The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has designated another friend of the Trail as an official Appalachian Trail Community(TM).
We welcome Smyth County and the town of Marion, Virginia, as the newest Appalachian Trail Community(TM).
The Appalachian Trail Community(TM) program was created by the ATC to recognize communities that promote and care for the Appalachian Trail. My pal, Julie Judkins, administers the program. She is perfect for the job, in my humble opinion.
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail," said Julie Judkins, community program manager for the ATC. "These new partnerships will increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens."
The folks in Marion and Smyth County hope you will celebrate with them on Thursday, September 12, 2013, along with the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club (MRATC) and the Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers (PATH).
They'll gather at 5:00 p.m. at the Marion Regional Farmers Market in Marion. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
"The Town of Marion is very excited to partner with Smyth County to showcase our abundant natural resources and community spirit with the designation, and we look forward to the opportunities this brings," said Ken Heath, executive director of community and economic development.
Honored guests and speakers at this event include:
Working with a growing network of trailside community partners, the program supports communities that play a role in advocating the AT as a significant local and national asset and as an international icon. The program assists communities by generating tourism and stimulating outdoor recreation while preserving and protecting the AT.
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. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year, and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the AT each year.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail, ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow and for centuries to come.
For more information about the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, visit: www.appalachiantrail.org.
Tags: Events, Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking Gear, Appalachian Trail Community, News, and Appalachian Trail Clubs
Hiker Homecoming in Marion, Virginia, gives Appalachian Trail hikers a rare chance to be spoiled along the Trail by the wonderful citizens of Marion.
Only the most friendly and dedicated towns are appointed official Appalachian Trail Communities by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Published Mar 11, 2013.