Friday, April 04, 2008

Good Man
I ran into Scott last year in Port Clinton. He is an asset to the trail community.

At Port Clinton, many hikers conduct a resupply, take in a meal at the Port Clinton Hotel, catch a ride down to Cabela’s Outdoor Outfitter or pick up mail and packages forwarded to the Port Clinton Post Office.

If the hikers are lucky, they contact Scott Russell, owner of “Ye Olde Backpacker” near Orwigsburg. You may not have heard of “Ye Olde Backpacker,” but thankfully, many through-hikers are well acquainted with this business and the communities of Orwigsburg and Pottsville.

“Ye Olde Backpacker” offers a unique service for the A-T hikers, providing supplies, opportunity for rest and even a shuttle service. According to Scott, many hikers visit the Yuengling Brewery, while others shop for groceries in Orwigsburg and eat at local restaurants. One group of hikers used Scott’s shuttle and spent a day at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg.

In 2007, more than 300 hikers, representing 42 different states and seven countries, passed through “Ye Olde Backpacker.” More than 200 visited the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, and 82 of them stayed at local hotels and motels. More than 300 shopped in Orwigsburg and ate two meals in the area. With the Appalachian Trail here in our own front yard, we often overlook the impact that our outdoor recreation provides for our own benefit. But in that same line of thinking, have you ever considered the positive impact that the Appalachian Trail has had on our business community?

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