Appalachian Trail Conservancy names Tipton director

Ronald J. Tipton, JD. © NPCA/Benjamin C. Tankersley

Ronald J. Tipton, JD. © NPCA/Benjamin C. Tankersley

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s board of directors has appointed Ronald J. Tipton as the new executive director/CEO, who will lead the organization beginning in late August.

Tipton has spent most of the past 30 years as an advocate for public land preservation and national park protection. A graduate of George Washington University with an undergraduate degree in American Studies and a law degree from GW’s National Law Center, Tipton first worked as a program officer at the National Academy of Sciences and on the oversight/investigative staff of the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

Since 1978 he has been a part of the advocacy and/or management team of four nonprofit national conservation organizations: The Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund and National Parks Conservation Association.

Tipton was the senior vice president for programs for NPCA from 2000-2008, when he became the senior vice president for policy. Currently, he is focused on expanding the number of national park units to increase the natural and cultural diversity of the park system as the country approaches the 2016 Centennial celebration of the National Park Service.

Bob Almand, chair of the board of directors for the ATC, stated, “Ron has the passion, management experience, and advocacy skills that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is looking for, plus a strong connection to the Appalachian Trail and the Trail community. His high standards and experience will help move the organization forward to serve the next generation of Trail users.”

Tipton has been a member of the board or governing council of numerous recreation and trails organizations, including the ATC, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association.

Tipton has been married for 34 years to Rita Molyneaux. In 1978 he walked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.

Founded in 1925, the ATC is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and has regional offices in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. The ATC is both a confederation of 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs, with assignments to maintain the Trail, and a membership organization with support from all 50 states and more than 15 foreign countries. The ATC currently has over 43,000 members, a vast network of over 6,000 volunteers, and an operating budget of $7.3 million.

The Appalachian Trail is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.

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Ronald J. Tipton, JD. © NPCA/Benjamin C. Tankersley

Ronald J. Tipton, JD. © NPCA/Benjamin C. Tankersley