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Updated: Oct 16, 2020


Dave Donaldson (AT98, Spirit of '48) and Maurice Forrester are currently writing a biography of Earl. It is a work in progress, and no date has yet been announced for publication.

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Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Earl's niece, Nancy Shaffer Nafziger, accepted the award on behalf of Earl at the induction banquet held at Boiling Springs, PA on June 17, 2011. Other inductees that night include Myron Avery, Gene Espy, Ed Garvey, Benton MacKaye and Arthur Perkins. Of the six, only Gene Espy of Macon, GA, the second person to thru-hike the A.T., is still living and was present to accept the award in person. The A.T. Hall of fame is housed at the A.T. Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania.



The description of Earl in the Hall of Fame article is as follows:


Earl Shaffer


While Benton MacKaye developed the Trail in concept and Myron Avery built the Trail, it was Earl Shaffer who pioneered the concept of thru-hiking. His notion of a 2,000-mile continuous wilderness expedition by foot was unheard of at the time, yet it went lengths to popularize the A.T. and propagate how the Trail is thought of today. Thousands of adventurers have since followed in Earl's footsteps, taking journeys that have in many cases changed lives and redirected priorities.


More about the Hall of Fame event.


Link to photo gallery of 2011 Hall of Fame event.

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The long awaited Appalachian Trail Museum celebrated its grand opening on National Trails Day, June 5, 2010. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the Museum is open every day from noon to 4:00 PM, and in the spring and fall during the same hours, but only on weekends. Admission is free.


The museum is located inside a 200-year-old former grist mill at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. The suggestion to locate the museum here was first made to the AT Museum Society by Earl's youngest brother, John Shaffer. Negotiation between the Appalachian Trail Museum Society and Pine Grove Furnace State Park later resulted in an agreement to house the museum in this historic building in the park.


Earl lived not far from Pine Grove Furnace State Park for many years before he passed away in 2002, and had often participated in hiker events held at the park's Iron Master's Mansion located a short walk from the new Museum's location.


One of the featured exhibits at the museum is the reconstructed Peters Mountain A.T. Shelter, which at the time it was dismantled was the last remaining shelter standing on the A.T. built by Earl. It was one of six shelters that Earl himself constructed during the 1950s and 60s.


The A.T. Museum welcomes volunteer participation in the operation of the museum. CLICK HERE for more information.

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