New Shelter in Waynesboro Gives Appalachian Trail Hikers a Place to Stay

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The city of Waynesboro is celebrating the opening of a new pavilion Saturday that will give Appalachian Trail hikers a place to stay as they pass through the valley.

The shelter features a high tech addition that makes it even more accommodating.

A $3,000 donation from the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, coupled with money raised from the community, made this new pavilion a reality.

It features a solar panel for electricity and hammock posts, which hikers are already putting to use.

Waynesboro's new pavilion and camping area provides hikers a place to set up camp in the city and charge their electronic devices.

One hiker who has adopted the trail name "Global Leader" says he never expected to find accommodations like this.

“I didn't know it was going to have all this solar power and like the whole community comes out here and checks out the hikers, so yeah I didn't know about that, it's been cool” said the hiker.

Members of ALDHA say it's about the image and experience they want hikers to take away from their city.

"It's a gesture. The town is saying to the hikers we welcome you. Right I mean when the hikers see a place like this, they're not thinking oh I have to go hide in the bushes somewhere right?" said Kip Redick, ALDHA coordinator.

Waynesboro Parks and Recreation provided the materials to build the pavilion and worked with a valley solar company to wire it.

Dwayne Jones, the Parks and Recreation director said, “We had a shelter we were getting ready to move, I was a sort of solar geek back a long time ago and said why don't we combine the two together and we partnered with Sigora Solar and a lot of donations locally and we made it happen."

The crowd that gathered for Saturday's opening ceremony decided "Global Leader" should be the one to cut the ribbon, since he's a hiker using it.

After traveling 2 months and 845 miles, he says Waynesboro is the warmest welcome he's had.

Waynesboro Parks and Recreation staff says the hope is to install a water spigot in the park as well.

In addition to the pavilion, trees were donated by people in the community to offer shade for campers.

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