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Put Your Money to Work on the AT

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.


Whitley Gap Privy Gets a New Roof

Whitley Gap Privy
Georgia Appalachian Trail Club members recently completed the installation of a new tin roof on the privy at Whitley Gap Shelter. Our club member volunteers are always working to improve the Trail and facilities so others can enjoy their experience on the Appalachian Trail. Thank the trail maintainers when you see them out there!


GATC has received a 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award from the Rollins School of Public Health and the Goizueta Business School of Emory University. The award ceremony was held in Atlanta at Emory on January 19. Accepting the award was GATC’s current director of Community Outreach Jay Dement. Also in attendMLK Awdance were three former Outreach directors Marianne Skeen, Frank Wright, and Tom Ottinger.

This award recognizes and celebrates people and organizations in greater Atlanta whose work exemplifies the legacy of Dr. King. Some of the criteria for the award specify that recipients should celebrate diversity and impel action in building a better future for all. Additionally, it looks for organizations that invest resources for the well being of all children, especially those who would otherwise miss out on the many opportunities a young life should offer.

The award cites GATC for conducting a youth outreach program over the last ten years that helps young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in hiking and camping on National Forest lands. The program focuses both on children in areas of concentrated poverty in the metro Atlanta area and on youth in rural north Georgia counties through which the Appalachian Trail passes. Multi-day backpack trips are arranged for the metro Atlanta kids to build their self-reliance and give them a more immersive experience in the outdoors.

The award citation noted that over 25 GATC volunteers have been involved with these outreach activities. GATC thanks all of you who have participated and were instrumental in the club’s receiving this prestigious award. The Club also encourages any other members who are interested to join in this worthwhile outreach effort.

Presidential Ponderings

Jay DNovember 2019

Well it seems like fall has finally arrived!  I can’t believe it was so hot into October, and it is a relief to finally have some cool weather.  I sure hope we get some good foliage and winter holds off for a couple of months.

Member Engagement

Early in my term as club president the board held a retreat at the Hike Inn to discuss strategic planning.  From that it seems to me the most important strategy is Member Engagement.  In order to thrive long term, more members need to participate throughout the club.  This includes with committees, trail sections, Trail Ambassadors etc.

Tom Lamb, Trails Director, is starting an initiative to have two or more overseers on each section.  Doing trail work with a partner will make it more fun, by virtue of having someone to talk with and share the load.  It will also make for a safer work environment.

At the recent annual meeting the Forest Service recognized many members who do a lot of work “behind the scenes”.  Their work provides a solid foundation for the club and we are grateful for their commitment.  Many of these individuals are the only ones that know certain areas of the club’s workings.  We need to augment their efforts with another member who is trained to take over, or at least share the load.

Engaging members across the club takes some effort by all parties.  Board members need to use their committees more, which means we need more people on committees.  I am hoping that new members will reach out and join groups that interest them. 


Recently the Protecting the Appalachian Trail Hiking Experience committee, PATHE, met at Forest Service headquarters in Gainesville.  Not much has happened over the summer and the spirit of the meeting was to refocus and reenergize to go forward.

The NEPA Campsite is in the process of categorizing the trail and campsites in Georgia with a number between 1 and 5, representing Wilderness Areas to Front country.  This will provide a prescription to manage these areas.  The Campsite Committee of the Stewardship Council of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is also working on this same programming.  Club member Bill Bryant is influential on the PATHE committee and was recently appointed chair of the Stewardship Council’s Campsite Committee.

Discussions of a Bear Resistant Storage Container order continued.  The Chattahoochee National Forest wants a forest wide order that would include all front and back country campsites.  I support this initiative mainly because visitors need to become aware of the impacts they have on the resource.  Food storage is not for the benefit of campers, rather for the protection of the animals.  We don’t want animals to become dependent on humans as a source for food.

A.T. Caucus

Since 2018, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Caucus (A.T. Caucus) has provided a convening space for Members of Congress, on a non-partisan basis, who are enthusiastic about the Trail.  The Caucus works directly with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) to help members stay informed on trail issue.  Additionally, they will be informed about bills and hearings in Congress that are of special importance to the Trail.

Doug Collins of District 1 is the only Georgia representative on the Caucus.  Please contact your representative and ask that they join the Caucus.

Clean Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) attack on the Clean Water Act is a major concern. It could severely restrict the ability of states to participate in the permitting and licensing of major infrastructure, that can have a major impact on the Trail landscape, such as pipelines and transmission lines.

The target of this attack is Section 401 of the Clean Water Act which would limit the ability of local and state governments.  This would allow developers and industry to basically ignore the public good.  Section 401 is similar to the Cooperative Agreement under which the A.T. is managed, with all parties having a voice in decisions.

National Park Service Value

A recent economic analysis places the value of the United States National Park System at over $100 billion.  Consider the agencies annual operating budget of $2.5 billion and a maintenance backlog between $12 and $20 billion and something is out of balance.  “America’s Best Idea” needs some better ideas to address the needed maintenance.

The ATC, has conducted an inventory of the trail and associated structures.  This has taken several years to compile as all the water bars, rock steps, shelters etc. have been counted and valuated. That analysis places the value of the A.T. at $28.43 a foot or almost $330 million.

I would hope that Americans would find ways to support our parks.  Some national parks are starting to charge admission and exploring other means of generating revenue. Approximately $36 billion is generated in local economies.

Board Meetings

As a reminder, club board meetings are open and members are encouraged to attend.  Typically we meet at the Kennesaw REI store on the second or third Sunday of odd months.  Please let me know if you are interested so I can provide specific details.


Hawk Mountain Campsites

Check out the U.S. Forest Service Facebook post about the recent updates to the Hawk Mountain shelter and campsite area.  Should make things a lot easier for the upcoming thru-hiker season!