Landscape Protection

We work with our partners to safeguard the picturesque vistas, wildlife habitat, farmlands and valuable historic sites that are all part of the Appalachian Trail experience.

Tennessee Roan Mountain

Protection of land along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) has been a priority for Trail managers ever since the Trail was established, and we have worked with state and federal agencies since 1982 to protect the lands surrounding the A.T. This has resulted in one of the most significant and successful land acquisition programs in the United States, and today there is a 250,000 acre greenway around the Trail that connects significant public lands in the eastern United States.

Land protection for the treadway is almost complete, but we remain vigilant of development in the viewshed, especially at some of the most stunning overlooks on the Trail. We continue to work with federal, state and multiple private partners to acquire additional lands that complete the protection of the corridor, and safeguard the picturesque vistas, wildlife habitat, farmlands and valuable historic sites that are all part of the Trail experience.

Land protection is accomplished through active monitoring of the protected Trail corridor boundary, management of land held by the ATC’s land trust, and supporting a network of volunteers who monitor proposals for incompatible development in the A.T. viewshed.

protecting america's premier trail

One of the many remarkable things about the A.T. is how the land was acquired.
There were countless individuals involved throughout the Trail's history that made the A.T. what it is today. This series of short videos tells the story of this important history and also provides personal stories and tales along the way.






Trail Management Policies AT Boundary Marker by Vincent Juarez

boundary and corridor lands

The A.T. Boundary Program protects the public’s investment in the lands that surround the Trail. To ensure the continued protection of the Trail corridor, volunteers from A.T. maintaining clubs work with the ATC to monitor and maintain more than 1,500 miles of the corridor’s exterior boundary from Tennessee to Maine.

To monitor, volunteers walk the tracts and boundary lines of lands acquired for the Trail and assess them to ensure their continued conservation. To maintain, volunteers repaint blazes and brush out the line, keeping it well marked and easy for our neighbors to identify.

natural ​& cultural resource management

The 250,000-acre corridor of the A.T. and its surrounding landscape are rich in natural and cultural resources.
Running primarily along the Appalachian highlands, Trail lands protect headwater streams for major East Coast watersheds. These high elevation lands also provide critical habitat for plants, animals and fungi, including hundreds of rare species. The A.T. is well suited for large scale climatological studies and provides a habitat corridor through otherwise disconnected conservation lands Roughly one-third of the U.S. population lives in close proximity to A.T. In many respects, threats to the health of A.T. lands also represent environmental challenges to everyone downwind and downstream of the A.T. This makes the Trail and its protected corridor an ideal indicator for environmental conditions that directly affect more than 120 million Americans.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy Logo Circular Black

National Park Service Arrowhead Logo

United States Forest Service Logo

In 2009, the National Park Service completed the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Natural Resource Management Plan which describes the important resources of the Trail and suggests management actions. The ATC, the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as other agencies and organizations, work cooperatively to understand the status of these resources and to engage volunteers, or citizen scientists, in monitoring natural resources. Monitoring projects are aimed at assisting cooperative management partners in the development of effective adaptive management strategies, ensuring the long-term health of significant resources.

Current Monitoring Efforts

The following monitoring projects offer opportunities to engage with scientific partners at the National Park Service and other organizations. Monitoring protocols have been developed by these partners to ensure scientific standards are met.

Rare Species Plant on the Appalachian Trail

​Rare Species

Learn about threatened species that the A.T. supports and the best management practices for protecting them.

Appalachian Trail Crew Flexing Muscles

​Invasive Species

Track the spread of problematic plant species and work collaboratively to eliminate targeted populations of invasive species.

Appalachian Trail Crew Flexing Muscles

​American Chestnut

Help partners at the American Chestnut Foundation understand restoration of this once important species of Appalachian forests.

Appalachian Trail Crew Flexing Muscles


Help monitor seasonal changes of plants and animals in an effort to understand the potential impacts of changing climates along the A.T.

Cultural Management Initiatives

South Mountain Partnership

​South Mountain Partnership

The South Mountain Partnership is a regional, landscape-scale conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania. This Partnership has emerged to guide efforts within the South Mountain Conservation Landscape, one of seven Conservation Landscapes that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has identified throughout the state.


​Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Project

The Kittatinny Ridge (Appalachian Mountains) is a treasured landscape rich in history, beauty, natural resources, and recreational opportunities. It is the largest landscape conservation project in Pennsylvania - stretching from Delaware Water Gap in Northeastern PA and heading southwest on the top of the Ridge to the Mason-Dixon Line. Experience its 'Ridgeness' at the link below.

PA Act 24 Online

​PA Act 24 /
ATC Mini-Grant

Act 24 was passed to encourage municipalities to protect the Trail Corridor through stronger planning and zoning regulations. In this way, the Trail Corridor will be integrated further into the community landscape across Pennsylvania. ATC established a mini-grant to help fund these activities. Click the link below for more information.