Nantahala Hiking Club experiences leadership changes and adjustments

Dozens gathered at a Nantahala Hiking Club picnic held Friday, Aug. 14, to honor longtime member Kay Coriell, and past president Mary Stone.

Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

Catherine Brown (left) is the new Nantahala Hiking Club president, while this past year’s president, Mary Stone, steps down.

Despite the rain, dozens showed up to attend a Nantahala Hiking Club (NHC) meeting honoring long-time member Kay Coriell and past president Mary Stone at a picnic Friday, Aug. 14, at Tassee Shelter on the Little Tennessee River Greenway. Catherine Brown, the new president, spoke and shared about new board members as well as various adjustments to the board in terms of positions and responsibilities. 

After some members participated in a two-hour orientation class, Brown, a retired teacher, said she has “visions to make the club even more efficient in how we communicate and operate.” She added that while the volunteer organization that maintains segments of the Appalachian Trail as well as hosts hikes and provides education and more has been paper-focused, she wants to utilize more technology. 

“And we always want more people to become involved and to volunteer,” she said, “… to take on projects and programs that fit skill levels and interests.” 

Brown would like to see the NHC become more diverse in its membership in terms of age range, backgrounds, etc. “I want to bring people together.”  

Mary Stone, 75, who was a vice president for two years and who has been involved in the NHC since 2005, said, “It’s been a highlight for me to work with so many wonderful people.” An avid hiker, Stone has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and hiked the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu. “My greatest joy is to see the next generation of leadership leaping forward to strengthen the NHC and make it an even better organization. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I’m leaving the club in outstanding hands and that it is heading toward a bright future.”