The Pawling Library and the Appalachian Trail

Last year, the Towns of Pawling and Dover were declared an Appalachian Trail Community in recognition of our support and preservation of the AT as a local and national asset. To support the trail, its through hikers, and day hikers, the Dover Plains Library and the Pawling Library teamed up to educate people about the trail, install  Little Free Libraries at the Wiley and Telephone Pioneers Shelters, and to make backpacks with binoculars, guides, and maps available for circulation to promote local use of the trail.

Little Free Libraries for Hikers


The Pawling Library’s Little Free Library up at the Telephone Pioneers Shelter. Go see it in person!

Imagine you’ve been hiking all day. Your legs burn, and food and sleep seem like the most rewarding things life could offer. You reach the Telephone Pioneers Shelter or the Wiley Shelter, the rest your map promised you today. As you unpack your kit, you notice a curious piece of handiwork in your camp. It looks like a giant birdhouse, but it’s filled with books.

Little Free Libraries are the “take a book, leave a book” gathering place where people  share their favorite literature and stories. The Pawling Library put up a LFL at the Telephone Pioneers Shelter, and the Dover Plains Library put one up near the Wiley Shelter. The LFL’s provide reading material for through and day hikers who pass through the shelter and want a book (remember, there’s no need to return the book). Thanks to Bill Coon for building Pawling’s beautiful LFL, and thanks to Dave Kinosky, who maintains the Telephone Pioneers Shelter, for coordinating and lugging it up the hill.


The Telephone Pioneers Shelter, now lending books.

LFL Builder, Lloyd Berkeley, and Dover Plains Library Director, Susan Totter with the Dover Library's LFL at the Wiley Shelter.

LFL Builder, Lloyd Berkeley, and Dover Plains Library Director, Susan Totter with the Dover Library’s LFL at the Wiley Shelter.

AT Backpacks

To promote use of the trail by day hikers and local people, we put together backpacks, which are available to anyone to check out with their library card. Thanks Stancey DuHamel and the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Conference for contributing some of the materials for the backpacks. The backpacks include binoculars, books on wildlife, and maps of the local area.

The Appalachian Trail, Path of Wonder

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Susan Totter & Casey Conlin presenting the AT Program, Appalachian Trail, Path of Wonder at the Pawling Library.

The Dover and Pawling Libraries also paired up for a presentation on the AT. We had a lot of people turn out for the presentations, and everyone stayed late for a Q & A. Thanks to Ron Rosen, Appalachian Trail Coordinator for the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, Cassie Kessman, Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Ambassador, Jason McAlinden, AT through-hiker, Susan Totter, Director of the Dover Plains Library, and everyone who came out, for making this a great program.

The following weekend, each library went on a hike on the trail. Our intrepid group was led by Cassie Kessman, who taught us about native and invasive species on the Trail and in our area on our way up to Corbin Hill. Thanks again to everyone who came out and to Cassie for leading our hike.

Be sure to visit the shops and AT Communities of Pawling & Dover, that work to preserve and promote the trail as a local and national asset and an international icon!


You can also read about us in Karen Maserjian Shan’s article Valley Full of Beautiful Hiking  Options which appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal on May 25, 2014.

Below, photos from our hike by David Ehnebuske.

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