Harpers Ferry, WV (February 27, 2013) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has selected four Appalachian Trail Community™ ambassadors in the state of Georgia. Marsha Conner has been selected to serve as the volunteer ambassador to Dahlonega, Daniel Windham will serve as the ambassador to Helen/White County and Grady and Harrison Garner will serve jointly as the ambassadors to Blairsville/Union County. All four will serve as community liaisons to the ATC and the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club to encourage volunteerism and stewardship of the Trail at the local level. This year there are 16 ambassadors serving 14 different A.T. Communities along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).
“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.
Conner is the co-founder of a hiking group at her church and has planned recreational hikes, camping events and outdoor adventures for over six years. In 1975 she graduated with a Master of Education from the University of Georgia and looks forward to putting her skills to work on behalf of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Dahlonega to promote this great A.T. community.
Windham has guided expeditions with Rainier Mountaineering and Wilderness Travel for the past 18 years. A father of three children, he is looking forward to “giving back to the wilderness a little of what it has given me.”
Grady and Harrison Garner are brothers from Blairsville. Grady graduated from Young Harris College with a B.A. in Music and Harrison works for Blairsville’s Humane Society Thrift Store Operation and Animal Shelter. Both brothers successfully thru-hiked the A.T. in 2012.
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. Since the program’s inception in 2010, 28 communities have been designated with 5-10 communities expected to be entered into the program in 2013.
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 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 A.T. each year.
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 please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11Fax: 828.254.3754
Email: [email protected]