Blacksburg, VA (January 12, 2012) – Anna Sherrill has been selected to serve as the volunteer ambassador to the designated Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Community of Damascus, VA and Diana Billips will serve as the ambassador to Bland County, VA. In this role, each will serve as a community liaison to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the respective local volunteer A.T. maintaining club to bolster volunteerism and stewardship of the Trail the local level.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited about building off its volunteer base by providing A.T. Ambassadors to designated A.T. Communities to help increase local stewardship of public lands and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens,” stated Julie Judkins, Community Program Manager of the ATC.
Anna Sherrill is a member of the ATC and the Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club. She leads hikes for the club as well as for the College of Older Adults in Abingdon. Hiking is a primary recreational activity for Anna, and as an ambassador she hopes to encourage current generations to discover the physical fitness benefits of hiking and fill them with a sense of wonder through nature.
Diana Billips is a lifelong resident and avid hiker in southwest Virginia. Diana is an active member of the Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers, as a section maintainer of the Trail and as a member of the club's board of directors. She operates the club's hiking program, including monthly hikes and the "70 Mile Club.” She is also a member of the Bland County Community Advisory Committee as part of the county’s A.T. Community designation. Diana owns and operates a purebred cattle farm, is active in her church and her daughter's school and athletic endeavors, and is a market analyst for an international manufacturer located in Bland County.
The Appalachian Trail Community™ program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the A.T. Towns, counties, and communities along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by A.T. 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 A.T. The A.T. Community Ambassador opportunity is the first of its kind within the A.T. cooperative management partnership.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is approximately 2,185 miles in length, ranging from Maine to Georgia, making it one of the longest, continuously marked footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours each year on Trail-related work and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the A.T.
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]