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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 over $300,000 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, over $193,000 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.



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 DDecember 2020

I can’t believe this is my last Presidential Pondering! After three years it seems strange starting my “last” things, board meeting, general meeting, Town Hall etc.  It has been a privilege leading our club for the past three years.  While I am stepping down from this position I will still be around.  I will continue to be involved with our Trail Ambassador program and the Trail Skills Workshop.

Over the last eight years I have had the privilege of working with some great club members.  Your board demonstrates a high level of commitment, energy and enthusiasm which is amazing.  And there are many committee members who make significant contributions.

There are several members who perform duties year after year, our club would not be as strong as it is without people like:  Bruce Kreitman as Tool Manager, Ron Hamlin and Lisa Williams managing our web site and database, Olin Batchelor running the Photography Committee, Martha Miller engaging new members, Doug Haas keeping our books, John Turner editing our monthly newsletter, Mike Cordisco as Sawyer Coordinator, Tom Cross overseeing activities, Melanie Spamer assembling the year book, David & Pat Stelts maintaining structures, Margaret Bryant calculating the work trip database and counting hours and many others

The 2021 Board has four new members to the board, including Don Converse as president.  These people will bring new ideas and energy to the board to see our club through the Coronavirus pandemic. It is exciting to see new people join the board and bring new ideas and actions.

Three years ago a board retreat was held at the Hike Inn with Elizabeth Marsala conducting a strategic planning process.  From this the single most important take away was the need to engage more members in all areas of the club.  This involves mentoring prospective members to bring them into the club culture, assessing their strength, potential contributions and getting them involved.  Each board member as a committee chair has the responsibility to foster engagement and to develop a succession plan.

I also feel that our membership base should grow by up to 300 people.  That number would bring ten to twenty individuals getting sufficiently involved, from sections maintainers to filling many board positions.  For this to happen a marketing plan should be developed to promote the club and solicit members.

Consider there are approximately 7,000 Appalachian Trail license plates in Georgia.  That means there are a lot of people out there that feel a connection to our trail.  By reaching out we should be able to make a number of them members.  For those not able to commit to a membership our new Friends program allows people to be connected.  We can also reach potential members through our relationship with REI.  Additionally, tabling at various events provides great exposure, and with a provision to take applications and money an opportunity to gain members.

Of course, I have a concern about the immediate future as we all have been hoping the Coronavirus would be dissipating by now.  It seems there may be another wave as the weather brings us inside.  I am slightly pessimistic about next year's through hiker season.  There is a distinct possibility that the pandemic and social distancing will be back in full swing causing measures to be taken.

The season will be either full speed or a trickle.  If the trail is open, we should see record numbers of hikers starting.  In this case we will need an army of Trail Ambassadors to help visitors mitigate their impacts.  If the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Chattahoochee National Forest (C-ONF) close the trail, there will still be many flaunting the rule and hiking.

I long for the day when we can get back to “normal”.  I miss our third Saturday work trips and seeing friends.  Fortunately, the trail remains in good condition, testament to the quality of our work.  Our sawyer team has been diligent about clearing blowdowns.  I hope we can get together next October for our annual meeting and celebration of 90 years of stewardship.

There will be a Town Hall meeting Thursday November 19 at 5:00pm. Also, make plans to participate in the annual Holiday Party Saturday December 5 at 10:00am.  I will send out notices soon to register for these events. 

By next October I hope we can gather together for our annual meeting and the postponed celebration of our 90th anniversary.  Until then, I’ll see you on the trail.


ATC Launches LNT Video Series

In anticipation of the increase in thru-hiker traffic as a result of the upcoming release of the movie "A Walk in the Woods", ATC has released a series of videos highlighting Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics.  The short (1-2 minute) videos focus on each of the seven LNT principles, as well as the story behind the videos and a blooper/outtake reel.  Spread the word -- "Don't Be That Guy".  #ATLNT

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, 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.”