn't know anything about it 'cause I hadn't received a peep out of the ATC. First thing I got in the mail was a solicitation to buy something from the store. I wondered where they got my address but still didn't say anything. Then like 6 weeks or 2 months later my friend finally asked if I had received anything and 'fessed up to the fact that they had sent in a gift membership for me.

My membership card arrived in the mail about 2 months after my friend sent in the check. It had an expiration date of 10 months later, starting the clock back to when my friend paid for it. I hate being a problematic customer, but I figured that 2 months was a bit excessive as far as delays go. So I called the ATC. The staff was very friendly and promised to extend my membership by 2 months, giving me a true 1 year membership. As my first interaction with them, I was pleased with their cheerful resolution of my concern. :)

moxie
02-12-2007, 17:33
you gotta be dead to have a shelter named after you. i hate shelters.
Imagine poor Earl Schaffer, had no idea he was dead when they named that shelter after him. He went right on hiking, singing, writing poetry and no one told him he was dead. About 1996 or 1997 The Earl Schaffer shelter fell into disrepair and Earl requested they take his name off it. I know how LW feels about shelters so I thought it would be nice to name one after him. LW, how do you feel about hostels and trail town motels?:confused:

Lone Wolf
02-12-2007, 17:35
I do not like hostels. I like motels. By myself. No sharing.

weary
02-12-2007, 18:45
Why not the Exxon Valdez shelter? ;)

What about those of us who've been ATC members for decades and contributed (most likely) thousands of $$ between membership dues and extra donations... several times each year...
No problem. We'll even name a tree after you. In fact, just pick out a tree and choose a name. No paper work is required. Whenever you pass that tree, or think about that tree, say to yourself, "that's my tree because I helped save a mountain."

Shelters, however, are off limits, even for Lone Wolf. MATC has adopted an official policy against naming things after people, anymore, though it always struck me that the policy came too late. We already had several shelters and campsites named for people.

We were frequently being approached by people wanting to name something after former thru hikers or trail maintainers, who died or who did other special things. It became easier to "just say no!"

Anyway, I find the greatest satisfaction is to have had a significant role in saving something important. Assuming my mind is still functioning, I suspect that Abraham will be among my last thoughts. There is no greater sense of accomplishment in my mind than to have helped keep a mountain undeveloped forever.

Our goal now is to protect the last of the unprotected High Peaks region that surrounds Abraham.

WEary www.matlt.org

Cookerhiker
02-12-2007, 20:50
I had a membership renewal problem when the ATC typed the wrong expiration date on my card. Since I live fairly close and like to drop in there anyway, I fixed it in person.

Re the Maine Land Trust, I gave $200 at the end of '05 but my '06 donations went to other worthy causes.

Lone Wolf
02-12-2007, 20:51
I had a membership renewal problem when the ATC typed the wrong expiration date on my card. Since I live fairly close and like to drop in there anyway, I fixed it in person.

Re the Maine Land Trust, I gave $200 at the end of '05 but my '06 donations went to other worthy causes.

good job. maine is where it's at.

Skidsteer
02-12-2007, 21:06
On a separate but related note, I sent in ALDHA dues before the Gathering and still haven't received anything in the way of confirmation other than Starlyte sent me a CD of the festivities.:confused:

McPick
02-12-2007, 21:55
I joined the ATC at Harpers Ferry when I passed through last summer. I enjoyed visiting the office and everyone there was super nice, friendly and helpful.

Some days later I got to the ATC office in Boiling Springs, PA. I guess I was expecting a "Harpers Ferry atmosphere" in the office. I asked the person inside where the water faucet was, to fill my bottles… “Out back.” with a jerk of the head was the curt reply. Then I asked about motels in the Carlisle area…

“Everything’s posted on the bulletin board… OUTSIDE,” he stated.

Ok, I found it. But there were no phone numbers on the list… Just names of area motels.

Now to me, this was a little weird. I went back inside and asked for a phone book to look up the number of one of the motels. When I asked to borrow the guy’s phone book, you’d think I’d asked him for his wallet. (He sort of made that sound with his tongue and in his throat that sounded like when my daughter was 12 and getting ready to throw a hissy-fit.)
Ah oh…

Then I had the gall to ask if I could use an ATC phone to call the motel, all of 8 miles away.

“THE PAY PHONE IS OUTSIDE!” he kinda snarled.

“Yeah, well I don’t have change for the phone, and by the way, I’m a member of the ATC… Does that help at all?”

“NO IT DOESN’T HELP AT ALL!” he snapped irritably.

Phew… Suffice it to say I left that freakin’ place scratching my head…

EXCUUUUSSSE ME!

Jack Tarlin
02-13-2007, 15:24
You are not the first person who has experienced rudeness and incivility in the Boiling Springs regional office, and I doubt you'l be the last.

I hope someone in Harpers Ferry sees this.

Fannypack
02-13-2007, 15:37
You are not the first person who has experienced rudeness and incivility in the Boiling Springs regional office, and I doubt you'l be the last.

I hope someone in Harpers Ferry sees this.
I would sugggest we are only hearing one side of the story, i.e., I am sure there are many other hikers (not McPick) who enter the ATC regional office with a "give me" attitude. I am not sure that this office is setup to be info center for hikers. Feedback from anyone on the purpose of this office, please.

I would suggest someone forward their complaints to the HF ATC office.

generoll
02-13-2007, 15:50
"I am not sure that this office is setup to be info center for hikers. Feedback from anyone on the purpose of this office, please."

This reminds of a story which I read in Smithsonian magazine many years ago.

Supposedly in a rural English county, riders were complaining that the bus drivers weren't stopping to pick them up. In some cases the drivers were even waving and tooting their horns as they drove past. A complaint was made to the transporatation authority and after an investigation, the following explanation was made.

"Our drivers are on a schedule and they can't keep to their schedule if they are always having to stop and pick up passengers".


Why do we have an Appalachian Trail or an ATC, if it's not for hikers?

Jester2000
02-13-2007, 21:59
you gotta be dead to have a shelter named after you. i hate shelters.

So what we do is, after Lone Wolf dies, we name a shelter after him. Then we bury him next to the shelter, with a generator and wires attached to him, so that when he spins the shelter will have electricity.


"I am not sure that this office is setup to be info center for hikers. Feedback from anyone on the purpose of this office, please."

Why do we have an Appalachian Trail or an ATC, if it's not for hikers?

Just so everyone knows, there are non-ATC personnel that also use that building as office space, including Todd, the ranger for the area. And while an individual might not understand why THEY get bad vibes from someone when they ask to use the phone, they probably, unlike the person in the office, weren't around for the other 40 people who asked to use the phone that day. These aren't retail employees. They're not paid to be professionally nice to you.

Isn't it nice that there's a board with services listed? A pay phone to use? A can to drop your trash into? A register so you can check when your friends passed through? A place to sit in the shade?

No? Then get hiking. Duncannon's only 26 miles away.

The solar system hasn't stopped being heliocentric just 'cause you're on the trail.

Jack Tarlin
02-13-2007, 22:48
Geez, Fannypack, you really don't get it.

The Regional Offices of the ATC are ENTIRELY meant to be info centers for hikers; that is essentially their raison d'etre. If they don't want to be visited by hikers, or if they don't want to deal with hikers' questions or hikers with problems, well then maybe they shouldn't have put their office directly on the Appalachian Trail. Cuz if it remains there, it sort of invites visits and inquiries from hikers.

And as for hearing only one side of the story, well I've visited this office every year but one since 1995, and have personally witnessed brusque and flippant behavior by several staffers, and have heard from other hikers with similar stories.

Fannypack is quite correct that there are hikers who adopt a "gimme, gimme" attitude of entitlement, but that doesn't mean there haven't been some problems in Boiling Springs over the years, cause there have been.

dperry
02-14-2007, 11:20
These aren't retail employees. They're not paid to be professionally nice to you.

Isn't it nice that there's a board with services listed? A pay phone to use? A can to drop your trash into? A register so you can check when your friends passed through? A place to sit in the shade?

No? Then get hiking. Duncannon's only 26 miles away.

The solar system hasn't stopped being heliocentric just 'cause you're on the trail.

That's not an excuse for being rude to someone who a.) was polite to them and b.) had no way of knowing that they didn't want hikers coming into the office.

If they don't want to provide services to hikers, then there should be signs (polite ones) posted outside to that effect. Then they might not have forty people a day bothering them.

I also agree with Jack: if they don't want to provide services to hikers, why are they smack-dab on the Trail? The other regional offices aren't.

Lone Wolf
02-16-2007, 12:37
I just made a $50 donation to the Maine AT Land Trust. I challenge all on here to give something.

received a nice thank you note, personally signed by Carole Haas, admin director for Maine AT Land Trust, for my donation. they'll get more of my $$.

Sly
02-16-2007, 14:18
These aren't retail employees. They're not paid to be professionally nice to you

I got paid and it still sucked sometimes. A hiker without a phone card? Bad planning. A hiker without a guidebook with all the info they need? Worse planning.

Jester2000
02-16-2007, 19:55
On a separate but related note, I sent in ALDHA dues before the Gathering and still haven't received anything in the way of confirmation other than Starlyte sent me a CD of the festivities.:confused:

Hi Ho! Your resident ALDHA board member here. . .

First off, Welcome to ALDHA! ALDHA membership runs by calendar year, which is confusing to a lot of people who sign up in October. The fact that Marsha got that DVD to you probably means that you are on the rolls, but if you want to be sure, go to aldha.org and look up your name on the membership list. If it's not there, email Marsha at membership@aldha.org

The newsletters are quarterly, so one should be coming soon, but the directory typically doesn't come out 'til early spring.

Back to ATC stuff. . .

moxie
02-16-2007, 20:36
Jester is an ALDA director, next he hopes to use this as a stepping stone to becomong a director of Exxon or General Motors where the real money is. I hear he may even get his eyes fixed and try to be a director of Toyota.

Jack, right on with your comments on Boiling Spring. Except for trail angel "Mother Hen" I found it to be the most unfriendly trail town, The ATC office people were cold and uncaring and you know I am not a gimmie, gimmie type, The cops didn't know directions. The stores were polite but far from warm. When I tried to hitchhike a group of locals drove right at me on three occassions and made me jump over the dirch to avoid being hit. The police I reported it to just said, "They are just having fun with hikers". I was very happy to get to Duncannon and put all memories of Boiking Spring behind me. If a thred on Most Unfriendly Trail Town gets started I bet Boiling Springs wins in a sweep.:mad:

Jester2000
02-18-2007, 17:02
If a thred on Most Unfriendly Trail Town gets started I bet Boiling Springs wins in a sweep.:mad:

I'm sure that the town of Boiling Springs woudn't really care one way or the other. Oh, sure, they made it in the AT calendar this year, which makes absolutely no sense. But I have a feeling that Boiling Springs doesn't really define itself by the fact that the AT goes through it.

Do you think that the town is "unfriendly," or just "indifferent?"


I joined the ATC at Harpers Ferry when I passed through last summer. I enjoyed visiting the office and everyone there was super nice, friendly and helpful.

[FONT=Arial]Some days later I got to the ATC office in Boiling Springs, PA. I guess I was expecting . . .

Ahh, you were expecting something before you got there. This may be the root of the problem, a problem pointed out by reading Jack's post:


The Regional Offices of the ATC are ENTIRELY meant to be info centers for hikers; that is essentially their raison d'etre. If they don't want to be visited by hikers, or if they don't want to deal with hikers' questions or hikers with problems, well then maybe they shouldn't have put their office directly on the Appalachian Trail.

Now Jack, I don't think I've ever written this on whiteblaze before, as usually we have differences of OPINION, but you are 100% absolutely factually wrong.

Here's the discription of the raison d'etre for the Regional Offices:

"ATC's four regional offices focus on trail management at the local level -- working closely with Trail Clubs, federal, state and local agencies, and local communities."

Notice that nowhere in this quote, from the ATC's website, does it mention being an "info center for hikers." If that was their true purpose, it would be kind of silly to have located the other three offices (Lyme, Blacksburg, Asheville) kind of far from the trail. Although I suppose if you were thru hiking and you ended up in Asheville, you probably would need some serious info.

No, the regional office just HAPPENS to be in Boiling Springs, and happens to be near the trail. Unlike other office buildings I've passed by while hiking, THIS one, by virtue of its connection to the trail, does have a spigot hikers are welcome to use, a shady spot hikers are welcome to sit in, a bulletin board with some useful info, trash bins we're allowed to use, etc.

The EXPECTATION that this office is going to be like the headquarters is what drives most people's disappointment. And the reality that it is not designed or tasked to function like the headquarters is what leads the people who work there to be annoyed.

The work that the people in Boiling Springs do involves the sort of stuff that may not seem as immediately helpful to a thru as, say, letting him or her use the phone, but it should be kept in mind that without them, your hike would be either
a)not on the AT, 'cause it wouldn't exist or
b)not on an AT you'd want to hike particularly much (anyone remember that roadwalk through this area?!?)


So thank you, Boiling Springs staff, for what you do, even if few others express gratitude.

Skidsteer
02-18-2007, 17:24
Hi Ho! Your resident ALDHA board member here. . .

First off, Welcome to ALDHA! ALDHA membership runs by calendar year, which is confusing to a lot of people who sign up in October. The fact that Marsha got that DVD to you probably means that you are on the rolls, but if you want to be sure, go to aldha.org and look up your name on the membership list. If it's not there, email Marsha at membership@aldha.org

The newsletters are quarterly, so one should be coming soon, but the directory typically doesn't come out 'til early spring.

Back to ATC stuff. . .

I received a welcome to ALDHA letter in the mail a few days ago Jester. All is well and thanks for serving!

Jack Tarlin
02-18-2007, 17:29
That's all well and good, Jester, but quite a few hikers have indeed been treated brusquely, if not rudely there.

If the people that work there do not wish to interact with hikers or other members of the public, then they should have a sign on the door that says this.

But the fact remains that in their present location, they're going to be visited by hundreds and hundreds of hikers each year.

If they find this onerous or bothersome, then the simple remedy is for them to move the office off of the Trail.

Jester2000
02-18-2007, 18:02
That's all well and good, Jester, but quite a few hikers have indeed been treated brusquely, if not rudely there.
If the people that work there do not wish to interact with hikers or other members of the public, then they should have a sign on the door that says this.
But the fact remains that in their present location, they're going to be visited by hundreds and hundreds of hikers each year.
If they find this onerous or bothersome, then the simple remedy is for them to move the office off of the Trail.

I will take this post to mean "you are absolutely correct, and I continue to disagree with you," which is what I usually take from the phrase "that's all well and good."

I have had, and I know this is going to sound completely off the wall, GOOD experiences when I have stopped in at this office. Maybe they were slow work days, maybe I was the first person to bother them those days, maybe they were just in a good mood those days.

Regardless, they were not being paid, and they were not trained, to be nice to me. I have, at previous jobs I've held in my company, been so annoyed by customers that I've wanted to beat them to death with a Yale Complete Shakespeare. That they didn't notice my annoyance, and actually got excellent service, was due to the fact that I was being paid to help them, and I was trained to do so.

Of course, we both know that putting a sign up would not solve anything, as almost no one who wanted help would pay attention to it ("I just need a little help, I won't be a bother, I'll just stick my head in. . ."), and everyone would start complaining about how unfriendly the office was because they posted a sign.

So, moving the location? I think I'd prefer that my dues be spent on something at least slightly more useful to the trail. Assuaging the feelings of some long distance hikers whose feel hurt on one day of their 180 days hiking? To quote you, "Jeez. . ."

Jack Tarlin
02-18-2007, 18:14
Hey Jester, every single day of my life, I try to be nice to the people I encounter, and I do this regardless of whether or not I'm getting paid.

Being "trained" to be civil or polite isn't the issue, nor is whether or not one is being paid to treat people well.

It's simply common courtesy.

And of course, you're correct, and I agree with you that the ATC is not about to re-locate their office. But as long as it stays there, then they're going to get hikers knocking on their door, and this isn't going to stop.

And while they might not be trained and paid to be courteous to every hiker who knocks on their door, it'd be a nice thing to see.

And it's not that difficult, either.

Rutabaegah
02-18-2007, 18:24
How long does it take to receive orders placed through the AT Conserv? Have they been timely more or less?

Jester2000
02-18-2007, 18:24
And while they might not be trained and paid to be courteous to every hiker who knocks on their door, it'd be a nice thing to see.

And it's not that difficult, either.

It WOULD be nice to see. I absolutely agree. And it's NOT that difficult. The first 20 times that day. But I think that you would forgive yourself if, after the 20th hiker came into Stinson's asking where your spigot was so he could get some free water, you gave him just a wee bit of a stinkeye. You might even think to yourself, "this is not why I'm here, and it's not what this business is here for."

Now, you being you, you'd help that hiker out anyway. And you'd help the 30th person who came in that day. But if one of them came on whiteblaze and said, "I can't believe that this guy named Jack gave me some 'tude when all I wanted was some water," I think we both have a pretty good idea about how you'd respond. . .

Jack Tarlin
02-18-2007, 18:34
Ordinarily I'd agree with you, but we're talking about a regional office of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the organization that oversees and cares for the Trail.

I think it's perfectly natural that hikers would assume they'd be welcomed in these offices, especially the ones located directly on the Trail.

So I think it's also perfectly natural that we're gonna hear about this from hikers who did NOT feel welcomed when they visited here.

And on the days when the staff simply is too busy, or doesn't want to deal with hikers, then they should lock their door and put up a sign that says something like "Open By Appointment Only Today".

But nobody is well-served when people are mistreated, especially the ATC itself.

hopefulhiker
02-18-2007, 18:36
There was a good article about Hard Core Trail Maintenance and Bob Peoples in the last glossy... There is also a section about leaving something to the ATC in your will...

Jester2000
02-18-2007, 18:53
But nobody is well-served when people are mistreated, especially the ATC itself.

I agree with you 100%.

I know that there are never only two options, and in a perfect world that office would be staffed by friendly, welcoming souls who are also excellent at their actual jobs.

But if the choice came down to having incredibly friendly people at this office who were bad at their jobs (and as a result we all felt good about our visit to the regional office while we were hiking through an entire mid-atlantic region that looked like Lehigh Gap), or having competent people who made the rest of the trail excellent while creating a small oasis of surliness, I know which I'd choose.

I guess I just feel that if the expectations we have of that office were managed differently, this wouldn't really be an issue.

By the way, I really like the phrase "oasis of surliness."

dperry
02-18-2007, 19:01
It WOULD be nice to see. I absolutely agree. And it's NOT that difficult. The first 20 times that day. But I think that you would forgive yourself if, after the 20th hiker came into Stinson's asking where your spigot was so he could get some free water, you gave him just a wee bit of a stinkeye. You might even think to yourself, "this is not why I'm here, and it's not what this business is here for."


I've worked at jobs where I've dealt with more customers in a day than these guys probably deal with all week, and who were considerably more aggressive in their attitudes than the average hiker probably is. I rarely had problems maintaining my temper and manners--and I don't consider myself a very calm or socially graceful person.

Now, yes, I was being paid to do that. By the same token, most of the people in the Harpers Ferry office are not paid, if I'm not mistaken. They don't seem to have problems being polite to people.

Furthermore, even if the Boiling Springs people aren't paid to help hikers, they are paid to serve the ATC to the best of their abilities. Alienating people who are members or potential members does not seem to me to be serving the ATC in a productive manner. It is particularly distressing when such conduct is unprovoked by the specific hiker in question. McPeak didn't barge into the office and start loudly demanding info. He simply asked where the water tap was. Given that the office is advertised in the companion as having a water tap, this hardly seems like an unreasonable thing to do.

No one is suggesting that the work performed at Boiling Springs is not valuable, or that the workers there shouldn't be allowed to get on with it in peace. However, there has to be a win-win, or at least win-less loss, scenario to solve this problem. I also think you underestimate the power of signs to deter people. Finally, while relocating an office may be expensive, losing membership fees and donations from pissed-off hikers get expensive after a while, too.

dperry
02-18-2007, 19:08
I actually look up the entry for Boiling Springs in the Companion and what do I find?


Home to ATC's mid-Atlantic regional office, (717) 258-5771. Open weekdays 9-5. Staff members and volunteers can provide information on Trail conditions, weather forecasts, and water availability. COLEMAN FUEL AND DENATURED ALCOHOL ARE AVAILABLE FOR A DONATION. . .Limited parking available at opposite end of lake in township parking lot; obtain permit from ATC office. . .(all emphasis mine.)Hmmmm, sounds like they provide hiker services to me!

Contrary to my previous opinion, the Blacksburg and Lyme offices are also mentioned in the Companion, with phone numbers and directions. Again, strange behavior from people who don't want to be bothered. . .:-?

Skidsteer
02-18-2007, 19:09
I actually look up the entry for Boiling Springs in the Companion and what do I find?

Hmmmm, sounds like they provide hiker services to me!

Contrary to my previous opinion, the Blacksburg and Lyme offices are also mentioned in the Companion, with phone numbers and directions. Again, strange behavior from people who don't want to be bothered. . .:-?

If it's in the Companion, it must be true.

dperry
02-18-2007, 19:14
If it's in the Companion, it must be true.

Well, since it's been in the Companion since at least 2003 (earliest copy on my hard drive), I would hope that if it wasn't true, someone in Boiling Springs would have set the ALDHA straight by now.

Jack Tarlin
02-18-2007, 19:17
No Skidster, there are certainly things in the Companion that might not be 100% correct.

But that annual volume is, in fact, published by the ATC.

If it says in the Companion that this particular office offers various services to hikers, then hikers are going to assume that this is so.

If this is, in fact, NOT the case, then the ATC can re-write this comment next year.

But til that happens, or til the office is moved, they're gonna get lots of hikers dropping in.

People in the office that have a real problem with this simple truth might want to think about finding a more suitable job.

hopefulhiker
02-19-2007, 10:14
I stopped by that office in 05.. I thought that being on the trail they might have something to offer hikers.. They did offer me a current list of the status of water supplies up the trail.. I thought the guy in there was polite and helpful...

Having an office like that on the trail could be a real opportunity to act as a organization point for other hiker related activities like volunteer trail maintenance or something.....

fonsie
02-19-2007, 11:07
there Volunters, they took a wile for mine. Im going on my second year, just give them a call.

weary
02-19-2007, 11:36
....every single day of my life, I try to be nice to the people I encounter, .....
Jack. Many thanks for injecting a bit of humor into the thread.

Jim Adams
02-19-2007, 12:10
One thing that I've always wondered. Why are these offices located in towns with very little services for hikers when they are a hiking trail office?

I didn't stay in Harpers Ferry in 1990 because there was just 1 motel and the food store was at the other end of town.

In 2002 I stayed on beautiful tenting areas in a back yard in Harpers Ferry and given very nice treatment and help from the house owners. The town residents had the place shut down because camping isn't allowed in town.

I was at the Boiling Springs office both years and although I wasn't treated badly, the staff that I talked to acted as though we, as thru hikers should already know the answers.

I realize that it is not cost effective to move an office but why aren't they in more hiker friendly environments? Hot Springs, Damascus, and Monson put these two towns to shame as far as friendliness to hikers goes.

Maybe the next office can be built in Kent!

geek

Jack Tarlin
02-19-2007, 15:27
And a thread on civility and kindness just wouldn't be the same without something snide tossed in by Weary!

Thanx, guy, if nothing else, you're always dependable! :D

Jester2000
02-19-2007, 18:22
By the same token, most of the people in the Harpers Ferry office are not paid, if I'm not mistaken. They don't seem to have problems being polite to people.


That's kind of my point, though. The people who work at the desk at Harper's Ferry are hired (or whatever you want to call it) in large part based on their ability to be friendly and welcoming. The people at Boiling Springs are not.

As for the Companion, it is published by ATC, but it is put together by ALDHA. Any complaints regarding the accuracy of info regarding Boiling Springs will not get anywhere, I would imagine, if it is directed at ATC, but might lead to a change in the description if directed to the field editor for that section. I'll look into this and get back to everyone.

eventidecu
02-19-2007, 18:58
Jesters post 59 quotes the ATC, "working closely with" "local communities". Does that mean the local non hiking Joe can walk in there and get info and be treated politely with respect but an AT hiker is excluded from being worked "closely with"?
Like it or not the ATC "is" a business and some of those "higher ups" I'm sure are making a comfortable living off the AT "Community" and would not appreciate this conduct from anyone in "their business" treating the "paying customers" with disrespect. I'd bet a letter or letters from everyone with issues to whomever the head honcho is would get some attention. At least a memo to the "local" ATC office manager wondering what the heck is going on. The time to complain would be now to maybe help the 2007's from having issues with that staff. Just my opinion.

Jester2000
02-19-2007, 21:09
Jesters post 59 quotes the ATC, "working closely with" "local communities". Does that mean the local non hiking Joe can walk in there and get info and be treated politely with respect but an AT hiker is excluded from being worked "closely with"?
Like it or not the ATC "is" a business and some of those "higher ups" I'm sure are making a comfortable living off the AT "Community" and would not appreciate this conduct from anyone in "their business" treating the "paying customers" with disrespect. I'd bet a letter or letters from everyone with issues to whomever the head honcho is would get some attention. At least a memo to the "local" ATC office manager wondering what the heck is going on. The time to complain would be now to maybe help the 2007's from having issues with that staff. Just my opinion.

Um, I believe "working closely with local communities" means just that. That particular area of the trail has had a lot of local issues to deal with, including, but not limited to, getting easements and rights of way from local landowners so that we don't have to do the grueling roadwalk that used to be a lowlight of the trail. See, that's what they do at this office. That's their job.

And by the way, whether I like it or not, the ATC is NOT a business, regardless of whether we put quotes around "is" or not. It's a 501(c)(3) organization with an executive director who has a five figure salary, which is, admittedly, probably more comfortable than not having a salary at all, but not exactly living high on the hog. And as to "living off the AT 'community,'" they're not exactly carpetbaggers. They're part of the "community."

But I would agree with eventidecu that if you really felt put out, if you really had a major problem, writing a letter to the ATC would be a good idea. But write a letter. Don't send an email, and don't just rant on whiteblaze. I'd be willing to bet that the number of people who have been affected badly enough during a couple of minutes on one day that they would sit down and write a letter and then go to the post office to mail it would be tiny.

But if you're interested, the "head honcho" is David Startzell, if anyone needs the name.

Lone Wolf
02-19-2007, 21:13
so that we don't have to do the grueling roadwalk that used to be a lowlight of the trail.

some of us really enjoyed that road walk and didn't find it grueling or a lowlight at all.

Jester2000
02-19-2007, 21:16
some of us really enjoyed that road walk and didn't find it grueling or a lowlight at all.

OK, then, I will refer to it as a "Yeungling roadwalk" instead of a "Grueling roadwalk."

And yer a blueblazer. You can still take the road.

weary
02-19-2007, 23:30
And a thread on civility and kindness just wouldn't be the same without something snide tossed in by Weary!
Thanx, guy, if nothing else, you're always dependable! :D
Jack. Just blame my uncontrolable sense of humor. When I read your previous comment I, for some reason, burst out laughing. Sorry about that.

max patch
02-20-2007, 00:11
That particular area of the trail has had a lot of local issues to deal with, including, but not limited to, getting easements and rights of way from local landowners so that we don't have to do the grueling roadwalk that used to be a lowlight of the trail.

18 years after the fact, that roadwalk is still one of the most memorable parts of my hike.

Jim Adams
02-20-2007, 01:13
used to get ice cream on the road walk!
geek

Lone Wolf
02-20-2007, 04:57
used to get ice cream on the road walk...


... and strawberries at the pick-your-own farm. subs at Gina's. good food at the truck stop. great salad bar

rickb
02-20-2007, 07:41
Jester, I think the ED at the ATC got a $25K+ raise about the time of they changed the organization's name a few years back. So he is up into the low 6 figures now.

Not a bad thing, if that is what was needed took to keep him around and motivated.

rickb
02-20-2007, 07:49
18 years after the fact, that roadwalk is still one of the most memorable parts of my hike.

Yup. My memories include an AYCE dinner at the Pondarosa with the Shipes, and a spot on the floor in front of their wood stove.

I wasn't going to stop given the hour I was passing by (dinner time), but Steve caught up with me in his car.

I am glad he did. :sun

weary
02-20-2007, 15:26
The road is still there. Walk it if you want. There's nothing sacred about those white blazes. All they get you is a six word notice in the ATC magazine and a piece of paper for your wall. You can design a prettier, more impressive, and more appropriate bit of paper on your computer.

Weary

Footslogger
02-20-2007, 15:29
[quote=Jester2000;325158]OK, then, I will refer to it as a "Yeungling roadwalk" instead of a "Grueling roadwalk."

===============================

Is "Grueling" a kind of beer ??

'Slogger

Rutabaegah
02-21-2007, 18:31
For those of you who have ordered through the AT Conservancy did it take a long time to receive the merchandise? I ordered just a few stickers and its been well over two weeks

Footslogger
02-21-2007, 18:34
My experience is about 2 - 3 weeks delivery from ATC.

'Slogger

QHShowoman
02-23-2007, 21:48
Non-profit organizations are required by law to make their 990 forms available to anyone who requests them. According to the ATC's 2005 990 (remember, the 2006 is just being filed now), the executive director made $104K. Not a whole heck of a lot ... the next highest paid employee made $90K (membership director), and the CFO and Conservation Director each made $80K. This information is available for free on Guidestar.org

Lone Wolf
02-24-2007, 08:57
Non-profit organizations are required by law to make their 990 forms available to anyone who requests them. According to the ATC's 2005 990 (remember, the 2006 is just being filed now), the executive director made $104K. Not a whole heck of a lot ... the next highest paid employee made $90K (membership director), and the CFO and Conservation Director each made $80K. This information is available for free on Guidestar.org

so if you join the ATC how much of your $30 goes to the protection of the trail?

weary
02-24-2007, 10:27
so if you join the ATC how much of your $30 goes to the protection of the trail?
All of it. That's what the employees do: protect the trail. Volunteers do the basic on the ground work. But major projects like hardening the trail to reduce erosion of the treadway are funded in part by the National Park SErvice. Budget rules require clubs to have six year work plans for such work. Maine hires several six member crews to work between April and November on such projects. Other maintaining clubs, I suspect have similar programs.

The New England director works with MATC and other clubs to develop these six=year work plans, spends many days on fighting intrusions onto the trail such as the Redington/Black Nubble industrial development, and generally ensures that the trail in Maine and elsewhere in New England meets national standards and federal requirements.

I don't pretend to be an expert on these matters. I work around the edges of the AT effort. I edit the MATC newsletter, work on the MAT land trust, and generally try to be useful. However, in my observation no one on the ATC is slacking off. They all strike me as interested, dedicated and hard working.

Weary

Jester2000
02-26-2007, 21:30
Jester, I think the ED at the ATC got a $25K+ raise about the time of they changed the organization's name a few years back. So he is up into the low 6 figures now.


Yep. Sorry about that. I was quoting the 2004 numbers, not realizing he'd gotten a raise.

QHShowoman
02-26-2007, 22:38
so if you join the ATC how much of your $30 goes to the protection of the trail?


In the non-profit world, there are certain standards and regulations non-profits must abide by, such as that no more than approximately 15% of a non-profit's income can go towards purely "administrative" expenses (the percentage will sometimes vary depending on the size and scope of the organization). So, of the $30 membership fee, approximately $25.50 of your membership is going into activities and programs that directly support protection of the trail.

I work with some of the top non-profit organizations in the nation (ACLU, ASPCA, Amnesty International, to name some of them), as well as some fairly small organizations, like the ATC, and I have to say, comparitively, the ATC is pretty frugal in terms of what I've seen of their office space and resources. Their salaries are also considerably lower compared to other organizations of their size and scope (I suspect part of the reason for this is that their geographical location allows them to escape the salary demands of more expensive markets).There is no question in my mind that my $30 is well-spent.

It boggles my mind that there is such a disconnect between so many individuals that use the trail and those that make it possible for there to be a trail for us to use.

Stonewall
02-26-2007, 22:44
BTW back to my original question real quick I did get a phone call from then and the will honor my discount for the guide book special