Kephart Among 2016 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Inductees

The sixth class of Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame honorees will be inducted on Friday, June 3, 2016, at the annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.

The 2016 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame class honorees are Maurice J. Forrester, Jr. of Williamsport, PA; Horace Kephart of Bryson City, NC; Larry Luxenberg, of New City, NY; and Henry Arch Nichols, of Asheville, NC.

Horace Kephart, a writer and outdoors advocate, was born in Pennsylvania in 1862. He spent considerable time as a librarian in Italy and St. Louis, Missouri. In 1904, he moved to western North Carolina, where he spent the rest of his life.

He became a leader in the movement to preserve America’s wild spaces through the formation of national parks. In particular, Kephart and his friend photographer George Masa spent decades advocating for the preservation of the mountainous wilderness along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. That effort ultimately succeeded when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was chartered by Congress in 1934 and opened in 1940.

Kephart signed on to Benton MacKaye’s dream of an Appalachian Trail in the 1920s. He played a major role in laying out the 70 mile route that the Appalachian Trail takes through the Smokies.

Kephart first wrote of his experiences in the Smokies in a series of articles in the magazine Field & Stream. These were incorporated into his first book, Camping and Woodcraft. His best known book is Our Southern Highlanders, published in 1913 and expanded in 1922.

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