The Appalachian Trail Conservancy honored Bland County, Virginia, as the 9th community in Virginia to be named an Appalachian Trail Community. Bland County -- which proudly preserves 56 miles of the Appalachian Trail -- is the 23rd area along the trail to earn this distinction.
In the 1980s, the AT ran along the ridge of Walker Mountain in southern Bland County. Wisely, the AT was rerouted, offering easier access to the 56-miles of trail. The move also made it easier for thru-hikers resupply, rest and enjoy the area's hospitality. The true value of the Appalachian Trail became more apparent every year.
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail," stated Community Program Manager Julie Judkins of the ATC. "These new partnerships will increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning, as well as support healthy lifestyles for community citizens."
To celebrate the designation, the Festival of Trails will be held Saturday, May 26, at the Bland County Fairgrounds. You're invited to take part in the Tour de Bland Bicycle Ride, singing, a brief declaration ceremony and a street dance starting at 6 PM.
Designation as an Appalachian Trail Community(TM) and participation in the program is aimed to:
Only the most friendly and dedicated towns are appointed official Appalachian Trail Communities by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Published Mar 11, 2013.