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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 DOctober 2019

Summer is almost starting to come to an end, at least we are past Labor Day.  I am looking forward to cooler temperatures and fall foliage.  I plan to do a couple of Trail Ambassador patrols and enjoy autumn, and certainly encourage you as well to get out on the trail.

Last month I talked about how fortunate we are to have such hard working members.   The other side of that is in many cases there is only one person doing each job.  If a bolt of lightning were to strike that person, then we would have a large function unfilled.

Trail Director Tom Lamb suggested we should have at least two overseers on each section.  This helps to insure that more work gets done and there is the increased safety factor. 

Having multiple people in the vital jobs not only helps spread the work load, it also engages more members, provides training for board positions and affords back-up just in case.  I expect this to be discussed at upcoming board meetings with a policy resolution.

Trail Work

On a recent work trip I found myself talking about the quality of trial work.  When I suggested that some work seemed unfinished, the retort was that it is “better than before”.  While true, to an extent, what happens when the work is washed away after a couple of rain storms?  My sense is that if we are going to build something it should be as good as it can be.  On the trail this means devices that are long lasting or sustainable. 

Consider the difference between trail maintenance and trail building.  Trail maintenance should consist of “refreshing” drains and dips which a small crew should be able service in about twenty minutes.  Once a device has been built it should only require maintenance, perhaps once a year.  Theoretically, the Overseers should be able to service their section in a few hours.

Devices should be built to be sustainable, where they will perform for a year or more unattended.  Sometimes when building devices we stop too early, which means they will not endure very long.  Most often work stops with insufficient outslope and drainage.

I have been against water bars for years.  Because at best they require frequent maintenance and at worst they create erosion causing a big step, which is usually the case.  It also seems in many situations that they are not fully constructed,

As such, I believe the best general solution are Dips or Knicks.  When built wide and with sufficient out slopping these devices will perform for a year or more.  With periodic maintenance they will work for years to come.  It should seem barely noticeable to hikers in either direction. 

Consider attending the Trail Skills Workshop this October.  We are fortunate to have several highly qualified instructors sharing the latest techniques for building and maintaining sustainable trails.  There is information elsewhere in this issue on the workshop.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Appalachian Trail, A.T., is under attack again with another massive pipeline threatening to cross our trail.  Similar to the Mountain Valley Pipeline Dominion Energy, with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, wants to force a pipeline across the Appalachian Trail on federal land managed by the Forest Service.  In order to accomplish this they have to get Congress to overturn a federal court decision.

It is unfortunate that we have to work so hard to protect that which is supposed protected.  The National Park Service Organic Act in 1916 proscribed that our national parks remain “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”  I appreciate the need for energy and that it may be necessary to cross the A.T.  Certainly there are places better suited for these incursions.

The writer and historian Wallace Stegner called our national parks “the best idea we ever had.”  In my opinion our wild areas are our country’s most precious treasures.  The Appalachian National Scenic Trail serves as a shining model for the whole world.  It is the first such trail and the only long distance virtually entirely on public lands

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

In July 2019, a proposal was submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by an Alabama-based company, Twin Pines, seeking issuance of a permit to mine for heavy minerals (titanium and zirconium) from Trail Ridge near the southeastern edge of the Okefenokee Swamp.

The proposed mining will excavate approximately 50 feet which is below the Okefenokee Swamp depression.  This threatens the ground water hydrology in southwest Georgia, perhaps permanently.  For more information visit

As always I encourage and invite members to attend our bi-monthly board meetings at the Kennesaw REI store.  This is an opportunity to learn about issues we are facing and to get to know your board members.   Please let me know when you plan to attend This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See y’all on the trial soon.


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!