Hiawassee, GA (August 31, 2011) – On September 16, 2011, Hiawassee and Young Harris of Towns County, Georgia will be officially designated as an Appalachian Trail Community™. Speaking at the ceremony will be Hiawassee Mayor Barbara Mathis, Towns County Commissioner Bill Kendall, U.S. Forest Service as well as other local and regional leaders.
The Appalachian Trail Community™ program is a new initiative of the ATC, the non-profit manager of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.). Launched in 2010, this program recognizes communities for their part in promoting awareness of the A.T. as an important national and local resource. Towns, counties and communities along the A.T. corridor are considered assets by A.T. hikers, and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail,” stated Julie Judkins, Community Program Manager 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.”
The designation ceremony will take place at the Hiawassee town square, beginning at 11 a.m. In the event of rain, the designation will be moved to the adjacent courthouse.
“The citizens of Towns County are excited for this designation…” said Jerry Carnes, a volunteer with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. “We consider ourselves a ‘hiker friendly community,’ and think this is a wonderful reflection of what our county offers.” Carnes is leading the committee that applied for the designation.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials who were working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is 2,181 miles in length from Maine to Georgia, making it one of the longest, continuously marked footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 200,000 hours a year on trail-related work. About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year. The ATC is focused solely on preserving and managing the A.T. to ensure 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 Community™ program, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/atcommunity.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy 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 please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11
Email: [email protected]