Vernon to be Named Appalachian Trail Community™ at EarthFest Celebration

Date Published: Apr 19, 2018

VERNON, N.J. (April 19, 2018) – Come celebrate with The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference on April 29 as we officially designate Vernon, New Jersey, as the newest Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Community™. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Vernon EarthFest at Heaven Hill Farm and is free and open to the public.

"We are very excited to celebrate Vernon becoming an Appalachian Trail Community™,” stated Charlene Van Vugt and Stewart Stumper, the community leaders who helped finalize Vernon's A.T. Community™ designation. “We live in a beautiful four-season recreational community with arguably the most popular and the most alluring section of the Appalachian Trail running right through our town. In being a partner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, we can work together to sustain our A.T. boardwalk, bridges and trails."

Pochuck Boardwalk - Photo by Michele Papaleo
The Vernon A.T. Community™ designation and EarthFest event will have multiple family-friendly activities, including guided hikes along the nearby A.T.
Photo by Michele Papaleo.

The Appalachian Trail Community™ program was created by the ATC to recognize communities that promote and care for the A.T. Working with a growing network of trailside community partners, the program supports communities that play a role in advocating for the A.T. as a significant local and national asset and as an international icon. The program assists communities by generating awareness and stimulating outdoor recreation while preserving and protecting the A.T.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is thrilled to celebrate Vernon as an A.T. Community™ partner that is helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail,” said Julie Judkins, director of education and outreach for the ATC. “These new partnerships increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning, and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens.”

Event Overview:

  • Date: Sunday, April 29
  • Location: 451 New Jersey 94, Vernon Township, NJ 07462
  • Cost: Free
  • Schedule:
    • 10 a.m. — Vernon A.T. Community™ Designation Ceremony
    • 11 a.m. — Guided Hikes Begin
    • 11 a.m.-4 p.m. — Music under the tent featuring Whiskey Crossing, Carolyn & Rich Duo and Kevin DeFeo
    • 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — Snakes N Scales Reptile Exhibit
    • 12:30-1:30 p.m. — Eyes of the Wild Wallaby Tales Traveling Zoo
    • 2-3 p.m. — Delaware Raptor Center Birds of Prey Exhibit

Other not-to-miss highlights that children will enjoy during Earthfest include panning for gemstones at the gem mining sluice, face painting and a beekeeper with a live hive. Honored guests and speakers at this event include Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway, ATC Regional Director Karen Lutz, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Chair Steve Weissman, New Jersey State Senator Steve Oroho and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Regional Superintendent Joshua Osowski.

For more information about the A.T. Community™ program, visit

For more information about Earthfest visit

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 System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,190 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, visit

Media Contact:
 Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11
Email: [email protected]


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