Washington, DC (May 28, 2014)– The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) honored key advocates of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) during the fifth annual Leaders in Conservation Awards Gala in Washington, DC on May 20. These individuals included Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell; Sen. Richard Burr and U.S. Rep David Price, both of North Carolina; and Sean Gobin, founder and executive director of Warrior Hike’s “Walk Off The War” Program.
Secretary Jewell received the ATC’s Vanguard Award for her notable advocacy for national parks and national scenic trails and for expanding outdoor recreation opportunities for youth. As the 51st Secretary of the Interior, Jewell serves as steward for 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, national scenic trails, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands, and also oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters.
In addition to Secretary Jewell, the ATC honored Sen. Burr and U.S. Rep. Price with Congressional Awards. Burr, a Republican from Winston-Salem, is a leading voice in the Senate for full, dedicated funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program designed to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation. Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill and a native of an Appalachian Trail Community™ (Unicoi County/Erwin, Tennessee), was a leader in securing funding from the Land and Water Fund to purchase the Rocky Fork tract, located in Tennessee and North Carolina in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The protection of that 10,000 acre-tract was crucial to the preservation of the A.T.
Gobin, founder and executive director of Warrior Hike’s “Walk Off The War” program, a long-distance hiking opportunity for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, was also presented with the ATC’s Special Achievement Award. Gobin served in the United States Marine Corps from 1994 to 2012, and during his service, he deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. After his time in the Marines, Gobin thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) from Georgia to Maine and, recognizing the therapeutic effects of long-distance hiking, founded the “Walk Off The War” program to support veterans transitioning from their military service. In 2013, a group of Warrior hikers completed either the entire 2,185-mile long Trail or major sections from Georgia to Maine.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC 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 visitwww.appalachiantrail.org
Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x117
Email: [email protected]