Helen, GA (November 20, 2012) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC) and the city of Helen, invites the public to attend the official designation of White County/Helen, Georgia as the newest Appalachian Trail Community™ on November 30, 2012 at 11:00a.m. The ceremony will be held at the Bandshell Amphitheater located 100 feet north of the Chattahoochee River near Hwy 17/75 in downtown Helen, Georgia. This event is free and open to the public.
Over 40% of White County is comprised of state and federal public lands, making outdoor recreation a dominant feature of this mountain community. The city is most known for its Bavarian flavor, giving tourists a taste of the southern Appalachians.
“White County town officials, residents and businesses are all excited about the Appalachian Trail designation, and this new partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. We look forward to promoting the Trail and recreational opportunities to local residents and visitors alike,” stated Steve Gibson, committee chair of the Appalachian Trail Community™ Committee and manager of Habersham Winery.
The designation ceremony will begin with the national anthem performed by Charles Aiken, thru-hiker and longtime GATC volunteer and Trail-maintainer. Aiken was first introduced to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) at age 12 and has continued to share his passion for the Trail ever since. He recently developed a hiking program, now active in various North Georgia schools, where students can learn about the history of the A.T. and experience the outdoors.
Following the national anthem, various guests will present including Mark Wenger, executive director/CEO of the ATC, Morgan Sommerville, southern regional director of the ATC, Mayor Judy Holloway and Tom Aderhold, former president of GATC and longtime volunteer awarded the 50 Year Service Award by the National Park Service for his efforts managing the A.T.
“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 Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “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 Appalachian Trail Community™ is a new program of the ATC, the nonprofit responsible for management and protection of the A.T. Launched in 2010, this program recognizes and thanks communities for their part in promoting the A.T. as an important local and national asset.
White County/Helen, Georgia A.T. Community Designation Ceremony
Date: November 30, 2012
Locations: Bandshell Amphitheater in downtown Helen, 100 feet north of the Chattahoochee River near Hwy 17/75
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the A.T. is approximately 2,180 miles in length, making it one of the longest continuously marked footpaths 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 A.T. each year. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the A.T.
For more information about the A.T. Community™ program, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/atcommunity.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
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.
Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11
Email: [email protected]