[the galvanizer] Jim Kern
The Florida Trail (1,400 miles). The American Hiking Society (nearly 2,000 National Trails Day events). Big City Mountaineers (more than 600 youth introduced to the wilderness annually). You’d be rightfully proud to have started any of these, but Kern founded all three. This longtime friend of the magazine (BACKPACKER’s founding editor, William Kemsley, Jr., collaborated with Kern to get the AHS off the ground) has done more to help the hiking world than most of us could do in 10 lifetimes. And of course he’s not done. Kern, 76, is currently at work on Trail Reflections, a coffee-table book about his 50 years of hiking and the organizations he established along the way.