Harpers Ferry, WV (Nov. 18, 2014) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is pleased to announce it has received a $25,000 grant from REI, a national outdoor gear and apparel retailer committed to connecting people with the outdoors. The grant will support sustainable environmental practices along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), particularly in the southern region, which is the most popular location to begin thru-hiking the 2,180-mile Trail.
Interest in hiking the A.T. is on the rise as a result of projects like “A Walk in the Woods,” the film adaptation of Bill Bryson’s best-selling memoir, scheduled to be released in 2015. It is expected the movie will result in a major increase in the number of A.T. hikers.
The grant from REI will help the ATC as it works to minimize any negative impacts from visitors by addressing litter, waste disposal, trail erosion, campsite use and backcountry facility maintenance and rehabilitation. The ATC will also work to communicate Leave No Trace practices through new channels, including training courses in communities along the Trail, and plans to increase the number of Ridge Runners in an effort to provide additional educational opportunities to hikers.
“A strong relationship between the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and its corporate partners is vital as we work to mitigate the impacts from an increase in the popularity of the Appalachian Trail,” said Ron Tipton, executive director/CEO of the ATC. “The grant from REI will help us effectively manage any new threats that may emerge, and we are proud to have REI as a partner.”
REI is dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. In communities across the country, REI partners with local and national nonprofits to help restore or maintain popular trails, parks and waterways. The company’s recent grant to the ATC builds on a 10-year partnership. During that time, the ATC has continued to further its mission of preservation and management of the A.T. through trail management and support, conservation work, community engagement and educational initiatives.
“Expanding our partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy reinforces our commitment to connect our customers and their loved ones to inspiring outdoor places like the Appalachian Trail,” said Taldi Walter, REI community affairs program manager. “We are proud to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s conservation and education efforts so that adventures of all ages and abilities can experience the wonders of the Appalachian Trail.”
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 visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x117
Email: [email protected]