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News : Entertainment Oct 16, 2012 - 12:25:31 AM

The Appalachian Trail is coming to theaters

By Appalachian Trail Conservancy

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The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will be showing the National Geographic film America’s Wild Spaces: The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) at the Palace 17 & Odyssey Theater, located at 330 New Park Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 7:00p.m. as part of their 2012 membership drive. All proceeds will go towards the protection and management of the Trail. This limited engagement is in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the completion of the A.T.

Stretching from Maine to Georgia, the A.T. is approximately 2,180 miles in length, making it one of the longest, continuously marked footpaths in the world. The film explores the natural beauty and splendor of the Trail and provides viewers the opportunity to discover the remote, and often unknown, corners of this 5-million-step journey.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear real-life stories from the people who have hiked the Trail as well as those who volunteer to protect and maintain it.

Guest speakers include Bill O’Brien, 2,000-miler, former ATC board member and longtime Appalachian Long Distance Hiker’s Association (ALDHA) member. O’Brien has hiked the A.T. twice, headed ALDHA for two years, organized the group's annual conference known as The Gathering six times and served for several years as editor of The A.T. Thru-Hiker’s Companion. He is currently the editor of The Long Distance Hiker. O’Brien also serves as the secretary of the Appalachian Trail Museum Board of Directors and is a member of the board of the A.T. Hall of Fame. An avid backpacker, he has also hiked the John Muir Trail in California.

Dave Boone, trails committee chairman for the Connecticut Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club, will also speak. Boone has been the chairman since 2003 and has also served as a weekend ridge-runner and volunteer coordinator for the committee. Boone is also a section maintainer on the Undermountain Trail near Bear Mountain.

Johan “Sailboat” van Niekerk, section hiker and motivational speaker is also scheduled to present. In 2012, Van Niekerk spent 70 days trekking 1,020 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Harpers Ferry, WV. Prior to his hike, Van Niekerk sailed around three-quarters of the world with his family. In 2013, Van Niekerk plans to hike the second portion of the A.T. with his father and 12-year-old brother.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to present this film on the big screen,” stated Mark Wenger, executive director/CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “This event provides the public with an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Appalachian Trail and how to get involved with the Conservancy through our membership and volunteer programs.”

Raffles and prizes will be awarded throughout the event. In addition, the winning submission from the ATC’s “Why Do You Love the Appalachian Trail?” summer video contest will be revealed.

With a suggested donation of $30.00, attendees can reserve their seats by visiting Each ticket includes a new membership or gift membership to the ATC. Children 12 and under will receive free admission.
The organization hopes to gain 750 new members in honor of 75 years of the Trail’s completion. The ATC will be visiting a total of 10 theaters across the country to raise awareness and garner support for the Trail. Every dollar raised will help the ATC’s efforts to preserve and manage the A.T., ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow and for centuries to come.


Discover the Appalachian Trail 2012 Membership Drive
Date: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time: 7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.

Venue: Palace 17 & Odyssey Theater

Location: 330 New Park Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
– $30 suggested donation per ticket
– Free admission for children 12 and under

Featured Film: National Geographic’s America’s Wild Spaces: The Appalachian Trail

– Admission to view the National Geographic film America’s Wild Spaces: The Appalachian Trail
– Hear stories from the men and women who hike and volunteer on the Trail including special guest speakers Bill O’Brien, Dave Boone and Johan van Niekerk
– View the winning submission from the ATC’s “Why Do You Love the Appalachian Trail?” video contest
– Free membership or gift membership to the ATC
– Win great prizes

This event is sponsored by the Walkabout Outfitter and Salazon Chocolate Co.

For more information about the ATC’s 2012 membership drive or to reserve your seat, visit: Enter PROMO CODE: PRATC12 to receive $5 off your reservation.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow and for centuries to come. For more information, visit

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