DAMASCUS, Va. (Feb. 4, 2020) – This morning, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and its partners broke ground on the construction of a new Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Center in Damascus, Virginia. This Center will introduce visitors to a variety of helpful information about the A.T. and outdoor recreation in the area, including suggestions for planning hikes and ways to get involved in conservation.
This morning, representatives from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Town of Damascus, Friends of Southwest Virginia and other partners gathered to break ground on the upcoming Appalachian Trail Center in downtown Damascus.
“Damascus has long been a destination for outdoor recreation in southwest Virginia, with the Appalachian Trail bringing tens of thousands of people to Damascus alone every year,” said Andrew Downs, ATC senior regional director. “This new Trail center will help us prepare both new and experienced hikers to enjoy and protect the Trail and its surrounding lands for future generations of outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.”
Located on West Laurel Avenue — just a few steps from the A.T. as it passes through downtown Damascus — the 2,300-square-foot center will be staffed by ATC and support visitor information, educational exhibits and details about neighboring trails. The Center will also serve as a volunteer training hub, providing classes for range of groups who help maintain and protect the A.T.
The Damascus Appalachian Trail Center will serve as a hub for information on the A.T., surrounding outdoor recreation opportunities and ways to get involved in environmental conservation. Rendering courtesy of Friends of Southwest Virginia.
“The center plays a key role in Damascus as the centerpoint for our downtown — a gravitational core,” noted Gavin Blevins, town manager of Damascus and senior planner for the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission. “It will build upon long-standing partnerships with the ATC, U.S. Forest Service and many other regional entities and partners who have either shown support already or with whom we are currently and continuing to work.”
A joint project of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Town of Damascus and the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the visitor center is currently scheduled to complete construction in late May or early June this year. For the latest updates on the progression of the Trail Center’s construction, keep an eye on www.appalachiantrail.org.
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 2,193 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 appalachiantrail.org.
Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Email: [email protected]