The Green Tunnel explores the history and culture of the United States’ most iconic long-distance hiking trail, the Appalachian Trail. Hosted by Mills Kelly, the show delves into topics including the quirky history of trail food, the shelters and structures built along the trail, and dangers you might encounter during a hike.

Many episodes contain rare, never before heard audio recordings of people including Benton MacKaye, who dreamed up the idea of a multi-state long-distance hiking trail, and Grandma Gatewood, the first woman to thru-hike the trail alone. You'll also hear from hikers, volunteers, park rangers, and leaders in the trail community. Visit each episode's show notes and social media for rare photos from the first 100 years of the AT.

The Green Tunnel is a production of R2 StudiosTM at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.


About the Hosts

Mills Kelly Profile Photo

Mills Kelly

Mills Kelly is the host of The Green Tunnel. Known on the AT by his trail name “Grandaddy Spartan,” he has been hiking on trail since 1971 and researching its history since 2016. He is the author of Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail. Off trail, Mills is a professor of history at George Mason University and the Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

Bridget Bukovich Profile Photo

Bridget Bukovich

Bridget Bukovich is the marketing and social media manager for The Green Tunnel. She has also produced a couple of episodes. She has a MA in History from George Mason University. A self-proclaimed “indoor cat” and avid reader, she prefers to find outdoor adventures in the pages of her books. Though she hasn’t stepped foot on the AT (yet) working on this podcast might just get her on trail.

Update: Bridget has officially stepped foot on the AT!

Jeanette Patrick Profile Photo

Jeanette Patrick

Jeanette Patrick is an executive producer of The Green Tunnel. She is also the Head of R2 Studios, the studio where The Green Tunnel is mixed and made for your listening enjoyment. Jeanette loves spending time outdoors and grew up hiking and camping in the Ozark Mountains.

Alison Langford Profile Photo

Alison Langford

Alison Langford is the administrative associate for R2 Studios, the podcast studio that produces The Green Tunnel. Alison keeps things running smoothly for The Green Tunnel team, especially in the swag department.

Jim Ambuske Profile Photo

Jim Ambuske

Jim Ambuske is an executive producer of The Green Tunnel. He is also Co-Head of R2 Studios. When he is not working on The Green Tunnel, Jim is an historian of the American Revolution and spends his days reading about emigrant Scots who resettled in American colonies before the outbreak of the War for Independence. Jim enjoys the great outdoors and loves hiking through the Mirkwood.

Hayley Madl Profile Photo

Hayley Madl

Hayley Madl is a producer on The Green Tunnel. She is also a PhD student at George Mason University focusing on Indigenous history in Early America and digital history. Her family has long been into all things outdoors, and she had two brothers complete thru-hikes of the AT as part of the Class of 2021. While her own thru-hike is still in the works, Hayley is settling for diving into the history of the trail and disappearing into the woods whenever she can.

Ashley Palazzo Profile Photo

Ashley Palazzo

Ashley Palazzo is a producer on The Green Tunnel podcast. She has a MA in history from George Mason University. Ashley grew up camping in the Great Smokey Mountains with her family and has fond memories of hiking portions of the Appalachian Trail.

Scott Miller Profile Photo

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is an acclaimed musician from Stanton, Virginia. He was recently inducted to the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. He resides in his native Virginia, tending to the family farm while also continuing to release and perform new music informed by that rural area, history, and Appalachia. Learn more about his music, performance schedule, and more at thescottmiller.com.

Ashlee Watkins and Andrew Small Profile Photo

Ashlee Watkins and Andrew Small

Ashlee Watkins and Andrew Small are award-winning musicians located in Floyd, Virginia. Ashlee is originally from New South Wales, Australia and Andrew is from North Carolina. Specializing in traditional music styles of Southwest Virginia, Ashlee and Andrew have won numerous prizes including the coveted award for First Place Old Time Band at the 2021 Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, VA. Their music is also featured in the PBS documentary film Rock Castle Home. Learn more about their music, performance schedule, and teaching at watkinsandsmall.com.

Abby Mullen Profile Photo

Abby Mullen

Abby Mullen is the founder of R2 Studios and served as the first head of studio. Abby was the executive producer of The Green Tunnel for the first season. She also produced and hosted Consolation Prize, a podcast about the history of the United States in the world. When she’s not podcasting, Abby works as an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is an aspirational hiker, which is to say, she thinks hiking is cool, but she doesn’t do it all that much herself. She has hiked approximately .1% of the AT.

Eleanor Magness Profile Photo

Eleanor Magness

Eleanor Magness is an intern producer on The Green Tunnel and an undergraduate student at George Mason University, majoring in history. She is a moderately seasoned hiker and enjoys camping and anything to do with the outdoors.

Jess Pritchard-Ritter Profile Photo

Jess Pritchard-Ritter

Jess Pritchard-Ritter was a producer on The Green Tunnel. She is by no means a seasoned hiker, but she lives near the AT and has hiked local stretches of the trail many times. Outside of this podcast, Jess is also a lead educator at a local museum and runs a consulting business that helps cultural institutions go digital. Most days you’ll find her covered from head to toe in paint and plaster as she renovates her 250-year-old house.

Rachel Whyte Profile Photo

Rachel Whyte

My name is Rachel Whyte. I am a second-year Ph.D. student at George Mason University focusing on Public History, Museum Studies, and Indigenous Studies. Prior to attending GMU, I received my BA from Coastal Carolina University in Anthropology and Geography, and History. My MA is from the University of Central Florida in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology. My area of interest focuses on finding new ways to present information to the public and finding analytical techniques that do not damage museum artifacts. Currently, I am a research assistant on the Religious Ecologies project at RRCHNM.

Amber Pelham Profile Photo

Amber Pelham

Amber Pelham is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in History at George Mason University. She holds an M.A. in Public History from New York University, with a specialized focus on the preservation of local communities in the Carolinas. Amber’s research is dedicated to exploring migration patterns of African Americans within the Carolinas. Beyond her academic pursuits, Amber is deeply committed to community engagement. She actively participates in the creation of resources aimed at fostering digital interaction within rural communities.