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Appalachian Trail (AT) advocate Edward Garvey, 84, recently died of congestive heart failure at Arlington Hospital in Virginia.
Throughout his life, Garvey lobbied for long-trail legislation and inspired hundreds to hike the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. His book, Appalachian Hiker: Adventure of a Lifetime, was one of the first comprehensive AT guides that encouraged people-young to old-to hit the trail. Appalacian Hiker, published in 1971, laid a groundwork for future AT guide books, featuring gear lists, trail etiquette, mileage reports, and food tips.
“Ed basically is the father of AT thru-hiking, even though Earl (Shaffer) showed it could be done, Ed showed that everybody could do it,” said Dan Wingfoot, founder of the Center for Appalachian Trail Studies.
As of 1970, Garvey was one of only 57 hikers reported to complete the AT.
Garvey’s leadership helped bridge the gap between hikers and trail organizations. He served as president of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, a member of the Appalachian Trail Conference board of managers, and a member of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association.
Noting the importance of national trail recognition, Garvey helped pioneer the National Trail System Act of 1969, amendments to the act in 1978, and other state and federal trail legislation.
Many have called Garvey an instrumental leader in the AT’s preservation. In 1996, he received the American Land Hero Award from the Wilderness Society and the Izaak Walton League for his efforts to protect the AT.