Berkshire Magazine's Town Vibe features retired Public Works Superintendent Joe Sokul, whose retirement plan includes being a pit-crew of sorts for Appalachain Trail hikers: he has assisted hundreds of hikers with rides to and from trailheads, laundromats and eateries. As such, Joe is a Great Barrington community ambassador, and we couldn't ask for a better one.
Great Barrington is an Appalachian Trail Community™ Partner, and each summer, partner communities celebrate with a special event. This year's is scheduled for July 21 at Beartown State Forest in Monterey, and will include A.T. through-hikers and members of local organizations that support the trail, conservation and open space access. Ninety of the A.T.'s 2,190 north-south miles, from Maine to Georgia, pass through the Berkshires.
According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the "Appalachian Trail Community™ program recognizes communities that promote and protect the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Towns, counties, and communities along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by all that use the A.T., and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation while preserving and protecting the A.T."
According to Town Vibe, Joe said: “I’ve shuttled hikers into every grocery store, hotel, restaurant, and laundromat in town,” he says. “But I’m not the only one. There is a whole community who pitches in to help. Some take hikers into their homes for the night, give them a hot breakfast. That’s real trail magic.”
Photo: Megan Haley, Town Vibe/Berkshire Magazine