On an unseasonably warm day in February, five Rapidan Society members giving at or above the Bearfence Circle level met with Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Pat Kenney, Deputy Superintendent Raquel Montez, and members of SNPT’s staff and Board of Trustees for a 2-mile trek on the Appalachian Trail to Rock Spring Cabin.
The group walked and talked about all things Shenandoah and the surrounding region – from their favorite trails and historic conservation wins to their hopes for the Park’s future and the incredible effort to reopen Skyline Drive this past winter.
While the hikers enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies at Rock Spring Cabin, Superintendent Kenney and Deputy Superintendent Montez got to know these Park neighbors and answer behind-the-scenes questions about Shenandoah, helping donors see the impact of their dollars at all levels of Park operations.
We host hiking events like the Cookies & Cocoa Hike for a multitude of reasons. First, it’s a chance for our community of Park lovers to gather together and make memories in Shenandoah. Enjoying the Park reminds us why we do the work that we do to support Shenandoah and keep trails clear and safe.*
Second, movement and liminal spaces encourage authentic and thoughtful conversations, giving attendees an opportunity to build relationships with one another and the Park. It’s those connections that help us stay engaged with our place and our people, and maybe even spark new ideas!
*This was our first hiking event in the Park since winter storms brought down hundreds of trees across the Park in December, and we were pleased to enjoy a clear and safe trail. To prepare for future emergencies, we’ve initiated the Trails Forever Fund, protecting the outdoor experience at the heart of Shenandoah.