National Sierra Club honors Pennsylvania outings leader 

Courtesy Susan Kotler


The Sierra Club’s National Outings Committee has recognized Catherine McLaughlin as one of its 25 top trip leaders in 2007. This recognition was based on the superior evaluations participants gave McLaughlin for leading a hut-to-hut cross-country ski trip in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec's Papineau-Labelle Wildlife Reserve last February. The trip, which McLaughlin leads annually, features backcountry skiing through a spectacular winter landscape dotted with alpine lakes. Participants ski during the day and stay overnight in a series of rustic cabins spaced 8 to 13 miles apart. 

McLaughlin, a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of trauma, is a resident of Orangeville and a member of the Sierra Club's Pennsylvania Chapter. An avid backpacker, McLaughlin also leads day hikes for the Chapter’s Otzinachson Group. Like the National outings program, the Otzinachson Group relies on the dedication of its volunteer leaders.

The Sierra Club's Outing program, which began over a hundred years ago, was inspired by founder John Muir's belief that exposing members to the living grandeur of the wilderness would motivate them to become advocates for "the preservation of the forests."  Today, the National Outings Program sponsors over 300 trips, all volunteer led. In 2008, the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine awarded Sierra Club Outings one of the "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”.