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About the Club

How We Got Started

The Terrapin Trail Club was founded in 1937 by Eleanor Cooley, a University of Maryland alumni. Cooley was inspired by the other prominent "outing clubs" at some of the prestigious New England universities and wondered if a similar club couldn't be founded right here at UMD. Since that time, the TTC has been a 100% student run and managed organization dedicated to the sponsoring of outdoors activities for its members of the campus community. The TTC is recognized by the SGA as an official student organization and by the University as the oldest continually operating club on campus! We recently celebrated our 75th anniversary in 2012. We welcome you to come help us make the next 75 years as good as the last!

What Do We Do?

Now that's a question that officers and fellow members alike hear a lot from non-members. The appropriate answer should really be: "What don't we do?". The TTC prides itself on being an organization for students, by students. Our members plan and lead trips all over the country and sometimes across the globe. The sky is the limit when leading a trip with the TTC and the club encourages its members to lead a variety of unique trips to satisfy all members. Hiking, rock-climbing, biking, backpacking, front- and back-country camping, kayaking, and caving are some of the more common trips our members have led. Aiding in that pursuit is one of the greatest assets to our club: any member has access to the multitude of gear owned and meticulously maintained by the TTC's Gear Managers. Chances are, if you don't have it, we do! Most of our gear is purchased by the SGA, keeping the costs of membership affordable for all.

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Canoeing on the Saranac Lakes - Summer 2014
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Mountain biking on Spruce Knob - Fall 2012

Where Do We Go?

The TTC has historically lead trips in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Shenandoah National Park, George Washington and Monongahela National Forests are tried-and-true TTC stomping grounds. However, we often venture outside of our region to amazing places. Recent trips to the Adirondacks, New Orleans, Zion National Park, Smokey Mountain National Park and Key West, Florida have exposed our members to new places, faces and experiences. As a trip leader, you get to choose where you want to go! One of the best parts of the TTC is our commitment to exploration and experiencing the unknown while fostering meaningful friendships that often last well after our members graduate.

What is "Intro Trip"?

Every semester, the TTC ventures to beautiful Seneca Rocks in West Virginia for a weekend of multi-sport fun. This is the trip that attracts the largest number of TTC members each semester, so you don't want to miss it! Once there, our members are given the opportunity to choose two of the many activities we offer, such as hiking the desolate Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, mountain biking around Spruce Knob, top-rope climbing on Seneca Rocks and even caving in the nearby caves. All of the activities are geared towards beginners and are perfect for those new to the outdoors. Much of the gear required is provided to you, as the TTC has a multitude of tents, sleeping bags, bikes, climbing gear and headlamps. The trip costs $20 for the weekend and includes camping at the peaceful Seneca Shadows group campground, all necessary gear, food and activities.

Club Giveback

One of the best parts about the Terrapin Trail Club is our commitment to the environment and the trails we use every week. Trail maintenance and conservation projects are an integral part of our club. People often believe that they cannot make a difference in the world, especially when it comes to environmental conservation. Once you go on your first trail maintenance trip you will realize how much an impact you can make! Imagine a whole field of invasive plants (which suffocate and kill off native plants) exterminated after a hard day of work. Imagine the satisfaction felt when rebuilding an eroded trail, or removing a downed tree that blocked a trail. What about using GPS technology to help update trail maps? As a Terrapin Trail Club member, the opportunities are endless!

The Terrapin Trail Club proudly coordinates with the National Park Service (NPS), Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), Maryland - National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), and other local volunteer organizations to fight the things that damage our trails and wildlife. In addition, we are the official trail stewards of Billy Goat Trail Leg A, which is the most-hiked trail east of the Mississippi River. If you are a new member of the Terrapin Trail Club, trail maintenance projects are a great way to meet other members of our club while fighting for a great cause!

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Trail maintenance at Blockhouse Point Conservation Park