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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 RECEIVES MLK, JR COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

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 DJuly 2020

It seems last month was so long ago.  Back then we were mostly isolated, our trail was “closed” and there were few places to hike.  Now stores and many restaurants are open and masks and social distancing are seeming normal.  Our trail is open, except for structures.  Things kind of seem normal. 

I’m reminded of two sayings “The times, they are a changing” and “The more things change the more they stay the same.”  With a whirlwind of changes we are experiencing now, hopefully many of them will result in a distinct improvement.

It surprised me to see the Chattahoochee National Forest (C-ONF) open in late May, my money was on early June.  The other National Forests into Virginia were closed even tighter than the C-ONF are opening.  The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (APPA) and National Park Service (NPS are slowly opening their areas.  I guess with Georgia opening before other states this was natural.  I am sure there are many long distance hikers headed to and from Maine. 

In mid-May the Forest Service asked us to inventory blowdowns.  A number of members went out, in small numbers, to survey their sections and districts.  Fortunately, there were not too many and most of them could be cleared with a razor saw.  By now most of the trial has been cleared.  Hats off to our sawyers led by Mike Cordisco.

After many conversations with members and rangers from the Forest Service, I issued an announcement curtailing activities for the club.  I fully expect this to last through the calendar year and maybe into next year.  Depending on whether or not there is a “second wave”, next year’s thru hiker season could also be affected.  At this point I am thinking about holding the annual business meeting and holiday party on Zoom.

The biggest decision was to curtail our third Saturday work trips.  Considering the age demographic of our group I felt it would be too much to try to hold a group outing and maintain any kind of distancing.  Section maintainers are encouraged to go out and maintain their sections.  They are also encouraged to go in groups of less than three.  I think this makes it more fun and creates a safer environment.

It should be easier to maintain the required distance in these groups.  If they meet at the trail head and are conscious about sharing tools and space, work should be safely accomplished.  When encountering hikers at work sites we should be able to get off the trail up to 8 feet, and wear a mask.

Unfortunately, most of the people we encounter do not have a mask or maintain a distance.  We as members of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club need to set an example.  Reminders to wear a mask and step away are becoming normal and useful.

The Forest Service has issued a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for working during the Coronavirus pandemic, in addition to relevant JHAs.  It remains important to conduct “Tailgate Safety Briefings” even when there are only two or three of us.  We need the constant reminder to be safe in addition to other items in the briefing.   I took a five day course from Morgan Sommerville with a crew of six.  Each day Morgan delivered the same message to make sure there was no forgetting, and we would know how to respond in an emergency.

As many of you are aware, the structures remain closed.  This includes tables, shelters and privies.  I expect the impact of this will increase through the summer resulting in a mess.  Appalachian National Scenic Trail (APPA), the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Forest Service are working on developing guidelines for things like servicing privies.  It could mean full haz-mat suits, I do not know.

Trail Director Tom Lamb has decided to prorate the number of work trips to be eligible for T-shirts.  A final determination will be made later.  For those without a section wanting to work, please contact a District Leader or Tom to get partnered with a maintainer.  This is a great opportunity to get a lot of work done on our trail.

Unfortunately, all hikes have also been curtailed.  Knowing how much work by the Activities Committee goes into planning these events, it was especially hard to make this decision.  Hopefully many members who frequent these hikes have found an alternative.  Interestingly, the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club is resuming their hikes in July.

At this point there is still much more to open.  The staff of ATC is still working from home and I expect APPA and other National Park Service (NPS) properties have limited access at best.  The NPS is more conservative because their mission is to “preserve and protect”, as opposed to the USNF which is more commercial oriented.

Membership Director Rick Dicks is still processing new members.  Sometimes allowing for a virtual experience and orientation.  He has started a program where up to two prospective members meet with a section maintainer for a work trip.  This helps get people through the process.  Although, we could face a problem if this “distancing” goes on well into next year.

Your board continues to monitor the situation on a regular basis. Of utmost importance is ensuring the safety and well-being of our members.  Considering the risk factors for many of our members we will approach things conservatively.

While I look forward to seeing you on the trail real soon, I plan to hold another Town Hall/Happy Hour soon.  In the meantime, be safe and stay healthy.

Jay

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 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.”