Youth and Community Engagement Banner by Kelly McGinley

Youth and Community Engagement

One of our priorities is to connect communities and future generations to the Appalachian Trail.

AT Community Program Logo

the appalachian trail community program

The Appalachian Trail Community™ program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).  Towns, counties, and communities along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by all that use the A.T. and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the A.T.

trail to every classroom

Our Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) program is a professional development program for K-12 teachers that provides educators with the tools and training for place-based education and service-learning on the A.T. Launched in 2006 in partnership with the National Park Service, the program offers educators the resources needed to engage their students in their local community, all while growing academically and professionally.

A Trail to Every Classroom educator takes her students for a hike on the Appalachian Trail

TTEC was developed to:

  • Engage youth in volunteer activities
  • Encourage a love of learning
  • Promote healthy lifestyles
  • Create a conservation ethic
  • Form a respect for the A.T.

Place based education and service learning is an effective method of teaching that combines academic classroom curriculum with community service. This method of teaching encourages students to solve local community problems while offering a hands-on learning experience. Studies have shown that this method can increase student achievement, community involvement, and environmental responsibility.


Leave No Trace Logo

At approximately 2,190 miles, the A.T. is the longest single unit of the National Park System.
With the number of people who enjoy this place each year, the chances are great that any of us may inadvertently damage the natural environment along the Trail and affect the experience for others. These negative effects can be minimized by adopting sound hiking and camping techniques which, while simple to learn, require some committed effort. If we are successful, the Trail will retain its essential natural qualities and continue to be a place where an extraordinary outdoor experience is available. Please do your part by committing to these practices, and encourage others to learn about and adopt these techniques which “Leave No Trace” on the Trail