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Georgia Ridgerunners at Work

Supporting Hikers

Georgia AT-Club | 2015 Ridge Runners

Spring is a beautiful time in the Georgia mountains. Temperatures are warming up (we hope!), wildlife becomes more active, and trees and flowers begin to bloom. But, spring is also a challenging time on the AT in Georgia as hundreds of hikers set-out from Springer Mountain to begin their thru-hike.

Each spring, in cooperation with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the U.S. Forest Service, GATC supports seasonal staff on the Trail to assist hikers, promote Leave No Trace ethics, and provide timely information to the Club regarding trail damage. In 2015, please welcome Ridgerunner Tom Joyner and Springer Mountain Caretaker Mary Thurman. Additionally, for the first time in 2015, we have a trained volunteer Ridgerunner for the month of March. Read Jim Fetig's blog about his experience.

Ridgerunner Tom Joyner & Caretaker Mary Thurman

Voluntary Thru-Hiker Registration System

Harpers Ferry, WV (Feb. 9, 2015) – In order to enhance the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) experience for thru-hikers and better manage this natural resource, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in cooperation with its partners, has launched a new voluntary registration system for those attempting to hike the estimated 2,185-mile-long Trail in one year.  This registration system, available at www.appalachiantrail.org/thruhikeregistration, exists to ease impacts from the increased number of hikers expected after the release of two hiking related films, “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods.”

News Release : A.T. Unmanned Aircraft Use Policy

The National Park Service has developed an interim policy prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft on NPS managed lands of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.  This is a new park use that could affect park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the National Park Service has yet to identify, analyze and examine.  It is the National Park Service policy to not allow a new park use until a determination has been made that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources and values, plus staff and visitor safety.

The closure prohibits the launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links).  This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.”

This interim policy is effective August 20, 2014 until such time that the National Park Service can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience.

About the Appalachian National Scenic Trail:  The Appalachian Trail is a 2,184 mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.  Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers. www.nps.gov/appa

About the National Park Service:  More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to- home recreational opportunities. www.nps.gov.