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Mark Wenger Named Appalachian Trail Conservancy Executive Director


The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Board of Directors has appointed Mark J. Wenger as the organization's new executive director, beginning in February.

Mr. Wenger succeeds David N. Startzell, the longest serving executive director in the ATC’s history. He enters the ATC at a time of growth and development. The ATC currently has over 42,000 members, a vast network of over 6,800 volunteers, 2 to 3 million trail visitors every year, and an operating budget of $6.8 million.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the A.T.

Mr. Wenger is active in the A.T. community as a life member of both the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club and the Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club. He is past program chair, vice president, and president of TATC. He was most recently Regional Partnership Committee representative and RPC chairman for the Virginia region. He also served on the steering committee for the recently completed 2011 Virginia Journeys, the ATC’s 38th Biennial Conference.

Mr. Wenger has also led an extensive number of outdoor trips (backpacking, canoeing, cycling, and whitewater rafting) for the TATC, earning him the Ray Kernel, Jr., Trip Leadership Award. On August 1, 2011, he completed an 8-year, 3-month effort to section hike the A.T. 

He previously held a variety of leadership positions over 32 years with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia, the largest outdoor museum in the world and one of the largest museums in the United States.

Mr. Wenger comes to the ATC with an in-depth knowledge of organizational, operational, financial, communications, and development skill sets in the not-for-profit field. In his most recent position at Colonial Williamsburg, he served as director of facilities where he was responsible for managing an operating budget of $30 million, maintaining more than 800 buildings, 1,500 acres, and 200 employees and volunteers. 

He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He received a Master in Architectural History from the University of Virginia and is a licensed architect in Virginia and Louisiana


Thanks for publicizing Mark Wenger's appintment as Executive Director of ATC. Dave Startzell's great accomplishments were protecting the A.T. footpath and leading ATC's reorganization as a Conservancy with broader goals. Mark Wenger will be able to build on that strong base to address the numerous, new challenges the trail faces, from suburban sprawl to climate change.  

We're glad to have Mark on board! 

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