Volunteer Spotlight – Tom Blair
As a lifelong resident of WNC, Tom has always loved and taken pride in the priceless beauty of his home. “My mission, and what my children were taught, leave it better than you found it. On our outings, we always carry out our trash and often a Walmart bag for extra litter encountered. Since retiring in 2017, I have had much more time to spend outside. I am thoroughly enjoying my time contributing in my small way to the efforts of Wild South.’
What is your favorite wilderness recreation activity?
I love hiking and my favorite areas are literally in my backyard. I read on social media where people drive hours to spots readily accessible for me. I’m thankful to be five minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Inside of 45 minutes, I can be on the Appalachian Trail or the Mountains to Sea Trail. In less than an hour I can be on The Roan, Mount Mitchell, Grandfather, and the Linville Gorge Wilderness. These local treasures are a source of local pride and privilege.
Tom spends a significant amount of time in Linville Gorge Wilderness. So we asked him – What’s your favorite part of LGW?
“That’s like asking who is my favorite child. I love the gorge and there are obviously many different areas to visit. All are magnificent and unique in their own way.”
When he isn’t out serving public lands Tom loves spending time with his children and grandchildren. He enjoys reading, movies, music, live entertainment, and working around his family home.
“I’m blessed to live as a third-generation ancestor on a family farm of 115 acres. I enjoy caring for and traipsing about on this spot of heaven.”
What is your favorite Wild South memory or achievement?
“All are special and gratifying. My first time meeting Nick Massey and our day spent picking up two truckloads of trash from campsites on 105 was special. It led to meeting more awesome volunteers and whetted my appetite for more trail maintenance and litter cleanup.”
What is your plan for the next year?
I look forward to continuing with WS efforts in Linville Gorger Wilderness and Unaka Mountain Wilderness.