Iva Gillet: Charlottesville Potomac Appalachian Trail Club President December 2013-2018
Tell us about yourself.
"For the first 25 years of my life, my interests focused on animals, especially horses, and I became an avid competitive horseback rider. Once liberated from marriage, I began hiking as a much less expensive alternative hobby. Concurrently, I have been employed at the University of Virginia for the last 30 years and raised two amazing young women. It was my great fortune to decide to attend UVA, since that was what introduced me to the Blue Ridge Mountains. After 4 years as a student in Charlottesville, I knew I wanted to live near mountains for the rest of my life." What do you most value about spending time in the outdoors?
"The relaxation that comes from the sounds of nature has such profound effect on the human mind. Being in solitude among the trees, listening to the sound of water sliding over rocks, quietly interacting with wild animals, and having time to focus on the miracles of plants, wind, sun and stars- what can be better than being outdoors? There is such an amazing display of energy unfolding all around you, that must be noticed away from civilization. By shifting focus onto the simplicity and complexity of life, priorities are realigned and peace seeps in." What is your relation to the Appalachian Trail and other public lands and outdoor places?
"I live a few miles from the AT and have been part of a club to help with maintaining trails for about 20 years. I was also was President for the Charlottesville Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for the last 5 years with my focus on trail maintenance and offering group hikes. Dedication to trail work has brought me into contact with so many others with the same passion and respect for nature. Those of us who know the benefit of time in the woods work to share that knowledge. Whenever I travel to a new place, even to cities for work, I seek out a park to make sure I get time in green spaces. Unimagined beauty can be found in unknown and unexpected places. I get benefit from the camaraderie of trail work with like minded folks, as well as the mental and physical benefits." What are your hopes or aspirations for the AT and other trails? What changes are you working toward?
"As with wildlife corridors, I hope that wild spaces can be protected and even expanded for the benefit of all living creatures. My mission is promoting times for natural living and preventing unsurmountable damage. By sharing the beauty of nature and relaxation of camping outdoors, I hope others will protect our open spaces as vehemently as I do. Conservation and protection of nature will be my focus for as long as I can promote them." Trailname?