Each year the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) facilitates use of funds from the sale and renewal of Georgia AT license plates to provide grants to organizations and individuals who are working to fulfill the GATC and ATC missions within the state of Georgia. Since inception of the grants in 2014, $92,195 has been awarded (including $30,000 in 2017) for projects that benefit the AT in Georgia. All revenues generated through the GA A.T. license plate program must be used within the State of Georgia, and are placed in a dedicated account for that purpose. Any unused funds in a given year remain in the account for future use.
Awardees of AT license plate grants for 2017 were announced at the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC) annual business meeting in Dahlonega on October 7, and are listed below.
- $2,500 is awarded to the Blairsville-Union County AT Community to print copies of “The History of the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia” for distribution to Youth Outreach, AT Communities, and Chambers of Commerce in North Georgia.
- $5,000 is awarded to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to provide a Forest Service AT Ranger to increase user conservation awareness and provide a uniformed presence on the AT for monitoring and education during peak hiker season.
- $2,822 is awarded to the Len Foote Hike Inn to introduce Georgia youth to the AT as a significant cultural and natural resource, to perform service learning trail projects, and to foster a lifelong relationship with nature, hiking, conservation, and civic engagement.
- $5,000 is awarded to GATC for its program “Connect Youth with Nature”. Funds will be used to take groups of young people from inner city Atlanta and from schools or organizations near the Appalachian Trail on overnight trips to the Len Foote Hike Inn. Students will learn about the forest, the trail, conservation, and Leave No Trace principles.
- $5,000 is awarded to GATC to support the Ridgerunner/Caretaker Program. Ridgerunners and caretakers educate hikers about Leave No Trace principles and help protect the AT and the hiking experience during peak thru-hiker season.
- $2,300 is awarded to GATC for the Trail Ambassador Program. Funds will be used to provide training, equipment, and uniforms for Trail Ambassadors, who will protect the trail environment and enhance the hiker experience by promoting sustainable backcountry ethics.
- $4,520 is awarded to the GATC to provide wilderness first aid training for Trail Ambassadors, sawyers, search and rescue team members, trail maintainers, and hike leaders.
- $2,858 is awarded to GATC for enhancements to the club’s website, including streamlining the application process for new and prospective members and improving ease of navigation.
The Georgia AT tag committee consists of GATC members Scott Barnes, Marianne Skeen, and Frank Wright, Steve Perri - Chair of ATC’s Southern Regional Partnership Committee, and Morgan Sommerville - ATC Regional Director. Kyle Grambley of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest serves as an advisor to the committee.
Future success of the tag grant program depends on continued support from the driving and hiking public in Georgia. Show your support for the AT by BUYING and RENEWING your Georgia AT tag!