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  • Put Your Money to Work on the AT
  • Presidential Ponderings
  • Road/Trail Closures

Help Preserve the AT in Georgia

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As a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Charitable Organization, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club can accept your financial donation in any amount. Donations of $100 or more may be designated to one or more of the following specific purposes:

  • General Donation
  • Ridgerunner Program
  • Trail Ambassador Program
  • Outreach Programs
  • Conservation
  • Activities
  • Trail Maintenance/Repairs

Donated amounts of less than $100 will be considered a general donation. Click here to make a donation.

Sport your support when you have a Georgia AT License Plate!GATCNewPlate

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) receives $10 annually for each Georgia specialty A.T. plate purchased or renewed. Since the plate became available in 2013, Georgia license plate holders have raised almost $100,000 for ATC.

Apply for Your Georgia A.T. Plate

Apply for your plate by visiting your local Tax Commissioner’s tag office, or by choosing the “Appalachian Trail Conservancy of Georgia” specialty plate when you renew your registration online. In addition to the regular vehicle registration fees, a standard, numerical A.T. license plate costs $35. There is also a one-time manufacturing fee of $25 when you first purchase your tag.

Georgia A.T. License Plate Grant Program

Each year, the ATC uses funds from the sale of Georgia A.T. license plates to provide grants to organizations and individuals who are working to help fulfill the ATC’s mission within the state of Georgia. Since 2014, $62,195 has been awarded to grant recipients working on a wide variety of A.T.-related projects. Click here for a year-by-year summary of previous grantees and projects that received funding.

Give to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia when you shop onlineAmazon Gives

While the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club does not endorse Amazon, we appreciate their support through the Amazon Smile program. If you shop there please consider using this link. Through this program, the Club will receive a small portion of the proceeds of your shopping. Click here to shop at Amazon and help provide funds to preserve and maintain the Appalachian Trail in Georgia at no additional expense to you.


Jay DMarch 2019

Member Reactions

I have been delighted to hear from some members about my “Pondering” last month on Strategic Planning. I am trying to get my head around some ways to improve the club to better attract and serve members. While I have certain ideas, I do not want to work in a vacuum. I welcome and encourage your thoughts, comments and suggestions. Please keep them coming.

Board and Committees

Elsewhere in this issue is a call for members to join committees and the board. I believe that as a member run organization, members have a responsibility to step up and become involved with the management of the club.

My biggest objective is to engage more members in the affairs and activities of the club. There are many opportunities to share talents and services that will continue to keep our club strong. Most of these positions do not require lots of time. Many jobs can be done strictly on your time and schedule.

Shortly, I will appoint a chair of the nominating committee. If you are interested in serving on that committee, another committee or the board, please let me know. There are many exciting areas for member engagement in our club.

Start Smart at The Arch

By early February several dozen will have taken off on their thru hike attempt. By the middle to end of the month we will see dozens a day depart. Of course, while many will make it to Maine, many will not make it as far as Mountain Crossings. During this time many are only out for a week or two, and soon spring breakers will also be on our trail.

Our primary concern are the several thousand hikers on the first thirty miles. The major impact is on campsites, fire rings, trash and not so much on the trail itself. We do an excellent job of maintaining the trail. Additionally, there are many ill prepared hikers that need our help as well.

This year we are hoping many will consider starting at The Arch, behind the visitor center at Amicalola Falls State Park. This will give us the opportunity to count hikers. We also have a chance to present them with some ideas on how to help mitigate their impact on the resource. The red A.T. hang tag indicates their attendance to the presentation.

The Discovery Room, in the Amicalola Falls visitor center, has been rebranded “The A.T. BASECAMP”. A Ridge Runner will be stationed there over long weekends along with Trail Ambassadors. We need more Trail Ambassadors to register hikers and help with pack shake downs and presentations. This is a fun and rewarding patrol. Inexperienced hikers need help adjusting their gear, logistics and planning.

For several years now Georgia Appalachian Trail Club Trail Ambassadors have done a great job of helping hikers minimize their impact on the trail. The need for patrols is greater now than ever before. Ridge Runners will be on duty Friday through Monday patrolling Springer, Hawk and Gooch shelters. Trail Ambassadors are needed to patrol during the week and not just at the shelters. Roving patrols are also beneficial, if out for an afternoon or several days.

Benton MacKaye Trail Parking

For some time there has been talk about building a parking lot near Big Stamp Gap to service the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT). While the location has shifted to clear NEPA approval, a site has been selected about 100 yards from the trail crossing at Big Stamp Gap (nearer Winding Stair Gap). This will include a kiosk, parking for about 15 vehicles and a connecting trail to the BMT.

Assuming government shutdowns do not cause further impact, construction should begin in the spring. This project is funded by the Benton MacKaye Trail Association and the Forest Service, with BMTA doing the work. This area should provide safe parking for hikers beginning multi-day treks on the trail.

Government Shutdown

I sure hope we don’t have to endure these problems again. As volunteers we experience frustrations because we cannot get out and do the work we love. Because of our Volunteer Service Agreement (VSA) with the Chattahoochee National Forest we are considered “employees” for insurance purposes. As such, when the Forest Service is closed, we are not permitted to work.

Of course the biggest causality of government shutdowns is the federal workers. Not only do they not get paid, but the work they love doesn’t get performed. This trickles down to and ultimately affects everyone.

2019 looks to be a great year for our club. Please share your comments and concerns with me. Thank you for your good work and support.

Best Regards,

Read More

January 4, 2019 - No Closures at this time impacting the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Georgia Appalachian Trail (A.T.) License Plate Grants. This grant program is funded by the thousands of Georgia drivers who purchase or renew their A.T. specialty license plates. Since 2013, Georgia A.T. specialty tags have generated over $230,000.

For 2018, the grant program awarded $41,079.93 to fund projects that will help to preserve and protect the A.T. in Georgia. Grant recipients and a brief description of the projects are listed below.

Georgia Appalachian Trail Club:

  • Support for GATC’s volunteer Trail Ambassador program
  • Outreach to bring youth from Atlanta and north Georgia to hike on the A.T. or visit the Hike Inn for outdoor learning experiences
  • Wilderness First Aid training for club volunteers
  • Support for Ridgerunners along the Trail in Georgia
  • New trail maintenance tools.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy:

  • Set up a structure and support system for Spanish speaking families and groups from the Atlanta area to help them feel welcome on the A.T.
  • Pilot a NextGen Forest Ambassador program for GA youth to foster their understanding of and appreciation for public lands in their communities, including the Appalachian Trail.

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest:

  • Increase monitoring and education on the A.T. in GA through the hiring of a seasonal backcountry ranger dedicated to the A.T.
  • Purchase tools for trail rehabilitation work on the A.T. and trails in north Georgia

Len Foote Hike Inn: Support for a 2019 youth service learning trip to stay at the Hike Inn, perform trail work on the A.T. Approach Trail, and learn from GATC members.

Tom Banks and Tara Roberts: Produce educational videos that can be used to compliment ongoing Visitor Use Management efforts on the A.T. in Georgia.

Thanks to the purchasers of these license plates, this variety of efforts by multiple organizations can enhance the hiker experience and protection of the A.T. in Georgia.