Published Mar 13, 2013
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has selected four Appalachian Trail Community(TM) ambassadors for Georgia. There are now 16 ambassadors serving 14 Trail Communities along the Appalachian Trail (AT).
Marsha Conner has been chosen to serve as the volunteer ambassador to Dahlonega. Daniel Windham will serve as the ambassador to Helen/White County. Grady and Harrison Garner will serve jointly as the ambassadors to Blairsville/Union County. All four will serve as community liaisons to the ATC and the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club to encourage volunteerism and stewardship of the Trail at the local level.
Community Program Manager of the ATC Julie Judkins says, "The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited about building off its volunteer base by providing AT Ambassadors to designated AT Communities to help increase local stewardship of public lands and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens."
Marsha Conner is the co-founder of a hiking group at her church and has planned recreational hikes, camping events and outdoor adventures for over six years. In 1975, she graduated with a Master of Education from the University of Georgia and looks forward to putting her skills to work on behalf of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Dahlonega to promote this great AT community.
Daniel Windham has guided expeditions with Rainier Mountaineering and Wilderness Travel for the past 18 years. A father of three children, he is looking forward to "giving back to the wilderness a little of what it has given me."
Grady and Harrison Garner are brothers from Blairsville. Grady graduated from Young Harris College with a B.A. in Music. Harrison works for Blairsville's Humane Society Thrift Store Operation and Animal Shelter. Both brothers successfully thru-hiked the AT in 2012.
The Appalachian Trail Community(TM) program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the AT. Towns, counties, and communities along the AT's corridor are considered assets by AT hikers and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with local initiatives such as sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the AT. Since the program's inception in 2010, 28 communities have been designated with 5-10 communities expected to enter the program in 2013.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The AT is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length and is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work annually.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail - and its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage -- for centuries to come.
Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, and Appalachian Trail Community