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Thread: Amc

  1. #1

    Default Amc

    I just got a membership application to join this club and I was wondering what others think about this club. Pro or Con. I've always heard bad things about them on the trail for the past several years so I thought maybe I could get some good thoughts about them. Whoops, I didn't know that there was an older thread about this, sorry.

  2. #2
    Registered User snowshoe's Avatar
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    I was a member for a few years and hated the club. I felt all they really focused on was the Whites. I really disliked them when I tried to get AMC maintainers to mainain trails and later found out that they dont maintain mltiuse trails. I found that very strange since their chapters lead mt bike trips but against maintaining multi use trails. Tha makes no sence
    I also think they are over priced as the saying goes the Appalachain money club. I would rather use the money for my local hiking clubs like the NY-NJ trail conference, Catskill 3500 club or the ATC. This s just my view on the AMC. They do good things but then yet the do bad as well. You ever go on lead hike. There are areas that get 20 or people for a day hike. Use your money for a local hiking club

  3. #3

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    I agree with snowshoe, join a local club or the ATC. The AMC is a mindless money machine.

  4. #4
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default Give Back

    I'd recommend that everyone who enjoys the out of doors to support the organizations that help make this possible.

    I think that if you frequent areas maintained by the AMC, then give them some financial support and hopefully some labor. However, if you live elsewhere and don't frequent AMC country, then support the local orgainizations in your area.

    Don't just be a user. We all have benefitted from the generousity of others.

  5. #5
    Just Passin' Thru.... Kozmic Zian's Avatar
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    Yea.....AMC. When you hike thru the Section of AT the AMC is responible for(NH_ME) you can see that they have a beautiful section of the Eastern Mts. It's hard not to want to support that effort. I say, if you love the Whites and Mt. Washington (I do) and you're of a mind to give some monetary support,Go for it. They have the most beautiful facilities on the Trail. Dosen't mean its my particular style, but still what they do is well [email protected]
    Kozmic [email protected] :cool: ' My father considered a walk in the woods as equivalent to churchgoing'. ALDOUS HUXLEY

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    Long Distance Hiker Chef2000's Avatar
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    Default Amc

    I do not belong to the AMC. However I am a recent volunteer of there trail maintainer program in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I also have done volunteer work with there Boston Chapter in a local ,Multi use, State Reservation. As well as out on The Boston Harbor Islands National Park.

    Last Year ,On the 90 miles of AT that pass thru Massachusetts, The AMC Volunteered over 2000 hrs of labor and travel time. This is all free labor from people who love the outdoors. The worked done included ; digging many new privy pits at shelter locations;constant removal of blowdowns; drainage work; rock work and much more. All of this is done to make the AT a better experience for everyone.

    I dont use the huts, except to take a break. Thats not the way I enjoy the outdoors. When looking at the Hut system and where it is. Mostly a very precious alpine enviroment, that is not normally seen in New England. You have to go much farther north to experience this climatic zone. I believe the huts help to preserve the zone by offering a place where 50 people can spend the night at the top of the mountain. What would above treeline look like without the huts? Have you ever seen The GA section of the AT. Fire rings everywhere.

  7. #7
    Just Passin' Thru.... Kozmic Zian's Avatar
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    I agree with this poster. You have to walk a mile in my shoes......He knows about the AMC. All AT clubs deserve support.
    Kozmic [email protected] :cool: ' My father considered a walk in the woods as equivalent to churchgoing'. ALDOUS HUXLEY

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    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    I have heard many good and bad things about the AMC. My biggest "concern" is that the president of this "Club" has a "6 figure income" from the club. Whatsupwiththat? That is at least 3 times what the average working stiff makes AND many of the workers (the AMC volunteers) work for free after paying for club membership. Thanks to the workers!!! Loose the president?
    As I havn't delt with that section yet, so have only heard stories & stuff, most of what I hear is "Appalachian money club" seems to fit, at least enough to make you wonder.

    My $0.02


    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  9. #9
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jay
    The AMC is a mindless money machine.
    AMC can be irritating at times. But it is not a mindless money machine. I've been a member since around 1970. I joined after I had written a few stories for a newspaper about hiking Maine mountains. A member of the Maine Chapter had stopped by one day and argued that if I was going to write about Maine mountains I ought to know the people who maintain them. I couldn't think of a quick excuse, so I joined.

    After the AMC purchase of the 37,000 acres in Maine, I invited myself to the meetings of the committee that was planning on what to do with the land that the club had bought. I had maintained Whitecap Mountain for 15 or 20 years and had been overseer of the AT through the land they purchased. I figured they should hear from someone who is familiar with the area.

    It's been a fascinating experience: to discover how little actual planning had been done before the purchase; how they have welcomed participation from the Maine Chapter (including the woman who wrote a blistering criticism in the chapter newsletter), and to see the dedication and concern for protection of the wilderness values of the land.

    These are not always the wisest people I've worked with, but they are certainly the most dedicated to the protection of the woods and mountains, and to providing opportunities for people to enjoy the woods and mountains.

    Nor are they armchair planners. These are folks who have experienced the outdoors, people who have experienced the trails in winter, and who can argue convincingly, for instance, for the importance of keeping some ski trails ungroomed, and all trails ungroomed in the 10,000 acres being proposed to be set aside as wilderness.

    The guy who manages the AMC campsites in the White Mountains was at the meeting yesterday. You know the campsites -- the ones that every thru hiker complains bitterly about having to pay to stay at. Well the manager hiked the trail in 1993, the same year I wandered from Georgia to Maine. Later we chatted frequently during my annual January forays to the Carter Notch Hut, where he worked as caretaker. Hawk knows the trail, loves the outdoors and works to keep it protected. He is not part of a "mindless money machine."

    No. I suspect I won't be totally happy with the final plan for the 37,000 acres. But I am happy that those plans are being developed by people who know the outdoors and who are concerned with more than generating income.

    I suppose that in the interests of full disclosure I should tell you that AMC gave me a "distinguished service award" at it's annual meeting last month. I like to think that in fact I have done useful things for the mountains of Maine over the years. But AMC, being AMC, didn't cite any of these things in its presentation. I thought the club had probably done the right thing for wrong reasons.

    These days, every few weeks I drive five hours and sit through hours of discussion in hopes of convincing AMC to do the right thing, for the right reasons, in the 37,000 acres that they suddenly own in Maine.

    Weary

  10. #10

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    Weary, I do appreciate your 33 year effort to reform the AMC. I truly hope you are successful.

  11. #11

    Question Fence sitting about the AMC....

    I was a member for many years but didn't renew the last few years as the AMC has become way too commercial for my tastes. About a year ago I wrote a lot of posts highly critical of them on VFTT and the AMC boards because of the Highland Center and their commercialization of the White Mountains.

    Since then my stance on the AMC has mellowed and I often think about rejoining....... why you might ask? Well, on the whole they do a lot of good things and as an organization they are multifaceted. I certainly like the membership which contains a lot of good, concerned, dedicated and knowledgeable people. I also like their books and maps. Not a big fan of the huts but did like staying at Pinkham Notch. At this point my feelings about the AMC are very complex to say the least....... Any caveats I have about the AMC was always with the leadership, however, not the membership.

    One thing I don't want to see is the large development and commercialization of the White mountain hut system occur along the trail in Maine. The AMC can be a good steward but needs to keep its greed factor in check. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" and I think we'll all have to be vigilant as to what kind of development and commercial activity should be allowed to occur along the AT in Maine.

    I agree with snowshoe that one should support one's local clubs. I’m a member of the NYNJ TC, the ATC, and thinking about joining the ADK and the Catskill 3500. If the AMC became more democratic and allowed it’s members to vote on its policies I would rejoin w/o hesitation.

  12. #12
    Registered User snowshoe's Avatar
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    I agree they have done good, but when you look at the size of the club and the area it covers of course they will have the most hours logged on trail work. I dont like the idea of how much they charge for workshops. Yes the money goes to land and things but lets face it I can not afford any of those workshops or even the membership. Most of the individuals who teach the courses are volunteers. Then you have the NYNJ trail conference and the ATC who put on those same workshops for free. I think you get more one on one relationship with local clubs as well.

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    Default AMC and money

    When you say “AMC” one of the next word mentioned is money. What is hard to understand is that there are really two parts of the AMC, the parent AMC and the individual chapters. As a volunteer trip leader and instructor in the New Hampshire Chapter for over 20 years I can tell you that the chapters have as much, or more, trouble with the parent AMC as any one else does.

    Snowshoe, in a previous post, talks about the high cost to attend the AMC workshops and I assume he is talking about the ones that are held at Pinkham Notch, for example. Those 2.5 day workshops are around $300 which includes room and meals. However the NHAMC is having a mountain safety workshop this weekend, Feb. 20-22, with room and meals, at Cardigan Lodge with small individual groups and some of the most knowledgeable hiking instructors you can find anywhere and the total cost is one-third of the Pinkham workshops.

    The NH chapter leader’s peer practices have served as a model for other chapter’s excursions committees as well. Three of the NHAMC leaders traveled to give a workshop to the NY-NJ chapter at no cost. Many of the individual chapters provide excellent workshops and functions at cost or free. Sometimes it is hard to separate the two halves of the AMC but with over 90,000 members the AMC is not one cohesive unit. It includes many profit and non-profit functions.

    I hate getting my membership renewal for $40 each year but I have to keep my membership if I want to volunteer my time as a trip leader and instructor. They have talked about doubling our pay for the great job we do but twice nothing is still zero. We do it because it is a way of giving back, not for the 6-figure salary the president of the club gets. And while many complain about his salary it probably isn’t that unusual for someone handling a multimillion dollar business, non-profit or not. Would I prefer to see some of his salary go directly to the trail? Absolutely, but there are other issues I’d rather be concerned about.

  14. #14
    A-Town azchipka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Fhart
    I hate getting my membership renewal for $40 each year but I have to keep my membership if I want to volunteer my time as a trip leader and instructor. .
    This part of things tells me more then enough about the AMC. You must pay $40 to volunteer your time. LOL oh thats funny. Hmmmm I think i'll pass and work with the ATC instead who is willing to let me Volunteer my time with out forcing me to pay them.
    A-Town

    "All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost. "
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  15. #15
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    Default Pro and Con

    There is no question that the AMC does a great deal of good: Some of its facilities, such as the Mohican Center in New Jersey are wonderful; it also does a terrific job maintaining backcountry tentsites in the Whites and parts of Maine. They do a great deal of trail work as well, and also have some excellent programs that help introduce a lot of folks to outdoor recreation activities; this includes some great programs for inner-city kids.

    That being said and acknowledged, they also do a lot of lousy things, and have insisted on doing so for a very long time: There is no question that they spend a dis-proportionate ammount of their time and energy in the White Mountains taking care of a very small fraction of people, that being their well-to-do members and guests who can afford to pay for their over-priced, elitist, and exclusionary lodging options. Their continued backing and construction of these tony accomodations is ABSOLUTELY done at the expense of creating more backcountry shelters, tentsites, hostels, and other options for folks of more limited means. (Perfect example would be their destruction of the Crawford Notch hostel and the extraordinary decision to spend millions of dollars replacing it with what ammounts to a luxury hotel, the Crawford Center, known to some of us as the "Ritz Crawford"). They also spend a great deal of time arguing about their wise stewardship of these endangered areas, yet they spend untold thousands of dollars each year printing glossy ads and brochures whose sole purpose is to entice yet MORE people to visit these fragile, over-used areas, and by offering cushy lodgung options, the AMC ensures that a great many folks who are thus enticed to enter these areas are woefully ignorant of sensible habits and practices in the backcountry, Leave-No-Trace ethics, etc. This is my opinion is bad policy. Lastly, they operate out of a century old townhouse on Boston's Beacon Hill; this facility is worth millions of dollars and costs a great deal to maintain each year; they could save a great deal of money and expenses by moving to more modest headquarters, by providing fewer purely social activities for their Boston-area members, and by paying their executive officers a lot less money.

    I am no longer an AMC member and can no longer in conscience give them any more money, either thru membership fees, additional contributions, etc. If I were to do anything to help the Club, I'd work with a local chapter or maybe due some volunteer trail work; at least I'd know where my time, labor, energy, and money was going. But I'm not about to simply cut them a check each year. I'm NOT about to give them $40 annually so they can build more hotels in the Whites for the wealthy, or so they can offer nine more herbal teas to their pampered lodge guests, or to help pay their chief executive almost as much as the President of the United States, which they now do.

    Frankly, instead of joining the AMC, I think you'd be better off joining or contributing to the Appalachian Trail Conference, or to one of the smaller clubs that help maintain and protect the Trail. At least this way, you'd have a very good idea of where your money was going, and you could be sure that your contribution was being used wisely.

  16. #16
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    A couple of clarifications.

    First, the president of AMC does not get the huge salary. If anyone does, it's the Executive Director. Now, I sincerely hope that the salary is commenserate with the responsibilities of running a large and diversified organization. Maybe some old timers can elaborate, but prior to Andy Falendar coming on board, I believe that the AMC was in financial trouble. He turned things around. You don't want a 75,000 member organization run by amatures.

    Someone mentioned Hawk. Not only is he in charge of tent sites in the White Mountains, he is also on the Board of Directors for ATC. He has thru-hiked both the AT and PCT.

    Weary, please keep up posted about Maine. Thank you for your postings.

    Another point for people to consider. We hear plenty of comments about their operation in the White Mountains. We don't hear comments on the Mohegan Center, or places like Upper Goose Pond.

  17. #17

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    Running an effective non-profit organization, especially one that frequently meddles in legislative and political arenas, requires every single one of the skills needed to run a for profit corporation, plus some others. People of that caliber do not grow on trees, nor do they work for free. If you want to attract the highest caliber people to a difficult and often contentious job, you've got to pay them well enough to make it worth their while.

    Thus the presidents of most large non-profits are compensated at similar levels as would be the presidents and CEO's of similarly sized for-profit corporations.

    None of this is saying anything about how good the current president of the AMC is at his (or her) job. It is just a statement of fact if you want skilled leadership you have to pay for it. The sort of person you could hire for 50k a year is probably not going to have the skills and the connections needed to get the job done. Passion will only get you so far, then, more often than not, it'll defeat you. There are a lot of 6 figure salaries and even seven figure salaries to be found in the non-profit world.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks
    A couple of clarifications.

    You don't want a 75,000 member organization run by amatures.
    I believe their membership numbers are closer to 93,000, but I could be wrong.

  19. #19
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    Azchipka wrote: ‘Hmmmm I think i'll pass and work with the ATC instead who is willing to let me Volunteer my time with out forcing me to pay them.”

    Azchipka, please don't think that every one has to pay to volunteer. I pay $40 each year to the parent AMC to keep my membership if I want to volunteer my time as a trip leader and instructor in the NHAMC. As a trip leader and instructor I do get benefits other than just trip leaders insurance. The chapter pays for my wilderness first aid courses ($140) and other benefits that far outweigh the $40 I paid in membership. I try not to let my dislike of paying the membership fee make me lose sight of the point of my volunteering is to help individual hikers better understand and enjoy the outdoors in New Hampshire. To not stay a member wouldn’t help me.

    I don’t want this to be a discussion of one group being better than the other but rather to answer the initial question asked by Screwysquirrel which was: “I just got a membership application to join this club and I was wondering what others think about this club. Pro or Con.” Many of us have views on other outdoors groups but that wasn’t the question. I am a long time member of the ATC as well and consider that money well spent as well.

  20. #20

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    I like the AMC because it has the institutional humility to realize it doesn't have the moral authority to regulate the long distance hiking experience, unlike the NPS and USFS. The AMC seems to have always favored education of backcountry users rather than regulation. However, even though I don't like it enough to join it, I'm glad it exists.
    Warren Doyle PhD
    34,000-miler (and counting)
    [email protected]
    www.warrendoyle.com

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