Educational Board Game Promotes Leave No Trace Practices Along the Appalachian Trail

Date Published: Sep 24, 2015

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Outdoor Edutainment, LLC ​has produced a new ​edition of The Appalachian Trail Game that teaches players about Appalachian Trail (A.T.) safety and best use practices before and during a hike. Th​is special edition includes game card content created in collaboration with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and the American Hiking Society. With the spotlight on the A.T. after the release of the movie "A Walk in the Woods," the game will serve as an important educational tool for anyone interested in hiking on the Trail. 

“We have been working with our partners for the last six months to proactively address the potential impact of the wave of new hikers who will be inspired to take to the Appalachian Trail after seeing the film,” said Mark Hanf, founder of Outdoor Edutainment, LLC.

While playing The Appalachian Trail Game, individuals encounter challenges, obstacles and opportunities to learn through cards featuring information about Leave No Trace Principles for hiking and camping, first aid, plant and animal identification, essential gear, trail history and more. It’s an engaging way to foster a love for hiking and Trail stewardship. The Appalachian Trail Special Edition game includes 150 new game cards in the categories of gear, chance, challenge and stewardship. There are also a few "Trail Karma" cards tossed in to mitigate negative circumstances that arise along their trek.

“The new edition of the Appalachian Trail Game is a innovative and fun approach to educate hikers about how to enjoy the Appalachian Trail experience while doing their hike the right way," said Ron Tipton, the ATC's executive director. "The Appalachian Trail Conservancy appreciates the timing of this special edition connected to the release of 'A Walk in the Woods.'"

Outdoor Edutainment has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the intent to raise $25,000 to fund creation of a special edition tabletop game version which also includes custom laser engraved game pieces only available to Kickstarter backers.

Within the first week of the campaign, backers contributed more than $20,000 toward the initial goal. Amounts over $25,000 received in the next month will go toward fulfilling “stretch goals,” including the creation of new game cards and expansion themes. The Kickstarter campaign closes on Sept. 27.

“We view the game as one of those key educational tools for reaching new Appalachian Trail hikers, whether they are going out for a day hike or doing a thru-hike,” said Ben Lawhon, education director for Leave No Trace. “It’s a fun way to gain knowledge and skills to enjoy the A.T. responsibly.”

“One of the greatest challenges of trails like the Appalachian Trail is that there are so many transient users,” Lawhon continued. “They’ll be in this shelter tonight and another shelter tomorrow night and because of that they don’t always see the impact of what they are leaving behind or how those impacts accumulate over time. The game helps them learn about the impact and how it can be minimized.”

Broad Green Pictures plans to donate copies of the game to 75 colleges and hostels in the A.T. region. It has also approved use of official movie clips in the Kickstarter campaign for the Appalachian Trail Game Special Edition.

“The game and the movie are a great fit together,” said Kristin Peppel, who handles design, sales and advocacy for Outdoor Edutainment. “The game provides a deeper level of education and inspiration to follow up on after they’ve seen the movie. Users learn new skills from the game to prepare for their own walk in the woods.”

The Appalachian Trail Game helps prepare participants for some of the hazards they might encounter on the trail, as well as reward them for doing things to protect the trail and educates them about ways to preserve it for future hikers to enjoy. To further assist with trail protection, $1 from the sale of each Appalachian Trail Game Special Edition will be donated to the ATC.

“As the number of A​ppalachian Trail hikers continues to grow, education becomes one of our best tools to protect the Trail and its sensitive resources," said Julie Judkins, the ATC's Education and Outreach director. "The Appalachian Trail Game is a fun, innovative way to prepare people for their A.T. adventures, while also inspiring them to become stewards and advocates for trails and other wild places.”

To find out more about the Appalachian Trail Game Special Edition and the new Kickstarter campaign, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/349962798/the-appalachian-trail-game-special-edition or www.theATgame.com.

CONTACT:

Mark Hanf
Founder, Outdoor Edutainment
828.279.0283
[email protected]

Kristin Peppel
Design | Sales | Advocacy for Outdoor Edutainment
828.318.6380
[email protected]





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